Halt beauty pageants for children

Published 12:00 pm Friday, December 4, 2015

By Emily Schrimsher

When I was growing up, I had a closet full of dress-up clothes, and every day, I came home from school and put on a new outfit. Cinderella was my favorite character to pretend to be because she was beautiful. It was fun to be her for the day, but I knew she was just a character in a movie.

A television show on TLC, “Toddlers and Tiaras,” takes dressing up and being something you’re not to a new level. The reality show is about young girls ranging from 4 years and older, who put on makeup, fancy clothes, fake hair and get tanned just to win in a beauty pageant.

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There are several reasons why children should not be put in beauty pageants. Young girls should not be worried about their outward appearances at this time in their lives.

Some girls already have confidence issues, so by being placed on a stage to be judged about how they look could be setting them up for eating disorders or other body image issues.

And if a girl becomes used to putting on a face full of makeup, she will start to only feel pretty when she has it on. It emphasizes the idea that outward appearances are what counts, not what is in the inside.

Little girls should be focused on what they are learning in school and making friends. Pageants force them to grow up faster.

The child may not realize what she has on is inappropriate, but exaggerated makeup and tight clothing sexaualizes the child.

For the talent portion, girls strut around on stage blowing kisses, winking and doing other flirtatious poses. They are no longer look or act like a child should, creating unhealthy habits.

Children can enter beauty pageants as soon as they can sit up on their own, so it is the parents’ choice to push them to become involved.

The parents often do so because they want to live through their kids. They have either always wanted to do pageants, but never got the chance, or they did them when they were younger, so they want to relive their glory days. Overall, it is an unfair decision for the kids, which could ruin their childhood.

Pageants are a very costly hobby — from makeup and hair to travel expenses. Hundreds or even thousands of dollars are being spent on one day when that money could be put toward a college fund. There are sometimes cash prizes, but only for top winners.

The goal of the pageant is to win the crown, so parents teach their kids to do whatever it takes to win. The child then learns that losing is not an option and life is all about winning.

Pageants should be fun, but they are taken too seriously. By putting the child in such a competitive atmosphere at a young age, it can perpetuate with age.

Girls want to be the prettiest in the room and to be the most liked. They should not be worried about appearance, but more about what is inside.

Emily Schrimsher is a journalism student at the  University of Mississippi.