Children Beauty Pageants Essay

2966 words - 12 pages

As the clock steadily ticks down the minutes until show time, the dressing rooms grow chaotic as last minute preparations are performed. Final gusts of hair spray are generously applied to the girls’ hair, and extra bobby pins are securely fastened to their heads to prevent a single hair from falling out of place. While the girls apprehensively await their moments to shine, their stylists and mothers hastily finish applying their makeup and adjusting their glitzy outfits. Aside from a few shed tears, the girls are soon ready to begin. When the announcer calls for the girls to assemble into their performance order, the fluttering of the butterflies in their stomachs intensifies, and their parents offer words of advice such as, “Don’t forget you step, step, turn!” and “Smile big, baby!” After they perform their routines, the girls swiftly run into the warm embrace of their parents because, contrary to typical beauty pageant contestants, these girls are younger than thirteen years old, and a few are too young to even walk on their own. Ever since the 1960’s, beauty pageants have entered the world of children’s activities, thus drawing obvious controversy over the issue (Nussbaum 1). With mutual goals of winning the top honor of Grand Supreme, the young beauties are judged on, “individuality in looks, capability, poise, perfection and confidence. As the judges call it, ‘the complete package’” (Nussbaum 1). Because of these seemingly harsh stipulations, numerous people have developed negative viewpoints about child beauty pageants; however, others believe there are positive aspects found in the competitions.
Whenever child beauty pageants are discussed, opposing beliefs are presented, and Elizabeth Day presents her side of the issue in her article, “Living Dolls.” As a resident of the United Kingdom, Day expresses her reaction to the fairly recent introduction of the young beauty contests in the British society. Within the past five years, beauty pageants have grown in popularity in the UK, but not all civilians, including Day, are in favor of the competitions. Upon interviewing a young participant of the pageants and her family, Day received an inside look at the daily activities of a beauty queen hopeful. While the family of the young girl expressed their positive thoughts about pageants, Day’s article leaves readers with an impression of skepticism and uncertainty about the negative lessons taught to the children through the pageants. According to Day, children of today are raised in a society where appearance is superior to substance, and beauty pageants contribute to this narcissistic concept. Numerous critics of the contests believe, “beauty pageants are exploitative, pressuring children to adopt semi-sexualised adult mannerisms that they do not fully understand and enforcing the message that physical appearance is all-important” (Day 1). Although the author of the article is from England, she and other skeptics are...

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