Television is full of reality shows that feature little girls whose faces are covered in makeup while they parade around in expensive gowns. They are all competing for a trophy and the title of most beautiful. What happens when one girl wins that title and the rest fall short? Beauty pageants are wrong in a lot of ways and America should ban them all together. A few reasons why we should ban beauty pageants are that pageants can harm girl’s perceptions of themselves, they are very expensive for the parents, they sexualize children, and they can produce narcissistic adults.
Kids who grow up in the pageant world often think that appearance is very important. They are scored on what their hair looks like, their face shape, and their outfits. It makes them believe that beauty is all that matters to the people that judge you and as they grow older they become obsessed with looking beautiful. This obsession leads to eating disorders. “In my experience as a dietitian for high-powered entertainment groups, I found that many of the young women with eating disorders were trained at an early age to value physical perfection, thinness, athletic prowess and attractiveness.” (Cartwright) Since this is true, parents need to take action to stop beauty pageants nationwide.
The parents are also suffering because of these beauty pageants. Pageants are very expensive. You have to buy multiple dresses, makeup, shoes, hair products, flippers, and sometimes even spray tans just to be allowed in these pageants. Most of the time there are entry fees which start out around $100. “In addition to the child development and image concerns there are financial issues surrounding pageants, too. The run for crowns and cash can cost thousands of dollars. Entry fees range from $10 to $200. Dresses can cost up to $5,000, with most averaging $1,000 or so.” (Schultz; Murphy) Why would anyone spend all that money just to put their child into a pageant that may end up hurting their confidence? It doesn’t make any sense to pay all of this money, if it will just harm the children in the long run.
These beauty pageants can be harmful in other ways too. Pageants sexualize children by dressing them up in risqué outfits and then making them perform Las Vegas style routines. Some of these routines include young girls imitating Pretty Woman or Marilyn Monroe’s performance for John F. Kennedy. This is very dangerous for the kids because adults may get the wrong idea. An example is the case of JonBenet Ramsey’s death. She was a child beauty queen who was brutally murdered in her home. It looked like she was sexually assaulted before she was killed. Her father said that he wished he had never put her in the public eye like that. “Patsy had [JonBenet] sitting atop a friend’s convertible in the Christmas parade waving at the people lining the streets,” Ramsey recalled. “Patsy’s mother later told me that a strange man approached the car during the parade and it made her uncomfortable. I think about these things now and it makes me cringe. We were so naive. I now believe with all my heart that it’s not a good idea to put your child on public display.” ( Ramsey) Is it worth having the possibility of a child being murdered just to win a crown?
Some people will argue that pageants are a way for kids to build social skills and those pageants are healthy competitions. “There was healthy competition and we were trying to outdo each other in a healthy way. Plus, I’ve made four-five very good friends!” ( Mamgai) While pageants may be good for a few kids’ social skills, some kids become narcissistic when they are adults. They will believe that beauty comes first, while intelligence comes second.
There are many other competitive activities other than beauty pageants that children can enjoy. Children can become involved in a sport that showcases their talent. Sports will push kids to strengthen their physical ability to achieve their goals. All that beauty pageants do is judge appearance, which is something kids have no control over.
In conclusion, beauty pageants are just another way to harm a child. Even if someone didn’t enter their kid into a pageant with that intent, which is typically what happens. They ruin a child’s self-esteem, cost the parent thousands of dollars, they sexualize children to the point where someone could seriously injure or kill the child, and there are many other competitive activities a child could participate in which makes beauty pageants outdated. Hopefully, people will begin to think twice about putting their kids in beauty pageants.
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