Febuary 15, 2014
Child Beauty Pageants: creating a distorted childhood
Childhood is meant to be a time of carefree exploration and self-discovery. A time for children to play, learn, and discover their likes and dislikes. This beginning stage of life should be a time for children to allow their imaginations to develop, believe in limitless possibilities, and to be secure in the belief that they are perfect just the way they are. However, what if a childhood is not this carefree experience, but rather a constant reminder that their worth is determined by whether or not they win the title of “ultimate grand supreme?” Beauty pageants featuring children have become increasingly popular over the last decade. Since the creation of television shows such as Toddlers and Tiaras and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, it seems as though society cannot get enough of these pint-sized participants. Although participation in these activities may seem harmless, allowing children to engage in these contests should be reconsidered. Studies show that child beauty pageants can create a distorted view of self-worth and beauty for the child and that this negative view can regrettably extend well into adulthood.
A common backdrop of child beauty pageants is one of bright lights, excitement, glamorous hair and make-up, sparkling gowns where the winner is crowned with a faux diamond crown. One might believe that such an opportunity for a child to dress up and become the center of attention would be every young girl’s dream. These contests may appear harmless, but child beauty pageants can create a distorted view of self-worth and beauty for the child. The child’s undeveloped body is often changed by adding hair extensions, caps for adolscent teeth and outfits that bring undesired attention to weight. According to clinical psychologist William Pinsof, “Being a little Barbie doll says your body has to be a certain way and your hair has...