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Beauty Pageants for Children - Awesome or Awful?

Beauty Pageants for Children
These days, it is not very uncommon to see advertisements for beauty shows for children. Shocking as it may sound, it is true, and in this article will try to throw some light on the positive and negative aspects of such shows.
Saptakee Sengupta
Last Updated: Mar 17, 2018
Exposing children to the world of glamor is still a controversial issue, when the pros and cons are taken into consideration. Parents oft nurture the dream to make their kid the cynosure of all eyes, opting for the medium of glitz and fashion. Beauty pageants for children have become popular worldwide, where competitions are organized according to age groups.
Before going to the details, let's find out how the concept of child beauty competitions came up. The concept of beauty pageants evolved first in the US in the year 1921, to uplift the tourism sector in Atlantic City. The show was entitled as 'Most Beautiful Child' and contestants were selected from the major cities of the United States. Later, such beauty contests gained much popularity and received a sound response from children and parents. 'The Little Miss America' pageant was introduced in the year 1960, to poise in the world of fashion. Although it gave a platform to children to exhibit their beauty and smartness, there were many scandals associated with such beauty shows. Hence, knowing the pros and cons is important, and shall be elaborated in the following segment.
Impact of Beauty Pageants on Children
Is everything on the positive side? Or are there some harsh truths that get masked by the so-called glamor world? Child beauty pageant facts are actually mingled with some negative elements that destroy the sanctity of these innocents. Although not evident everywhere, parents should be aware of these disgraceful acts.
The Pros
Participating in child beauty contests means a step towards the competitive world. And for the winner it's an achievement of a lifetime. The contestants have to showcase themselves and walk on the ramp. Greater emphasis is laid on looks, although intelligence and promptness play a key role to elect the winner. Training programs are also organized prior to the live telecast of shows. There are divisions for different rounds and children have to clear the subsequent rounds of talents and interviews. Children, decked up with different kind of apparel have to walk on the ramp.
Swimwear, sportswear, western wear, ethnic wear, theme wear, casual wear, decade wear, etc., are some looks adopted for child beauty pageants. They have to wear the typical makeup that involves glosses, lipsticks, foundations, mascara, and eye shadow. All these activities are carried out systematically. Therefore, children become independent in the world of glamor. At a young age, they become confident and accomplished. Such shows inculcate patience and perseverance, making them practical. Sometimes, beauty contests are part of academics, helping children to boost up their smartness and confidence. Winners are awarded scholarships, while shows organized for charity help develop a sense of responsibility in them.
The Cons
Every event has a positive and a negative side. The ethics of parents and organizers were questioned with the death of a child contestant in 1996. The incident was regarded as heinous and was blown up as 'kiddie porn'. There are no strict laws for organizing child beauty pageants till today. Sometimes, children are too sensitive to handle the stiff competition of beauty shows. They can become mentally weak when being asked to maintain the standard of appearance with respect to other performers.
At times, children enter into a rivalry with their competitors which is definitely harmful at their tender age. It is a way where independence is induced at the age when they need care and love of parents. The professionalism of such shows take a toll on their mental state. Some cases of child molestation and prostitution have also been reported. The innocence of a child is masked by artificial make over, exploiting their body at a tender age. Apart from these, the expenses are enormous for the whole process. Children should not be completely diverted to beauty contests at such young age. Regular participants are often victims of anorexia and bulimia, due to the routine and diet assigned for them.
Thus, it can be seen that shows organized in schools, and for charity purposes, boost up their confidence. Parents should never pressurize children to win, but rather support them to enjoy the competition.
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