Why Child Beauty Pageants Should Be Banned
It may seem like dazzling gowns, gorgeous hair and make-up and sparkling tiaras are
fairytales came true. However, without even young girls understanding the situation, this
fairytale turns into a disaster in child beauty pageants. Pageants are ubiquitous, in the USA,
2.5 million girls participate in pageants every year. By working hard to make their families
happy and to maintain this new sense of entertainment, ironically,little girls pay high prices in
various aspects. Child beauty pageants should be banned not only because they sexualize girls
and lead to mental problems but also they endanger toddler’s physical health.
In the first place, since hypersexualization in pageants takes away the beauty of
childhood,disrupts mental capacity and is linked to unhealthy sexuality, pageants should be
banned. As Dr.Robyn Silverman says ‘’Pageants ask little girls to grow up and adhere to a
standard that is not natural to them-that what is natural and beautiful is being older than they
are.’’(Morgan) Although looking sexy is meant for adulthood, young girls who participate in
pageants look very sexually appealing and grown-up with caked on make-up, revealing
outfits,high-heels,hair extensions,fake eyelashes and spray tan. The parents and coaches urge
these young girls to put on sexy outfits and move provocatively. Nonetheless,by doing that,
they transform young girls into sexual robots. For instance, instead of being happy that their
baby teeth is gone and the tooth fairy will come as a 5 year-old girl, the girls who do pageants
experience anxiety and try to hide the emptiness of baby teeth with flippers so that they can be
more sexy and reach to the shown ‘’beauty standard’’.Moreover, hypersexualization affects
cognitive functioning adversely. According to American Psychological Association ’’Chronic
attention to physical appereance leaves fewer cognitive resources available for mental
activities.’’(Report of the APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls, 21). To exemplify,
in a study, college students were asked to wear either a swimsuit or a sweater.After they wore
what they had chosen, they took a Maths test.The results confirmed that the girls who took
the math test in swimsuits performed considerably worse on the problems than the others who
were wearing sweaters (qtd. in Report of The APA Task Force).The girls who took the test in
swimsuits got lower marks on the test because they were more interested in how sexy they
look more than Maths. Therefore,they had difficulty in concentrating the test.This girls
symbolize the young girls who do pageants. Similarly,this young girls also overthink whether
they look pretty and hot or not. Since in pageants they get used to be criticized by judges and
coaches so heavily, they cannot help themselves thinking about how they look. Unfortunately,
this ‘’leaves fewer cognitive resources available for mental activities’’ and this girls become
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For a province that is prone to taking its cues from France on issues like secularism in the public workplace, Quebec has wisely chosen a divergent stance on another thorny topic: child beauty pageants.
While the French parliament recently moved to ban children’s beauty contests in an effort to end what one former minister describes as the hyper-sexualization of young girls, Quebec has taken a less extreme approach of simply expressing strong concern over contests like The Miss All Canadian Pageant, which takes place in November in the Montreal suburb of Laval.
The pageant, in which girls as young as two are judged on “basic modelling skills,” is hardly a shining example of social progress. But Quebec implicitly recognizes that parents, not the government, are the ones responsible for deciding on the wisdom of subjecting their daughters to such contests. In Quebec City, Agnès Maltais, the minister responsible for the Status of Women, acknowledged the government was in no position to legislate the multi-billion dollar pageant industry out of existence.
In contrast, the proposed law in France would ban beauty pageants for children under 16. Anyone who defies the law could be fined close to $40,000 and sentenced to two years in prison. This kind of hardline approach might only succeed in driving these pageants underground.
There is some science that shows beauty pageants can have a detrimental effect on the self-esteem of young girls. One limited study published in 2005 showed former child beauty-pageant participants had higher rates of body dissatisfaction than others. But more research needs to be done, and experts seem to agree that the trouble is not just the pageants: It’s the parents who encourage their daughters to value appearance over character.
In Quebec, more than 43,000 people have signed a petition stating these contests “merely reinforce the broader obsession with body image… Conditioned too early to please, young girls see their parents over-emphasize their appearance.”
But their call to keep child beauty pageants out of Quebec is unrealistic, and it misses the point that parents ultimately have more power to shape their daughters’ self-esteem than any government.Report Typo/Error
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