What exactly is your definition of beauty? In the average dictionary beauty is defined as a combination of qualities that pleases aesthetic senses, especially the sight. Unfortunately, in today’s society, the meaning of beauty has become extremely distorted and in place beauty pageants have become very popular. These contests take place across the entire world; in big cities and small towns. The contestants’ ages range from 0 to 30 years old. Thus, children are thrown into this lifestyle, without knowing exactly what they are getting into.
They are judged by physical beauty and sometimes personality and talent, with the winners awarded prizes or titles. Many people say that it beauty pageants boost ones confidence but in fact, they increase eating disorders, excessive dieting and can even lower ones self-esteem all because they do not feel as physically attractive as “they should be”. In more ways than one, beauty pageants significantly impact young girl’s life as she develops into a woman.
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According to an article by Women’s News, the United States generates approximately 100,000 beauty pageants for young girls and approximately 2.5 million girls compete in them.
For most pageants, children are entered into them as soon as they are able to sit up by themselves. This means that from a young age these girls learn that the worth of a person is solely based on appearance, thus enabling them into a vain and insecure individual in the future. Though these pageants host talent portions, they are often flooded with over promiscuous dance routines and outfits, throwing pageant kids into things that are not appropriate for their age. Sadly enough, not every girl that enters a beauty contest can win.
So, their parents become very competitive and make them go through tanning, waxing and many make-up and hair sessions, to guarantee that they are the “best”. However, when these girls do lose, they believe that they were not good enough for the judges and lose all of their self-esteem. These pageant kids now become overly competitive and believe everything is about winning. And even worse, a high percentage of these pageant kids will engage in cosmetic and plastic surgery in the future to maintain their definition of beauty.
In addition to low self-esteem, beauty pageants can create many bad habits including excessive dieting. Because the parents of these young girls are very obsessive with their children’s appearance they end up robbing them of their childhood. They are not able to grab a slice of pizza or even a kid’s meal because they are watching every calorie intake. These young girls are forced to go on crash diets, to gain energy and lose weight very quickly. Sadly, this creates a number of problems for their health such as impaired growth, menstrual irregularities, low blood pressure and impaired kidney functions.
Unfortunately, many of these parents do not know exactly how they are impacting their children’s bodies. They are not only forming nutritional deficiencies but psychological issues too. According to the National Association of Eating Disorders, 90% of the time, girls who were forced to start a diet from a young age increase the frequency of taking extreme measures to continue a “perfect” figure, which is very destructive to one’s health. Excessive dieting can lead the way for a more harmful habit, eating disorders.
In today’s society, 35% of “occasional dieters” progress into pathological dieting, (disordered eating) and as many as 25%, advance to full-blown eating disorders (Philadelphia Eating Disorder Examiner, July 2011). When these pageant kids grow into young women, they have all of their eggs stacked in one basket, which in this case will be the “looks department”. They are so used to concentrating on the external and superficial aspects of beauty that they cannot focus on reality. The longing to be thin like the supermodels on magazine covers, causes these pageant girls to go to extreme measures such as bulimia and anorexia.
In one situation, a pageant girl as young as 6 years old was hospitalized with anorexia, which was linked to body image. This is not acceptable at all. But the blame cannot be solely placed on them. Their moms are so obsessed with their image; they allow their children to engage in these horrific activities. There is therefore no doubt that beauty pageants do no good for these kids. In closing, beauty pageants cause a great deal of problems for girls in the long run. These pageants are more likely to hurt one then to help one.
These pageants are supposed to boost confidence, when in reality they ruin children’s lives and basically kill their mental beings. I believe that beauty pageants for kids are a form of child abuse. These mothers exploit their children, teaching them that there will always be a person better than them. This is unacceptable and beauty pageants need to be banned because beauty is not counterfeit. It is being confident in your own skin without the approval of others. The time for taking action has come.