Exploitation in Child Beauty Pageants. Child Pageant history.
Exploitation in Child Beauty Pageants
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Child Beauty Pageants have been around since the early 1850’s. Originally designed to be beautiful and healthy baby contests, by the early 1960’s, they transformed into our most current version of child pageants that have become popularly known through reality television shows like, Toddler’s & Tiaras and Honey Boo Boo. Annually, over 5,000 child pageants are held in the U.S, making it a five billion dollar industry with over 100,000 participants being under the age of 12.
Child beauty pageants are dangerous and detrimental to a child's long term physical and psychological well being. The children are being taught unrealistic definitions of what physical beauty is, being scrutinized on their looks causing them to have self doubt and low self esteem issues at an early age, and the parents are being affected too; obsessing on winning for themselves, living vicariously through their children.
Unrealistic definition of “beauty”
Child pageants teach young girls that their own physical existence is not good enough because of the standardized, constant use of fake eyelashes, hair extensions, acrylic nails, heavy makeup, fake teeth, and inappropriate outfits.
Child pageant contestants are too young to be able to differentiate the difference between “pageant beauty” and their own “natural beauty”.This lack of knowledge causes them to hold themselves to the beauty standards of the contests, outside of them.
Achievement by proxy distortion
The pathogenic form of ABPD is a phenomenon by which the social and/or financial gains of the child’s achievements become the adults’ primary goals.
“ My daughter is in the first grade but sometimes we miss school so we can get to a pageant. We’ve invested so much in her coaching and outfits that we’d hate to lose it” - quoted from a contestant’s mom in a live production of Toddlers & Tiaras.
The average parent spends anywhere from $1,000 to $12,000 dollars in order for their child to participate in a pageant. The financial investment almost always exceeds the monetary top prize of these events.
I chose child beauty pageants because aside from 5 year olds being waxed, spray tanned and used for a parent’s personal satisfaction not being okay, at all. These children are also the future of our country and it is important to make sure they will become healthy, functioning adults.