“Children the beauty pageants industry it is different because

            “Children are the fastest growing
segment of the beauty pageant market with annual children’s competitions
attracting an estimated three million children, mostly girls, from the ages of
six months to 16 years who compete for crowns and cash” (Schultz & Murphy).
A typical beauty pageant will consist in a round of evening wear section where
children model down a runway and a talent round, in which contestants will
display a gift such as singing, dancing, etc. These pageants provide, to the
girls, a chance to bring out the best in them and at the same time build self
confidence. Moreover, child beauty pageants have changed over the years with
children going further and further to look more attractive, taking away the
innocence, and depriving the girls to enjoy being young and to be free at a
young age. There are far more harmful elements of a pageant than helpful, which
leads to fake appearances and to sexualization of young girls.

            As a child it has become custom to explore
in our mom’s world, using their high heels and modeling with them, then putting
some makeup and dressing up with their clothes. However, in the beauty pageants
industry it is different because the child does not have the freedom to do it
themselves. Playing with mommy’s makeup and dressing up is one thing. But transforming
your five year old daughter to resemble a 20 year old woman is different. “Dress
up is a sign of a child identifying with or mimicking the mother” (Wiehe),
which is significantly dissimilar from the concept of child beauty pageants. These
days, it is not unusual to see children with highlighted or bleached hair. Some
young contestants also wear false eyelashes, spray tan or “flippers,”
which are false teeth used to cap missing front teeth. Meanwhile, some parents
still say that child beauty pageants are like playing dress up, but playing
dress up on the pageant stage costs parents financially. According to Wiehe, “dress
up generally is an activity engaged in by a young girl alone or with a group of
playmates at home rather than on a stage in front of an audience.” Furthermore,
“some experts argue that it can be harmful to girls, teaching them that their
self-worth is measured by how pretty they are” (Schultz & Murphy). They
should be out int eh world being creative and imaginative and when they focus
on being a sexy woman it takes away their learning opportunities. It takes away
the beauty of childhood.

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            One of the main concerns is that
pageants push the girls into the realm of sexuality, long before their time, “the
sexualization of girls is happening at a younger and younger age as children,
even toddlers, are bombarded with a plethora of adult influences and
perceptions, studies say” (Morgan). “Beauty pageants are exploitative,
pressuring children to adopt sexualized adult mannerism that they do not fully
understand and enforcing the message that physical appearance is all important”
(Day). Sexualization occurs through little girls wearing adult women’s
clothing, following this the use of makeup,
which often is applied by makeup consultants, spray tanning the body, the dying
of hair and the use of hair extensions, and assuming provocative postures more
appropriate for adult models are also examples of sexualization in this
industry. All this is now a commonplace in the pageant world yet many in the
pageant industry insist it is a harmless pastime which instils young girls with
confidence and self-esteem.

In
addition, “dressing up like adults, pageant participants face grown up
pressures as well, which demonstrate how serious contenders practice for long
hours and endure criticism and failure” (Lieberman). The issue lies in pageants
being a contest that is based on looks. Participants are judged on their
physical attractiveness, their performance on stage and demonstrated confidence.
In short, contestants are required to look beautiful and perform flawlessly. “Many
experts agree that participation in activities that focus on physical
appearance at an early age can influence teen and/or adult self-esteem, body
image and self-worth” (Giroux). Child beauty pageants, while
boosting children confidence, can also give rise to children who are
narcissistic. All children need love and affection, but these participants
receive an overwhelming amount of attention. They are constantly receiving it, whether
it be compliments on looks from parents, attention from audiences or daily
attention from coaches.

            Child
beauty pageants could promote self confidence in little girls. But there are
far more harmful elements of a pageant than helpful, which leads to fake appearances
and to sexualization of young girls. These beauty contests deprive the little
girls from being little because to fulfill the pageants requirements they must
transform the young girl to resemble a woman, in order to win. Importantly
taking away their innocence every time they must assume provocative postures to
be more attention grabbing for the audience and judges. Children are too young
to know what they are signing up for. They are being set up for a certain way
of life which essentially takes away a normal and free childhood.