Beauty pageants have received many criticisms over the years for being great proponents of vanity among young people. The pageants judge and rate the candidates based on their physical characteristics. Most people perceive these tournaments to be superficial and there is little else to give other than the outer presentation. Such a mentality is intoxicating for every child growing up and seeing people attempt to judge attractiveness solely through looks, which may be deceiving at times because we are all perfect despite our variations. Today’s pageants have a variety of judging criteria based on the contestant’s skills, appearance, preferences, and even general knowledge. Pageants among adults may sound reasonable considering they can make their choices, but when it comes to child beauty standards set by such games, it is a different case. The aim of this paper is to outline all the reasons why child beauty pageants should be banned as harmful to the childs self-worth.
The concept of child beauty pageants involves the use of a lot of unnatural products on the childrens skin and hair, which can prove to be quite dangerous for them as they have not fully grown up yet. The use of chemical-laden products on the skin and hair of girls who have not even reached their adolescence can hardly be justified, damaging the skin and health at large (The Week, 2012). As a young girl who is under the age of sixteen, you remain under the guidance and protection of your parents, which still means that you must adhere to the rules and regulations. Most girls who participate in child beauty pageants have been introduced into the contests by their parents. Mothers are seen spraying tanning all over their childrens bodies, with the girls crying but still submitting to their parents whims (The week, 2012). Spray tans have been popular enough among adults, but it is now becoming a normal thing for small children to walk around looking golden brown and unnatural. Hair sprays remain the most popular product used on child pageants as a way to keep their hair in style according to standards. The use of hair spray on childrens hair may result in stunted hair growth, hormone disruption, or, in a worst-case scenario, lung cancer.
Girls as young as six years old feel like they need to put on tons of makeup to feel pretty. The mentality that comes with putting make up on six-year-olds is unhealthy as the notion of natural beauty being acceptable is completely taken away from them (Hassan, 2015). Girls growing up with the experience of always wearing make-up and keeping to the strict diets become so accustomed to the superficial mentality that they disassociate from reality and lose their grasp of how normal people look like or even live. The standards of sexuality of young girls that come with pageants are worrying and sickening (Hassan, 2015). An alarming number of girls as young as eight years wearing padded bras and makeup are a serious wake-up call for parents and the society at large as a result of the pageants impact on mindset. Young girls should be left alone to grow in an environment that is as normal as possible for children, experiencing the stages of growing up in an appropriate order. Stereotypes portrayed in the media and by beauty pageants create an unhealthy mentality for young girls regarding how beauty is measured and what is considered beautiful (Hassan, 2015).
The hyper-sexualization of young girls has resulted in eating disorders, low self-esteem, and unhealthy societal relationships (The Week, 2012). Even at the primary school, girls begin to question whether or not their appearance is at par with the standards set by the pageants and the media. Depression is a dangerous condition that at times may lead to suicide attempts by little girls who have their whole lives ahead of them. Low self-esteem of young girls has prompted them to think that without being as beautiful as seen in the stereotypes, they will never reach any success in life and no one will accept them (Hassan, 2015). Many girls end up not exercising their full potential because they do not believe in their abilities to do anything beyond striving to be beautiful. Participation of such girls in their studies is highly affected because their mindset has been reset to view studies as something of less importance. The girls consider the outward appearance the most important aspect and anything that may not add to their physical beauty is a distraction. The promotion of vanity in the minds of young girls is bringing closer a society where people judge each other by appearance, and where intelligence and character do not matter. The dangers that come with this is that people miss out on great relationships regarding friendships and even life opportunities just because they judge someone on their appearance without giving them a chance to express themselves (Hassan, 2015).
There are, however, some sides of beauty pageants that can be considered advantageous. Competitiveness keeps the girls on their toes knowing they have to do their best to succeed (Robert, 2014). The world is very competitive indeed, and young girls knowing this from an early age can find self-confidence they need to face the obstacles of life (Robert, 2014). All effects of beauty pageants on children obviously show that the disadvantages are chronic for young girls and their future generations. As much as the pageants create confidence, most children do not know how to handle the platform and end up in chaos due to the lack of mental maturity. Beauty pageants should remain for adults who are responsible for the choices they make.
Hassan, S. (2015). The Psychological Effects of Child Beauty Pageants. Retrieved March 23, 2017, from http://www.tremr.com/sanahassan/the-psychological-effects-of-child-beauty-pageants.
Robert, B. (2014). Pageants. Parlors and pretty women: Race and beauty in the twentieth century South. Chapel Hill, NC: UNC Press books.
The Week. (2012). Five reasons child pageants are bad for kids. Retrieved March 24, 2017, from http://theweek.com/articles/477311/5-reasons-child-pageants-are-bad-kids
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