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Toddlers And Tiaras: Child Beaty Pageants

2203 words - 9 pages

In 2009, TLC aired a reality television show entitled Toddlers and Tiaras. It was instantly a hit with home viewers and also brought major controversy over child beauty pageants. The show focused mainly on glitz pageants; which requires all contestant, however young, to compete with make-up, spray tans, acrylic nails and revealing costumes. Many, such as I were entertained at first with the pint size Barbie dolls; however after watching a couple episodes, controlling stage moms and toddler melt downs reveal that glitz beauty pageants are nothing less than objectification and exploitation of young girls. Beauty pageants not only exploit children but are detrimental to the child’s physical, ...view middle of the document...

232). Young girls are experiencing not only the glitz and glam of beauty pageants, but the serious health problems that plague contestants even after they have out grown their crowns and sashes.
In 2011, the National Eating Disorder Association published an article stating that young women who had performed in childhood beauty pageants had high rates of body dissatisfactions and were likely if not currently suffering from eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia nervosa (NEDA, 2011). The desire to be thin has progressed to girls as young eight, with studies showing that 3 out of 7 eight-year old girl are on a diet and 2 out of those 3 have or are currently participating in beauty pageants (Wonderlich, 2012). The pageant world environment encourages eating disorders, dieting and struggling for perfection, which lasts late into adulthood (Cartwright, 2012). In 2010, Anna Wonderlich, PhD., published a study that revealed that girls as young as eight years old, who participated in pageants were suffering from mental illnesses such as depression, body dimorphic disorder, anorexia or bulimia (Wonderlich, 2010, p.19). Eating disorders are a mental illness that in some cases can be avoided. In the United States, 10 out of 100 females will report having some form of anorexia, bulimia or body dimorphic disorder, from these numbers 5 out of those 10 will succumb to their disease (National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, 2013). Five percent of women are dying because of a mental illness that was developed over time, subjecting our nations little girls to this kind of torment is not only wrong but immoral. In addition to mental illness, many young girls are emotionally handicap because of beauty pageants, many little girls lack self-esteem, self-confidence, social skills, and tend to be withdrawn from everyday life. Beauty pageants foster inappropriate and unnecessary behaviors in little girls; participants feel as though they are not good enough to be who they are-without all the glitz and the glam (Cartwright, 2012, p. 182). The beauty portions of the competitions feature the contestants dressed up in provocative outfits, dancing and performing the all-too-often inappropriate routines on stage, all while being judged for their looks. This literal judgment can destroy the contestant’s sense of self-worth and beauty, causing long-term damage.
Glitz pageants preparation includes fake eyelashes, fake nails, hair extensions, teeth whitening, eyebrow waxing and grooming, and heavy make-up. The need for physical perfection on stage begins at a very early age for contestants and in striving for perfection, physical harm is done to these little girls (Healy, 2012.) According to Travis Stork, Ph.D., and host of CBS’s The Doctors, states, “hair spray contains chemicals that can act as hormone disruptors, and have been linked to stunted growth, asthma and even lung cancer. The make-up and hairspray are detrimental to their skin and...

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