Child Beauty Pageants
Child beauty pageants are competition shows in which the contestants are kids below the age of sixteen. The participants strut about in various types of clothes – casual wear, swim suits, theme outfits, evening gear and the like. The children have to wear makeup that includes not only chemical cosmetics but false teeth, wigs while they parade on the stage. The collective spirit has given way to the individual brute in rational man that is cannibalizing on its own progeny in a mad orgiastic frenzy.
This game started from the early twenties of the last century as one of the symptoms of the Industrial Age wherein children too came to be roped in for making money; little girls became the sacrificial lamb at the altar of mammon. The trend continues with full throttle despite occasional whimpers as childhood is lost in perpetuity. Today it has become a regular industry holding 250,000 pageants. The flow of dollars is stifling all dissent. America is now selling the idea globally and the middle class in the emerging and developing world is snapping it up as another feather in their cap. Keeping in tune with the death of childhood, chubby baby dolls and teddy bears have now taken a back seat while sophisticated Barbie dolls rule the roost. Boys too are now entering the fray.
Generally the participants have to spend nearly two hours for the pageant; on stage the time is not more than 90 minutes. Talent shows take up two minutes. In Glitz shows the girls follow various routines for each segment of the pageant. The child is trained about making facial expressions. In natural pageants guidelines are different regarding make up and clothing. The children are judged on various points – individuality, poise, capability, self confidence and the like. Within each age group a queen is selected. Lately online beauty pageants are being conducted with the posting of videos and photographs on Facebook. Most of the pageants are held for making money while others make noises about giving proceeds to charity and humanitarian causes.
The trading with children is one of the symptoms, like the gun and drug culture, proliferation of porno among others ailing post the Great War years. The loss is not only for the child (who does not know about it) but for all adults who enjoy rearing and playing around with kids. Motherhood has gone. Why do mothers allow the children to strut on stage? The war yanked the women off the homes. With their exit motherhood lost its hold on the feminine form. A real mother thinks her child to be the very best and never will expose her to competition. Womanhood today is amputated without motherliness and the loss is that of human civilization.
Photo source: The Bronte Soul
Make-up, hair extensions, teased hairstyles, clouds of hairspray, flippers (fake teeth), sophisticated costumes, screaming crowds (mostly mothers), weird postures, twitched face expressions, tiaras, trophies, money and more or less talent are the ingredients for the usual child beauty pageants, along with exercised smiles and hysterical crying and outbursts.
The children that compete in these beauty contests are aged 2/3 to 10 (sometimes even younger than 2 years old) and usually have one only goal: get the money and get the tiara (tiara and/or trophy and/or ribbon). Of course, these little beauties do not enter the contests at their own request, but their mothers are the ones to fill in the applications on time, pay the participation fee, create or buy the outfit, establish the type of performance for the „talent” section (usually some song about the greatest love in one’s life and/or a terrible heartbreak; dancing is also a very popular talent to be displayed), create and exercise the hairstyle and make-up, keep a strict rehearsal schedule, hire trainers if the mom herself cannot coach the whole thing, fill in the gas tank and travel hundreds of miles with their children just to spend a weekend on an emotional roller coaster that for most of the mother-daughter teams has its last stop on „low”. So why do these mothers (and rarely fathers) put their young girls (and sometimes boys) through this experience? Well, the official answers are „For them to have fun and experience dress-up in a more complex environment.”, „Because she likes it.”, „Because she is beautiful.” Etc. Off the record answers include the „For the money” and „Because she (read „I”) has to be number one” versions. Anyway, for myself, the most feared answer to that question would be „Because I used to participate in such contests myself”, and no matter how that sentenced ends („… and I always won”, „…and I’ve never won, but I know she can do it!”), I just know things are going downhill.
What can a child learn by being a professional/serial beauty pageant contestant? Well, encouraging the sense of competition is okay, having a hobby to be dedicated to is okay, spending time with mom is great, but when you become a winning machine, a 1st place chaser or a tiara collector, serious psychological problems are just around the corner. These contests promote physical beauty as a main value, complimented of course by the „special talent” and „warm hearts”. A child, especially a female that is going to pay so much attention to her looks and that knows she is being assessed for it, is prone to develop eating disorders, such as anorexia or bulimia. Also, paranoid features can occur as a response to the „no other girl is your friend here” speech, regarding the relationships between the participants (both mothers and daughters), usually all smiles and hugs at the surface but opposition can be sensed at a deeper level. And this brings another problem to my mind, dissimulation as a form of interraction, which can be used outside contests too and become a habit. Also, seeing screaming crowds, rivers of tears at all times and having to put on an act and playing a role could lead to learning hysteric behaviors. Anxiety is no stranger for these girls either. If at first sight they seem to learn how to be prepared for stressful situation, think of this: what if the girl does not really want to participate and does this only to please her mother? What if she can’t actually dance or sing, but she has to do that anyway? And what if she feels embarrassed? What if she would rather like to spend time with friends in her home town and not in some cheap hotel miles away from her house? Then I believe yes, anxiety and frustration are near these children at all times. These and many other psychological problems can emerge from having to be something that you are not at a very early age. And inner problems are not the only ones. Displaying such a mature look (these girls are five or six years old, yet their faces look like those of at least 16 years old) may attract unwanted public, such as pedophiles. Paying the fee for your child’s picture to be posted on a website with heavy traffic is again, in my opinion, not the best choice to be made. Unfortunately, there have been cases of young pageant participants that have been victims in murder cases, so things are not as simple as one might think.
Mothers of these children are usually trying to live their own dreams through their young daughters. I am talking about dreams that they either could not accomplish or accomplished in such way that they’ve become a way of life. Playing dress-up with your daughter can be great, but why transform it into a full-time job? I also need to mention that these contests usually take place on weekends, so the children that also go to school have no free time to invest into building healthy relationships, behaviors, attitudes or follow their own dreams.
So many things can be discussed about child beauty pageants, ranging from ethics, parenthood, mental health, development, competition or interpersonal relationships, but I will end the article like this: See your children and invest in their potential, but give them the opportunity to make their own choices and fulfill their own dreams.
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Article by Lucia Grosaru