Influence of Children's Beauty Pageants: Pressure and Insecurity

Strutting along a stage; Your every move being judged; Pushy parents sat in the audience; fingers crossed. This is what it is like to be a child, in a beauty pageant. It is all a lot of pressure on young kids. People have lots of unhealthy views on their body. We compare our self to unrealistic photoshopped images of models and celebrities all the time. Beauty pageants start negative thoughts like the thoughts we have when we look in a magazine or when scrolling through social media. Do you want to expose your vulnerable child to this? Girl Guiding carried out research which showed a shocking 33% of girls admitted that they are not happy with what they see when they look in the mirror. Not only that but the American Psychological Association discovered pageants, and the sexualization that comes with them, is strongly affecting Childrens mental health, such as eating disorders, low self-esteem, and depression. There is too much pressure on the children who take part in these pageants to act and look like a Barbie doll, which is an unrealistic expectation. We’re not made of plastic and modeled to look “perfect”. Pageants sexualize young children which can cause cognitive and emotional problems later in life. 

Many young girls are unhappy with their appearance and some are even already considering plastic surgery. This needs to change. Pageants rob young people of their childhood. Children should be out playing and enjoying their childhood, while it lasts, not getting eyebrows plucked, teeth bleached, hair styled, colored and makeup caked on their face. These kids are robbed of their childhood. Their natural beauty and young faces, hidden under layers of thick makeup and stiff hairspray. In one case, a very young four-year-old girl was walking down the runway in false C-cup breasts and padded buttocks. Shockingly supermarkets once sold padded bras and pole dancing kits targeted for children. Many people were outraged by this and supermarkets were criticized for offering such things to children. These children mirror adults with their fake tan, high heels, and stockings. Sexualization of a young child has very similar effects as sexual abuse. Some similarities are eating disorders and depression. They are rushed into adulthood and forced to push aside their childish feelings. It's not good for their development. Experts say child beauty pageants sexualize and force them to grow up before their time. Child protection charity Kidscape is calling for kids under eight to be unable to take part in beauty pageants. This would reduce the number of children taking part and completely take away the opportunity for very young children to participate before they can decide their own fate. 

The sexual manner of beauty pageants suggests that the most important function of a woman's body is to be desired, which is very unhealthy, and teaching kids their only value is how they appear. Packing on the makeup is the equivalent to telling a young child 'you're not good enough” but “we can fix that by using a lot of products”. Even worse, they're judged on their looks. Even the 'new and improved' version still may not win. What effect does all this have on the child? Self-esteem issues, pageants become priority over school, relationships afflicted and mental health issues. It's been found that a concerning 20% of 7-11-year olds admit they have been on a diet and one in every five girls are not happy with what they see when looking in the mirror, according to research by Girl Guiding. In addition, Studies show that just by a woman focusing on their appearance reduces their perception of intelligence. Melissa Henson at CNN says pageants can also lead to fewer girls taking up science, technology, and mathematics as careers. A BBC survey showed that 'half of the girls aged eight to twelve want to look like the women in the media and six out of ten thought they'd be happier if they were thinner' These are unhealthy thoughts for young, growing people to have. Banning child beauty pageants is one step closer to reducing these destructive thoughts in small children The pressure that pageants put on the kids is unbearable, they have so many people watching and judging them. It's very daunting. Should children be put through this? Some of these kids are too young to say no and their parents make the decision for them. It's not fair on them. 

Actress, singer, model, and beauty queen Rosanna Davidson was crowned Miss World in 2003. She told the independent 'having been through it, I understand the pressure that you put yourself under' Rosanna also mentioned it was hard enough for her at nineteen to go out and deal with the pressure. Can you Imagine how difficult it would be for a young child? However, some argue that beauty pageants give their child a boost of confidence. They can also argue that being glammed up from head to toe makes the kids feel beautiful and confident. Being in front of large crowds at a young age programs them to be used to it, growing their confidence. Although this may be true for some kid's, some kids' feelings be changed, and they are put through unreal amounts of pressure. There are better ways for a child to boost their confidence if that is what they desire, such as martial arts. Beauty pageants are not safe for kids. They teach them unhealthy views and put a lot of unnecessary pressure on them. Kids are being robbed of their childhood and forced to grow up. Being brought up viewing their body in a negative, unhealthy manor and massively effecting a child's life. They can leave the child with issues later in life. It’s not a safe, healthy environment for the kids, being forced to grow up. 

01 August 2022
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