Children beauty pageants are becoming increasingly popular with time. As of 2012, United States had a total of 250,000 children competing in the child pageants. Most of these are young girls below the age of 18 years. Despite the tremendous growth in the child pageant industry, few are the parents concerned with the effects of the shows to their children. Some of the participants are children even below five years who are subjected to not age-appropriate lifestyles such as early dieting and indecent clothing (Booker). Most of these pageants shows lack strict laws and guidelines on how children should be used in the beauty contests. Such events have both positive and adverse effects on the life of a child in their early life and also in their adulthood. Though there are economic gains from the child pageants show, the debate on whether or not a child beauty pageant is safe or not for the children has been ongoing for some time.
Most parents engage their children in beauty pageants for money and other material gains. These shows are characterized with great prizes that drive most of these parents pressurize their children in beauty pageants. Children are participating n these shows can win themselves scholarships, money, teddy bear or a bouncy house (Olorunda). This drives parents crazy, and they will ensure that their children win these prizes at whatever costs. At times, parents will force very little kids to participate in such competitions against their will. Though there are no strict laws on child pageant, this is a form of child labor since such children are forced into doing things that they are not aware. Some of the body make-ups such as waxing the eyebrows, putting false eyelashes and spray tans are awful experiences for young kids and may be termed as child abuse.
Beauty pageants for young children can have adverse effects on the child’s self-esteem. This is because beauty pageants teach children that image and looks are important things in their life. The process encourages artificial make ups to a great extent to maintain the desired looks. Maintaining desired body size is also a critical issue that may lead to eating disorders among the young children. Pageants are put in early dieting that can result in slower growth and make children prone to malnutrition (Bright Hub Education). This is because children will be placed on a diet to maintain the required pageant’s shape. Dressing modes for the pageants makes young girls look like sex objects especially in the modern morally corrupt community. Child pageants are forced to make inappropriate dance moves that would be detrimental to their self-esteem.
Beauty pageants to children expose children to competitive life at a very tender age. This may not be good for the overall development of such children especially if he or she fails to win such competitions. The level of disappointment could be too hard for the kids to cope with. The disappointment at such an early age may be carried throughout the life of such pageants. Feelings of failure and embarrassment can get instilled in the life of the child that could hinder their overall development.
Child beauty pageants can also lead to serious psychological issues to the involved children. Weight disorders, frustrations, and depressions are common occurrences in the lives of a child involved in the pageants competitions. This will have adverse effects on the early life and also during the adult life of the children (Booker). Most of the parents are only concerned with the awards and fails to give their children other essential maternal support that can lead to increased psychological torture. The effects can even be more adverse in cases where children become perennial losers.
It is also imperative to understand that beauty pageants will adversely affect the moral standards of the children. Borderline child pornography and child pedophilia are a common occurrences to children involved in beauty pageants. The dressing costumes used in these competitions teach the young children to have such clothes even in their adulthood. Some of these clothes pass sexual images to the public and may introduce young girls to sex life at an early age. For example in Toddlers and Tiaras girls are dressed with promiscuous clothes that expose a lot of their bodies to the public. Some of the dance moves during the shows may also be significant in eroding essential morals from the young participants.
Beauty pageants are made to believe that they can use their body image and looks to win prizes and money. The competition mindset is instilled in their minds, and they carry it even to their adulthood. This is very disastrous since most of the beauty pageants ignore the standard education system and use their time practicing beauty moves and dances. The desire for the children to win and please their parents can lead to depression and especially in cases where winning is not guaranteed. Failure to win leads to excessive depression and as a result cases of murder and suicide have been prevalent to pageants. Putting too much pressure on such young children will naturally lead to increased depression, anxiety and loss of identity to the child.
To sum it up, child beauty pageant popularity is increasing at an alarming rate. The billions of dollars collected annually from the fancy costumes and tons of make ups contributes immensely to the pageant practice. Some parents are also convinced that by introducing their children to beauty pageants, they will increase their self-esteem, confidence, and financial gains. Nevertheless, beauty pageant exposes both the children and parents to more harm than good. Apart from the huge finances and timer used in the preparation, the child has more psychological problems than gains. Introducing children to beauty contests in such early years denies them a chance of enjoying their childhood and may be of adverse effects to them.
Parents have the responsibility of teaching their children what is right and what is wrong. However, by subjecting them to beauty pageants, they are teaching them that dressing and acting like an adult are the right things to do. This is very devastating since it erodes essential moral values and standards from the child. It is my firm believes that every parent has the best interests of their children (Bright Hub Education). However, pushing the children to the outer limits of making them think that their bodies and faces are money making tools is wrong. Parents should come to terms with the psychological effect of beauty pageants to their children and let children get of age and decide their destiny. Though there are some benefits of child beauty pageants, there are more harm than good in the exercise. It is for this reason that I suggest that children beauty pageant should be banned to protect our children from physical and mental health concerns.
Booker, M. Keith. Blue-Collar Pop Culture. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Praeger, 2012. Print.
Bright Hub Education,. ‘Opinion Against Beauty Pageants For Children: Why Are Beauty Pageants Bad For Young Children?’. N.p., 2015. Web. 30 June 2015.
Olorunda, Tolu. The Substance Of Truth. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers, 2011. Print.
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