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Toddlers and Tiaras - the Negative Effects and Consequences

Autor:   •  October 9, 2013  •  Research Paper  •  1,547 Words (7 Pages)  •  1,470 Views

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“Toddlers and Tiaras”: The Negative Effects and Consequences

Eyebrow waxes, fake tans, wigs, heavy makeup, fake eyelashes, manicures, flippers, and a five thousand dollar dress. That is the life of an average toddler beauty queen. They compete locally and nationally in categories such as swimsuits, talent, and eveningwear with the goal of winning the grand prize. They win solely on their appearance and beauty, not their personalities, intelligence, or hobbies. Today, more and more children, the majority being girls, are entered in beauty pageants and are put under immense pressure to win. Child beauty pageants exploit children and give them a negative body image as well as low self- esteem and psychological damage.

Child beauty pageants have been around since the 1960s. They consisted of little girls, ages ranging from a few weeks to elementary school, modeling sportswear, eveningwear, dance, and talent. A child with all of the following was known as "the complete package": individuality in looks, beauty, ability, self-confidence, and perfection. Pageants are still like this to this day; the only difference is the growing popularity, competition, and the child exploitation that is a part of most modern pageants. Beauty pageantry is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States, grossing up to 5 billion dollars (“Children in Beauty Pageants”). Pageants today can cost a parent thousands of dollars due to the expensive dresses, entry fees, travel, hotel rooms, makeup, spas, tans, and coaches, “Competitions 25 years ago really only required a party dress and a satin hair bow," says Eleanor VonDuyke, a former pageant director (“Children in Beauty Pageants”).

Along with the financial cost, beauty pageants also leave a psychological toll on the child. Although many beauty pageant activists claim that beauty pageants boost confidence and charisma, there are more cons than pros when dealing with pageants. Experts agree that children who participate in activities that focus on physical appearance can be influenced negatively, so that their teen and adult self-esteem, body image, and self-confidence suffer. Many studies have revealed that, “issues with self-identity after a child retires from the pageant scene in her teens are not uncommon. Struggles with perfection, dieting, eating disorders and body image can take their toll in adulthood” (“Child Beauty Pageants: What Are We Teaching Our Girls?”). Pageantry involves competition, stress, and demand. The young girls are put under immense pressure to win and be the most beautiful, talented, graceful and flawless girl. Getting ready for the pageants, the toddlers are usually crying, squirming and throwing tantrums over the distress they go through, which might include: having to be spray tanned, caked with makeup, sitting still for long periods of time to get hair done, and having to strut in uncomfortable


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