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Beauty Pageants

Essay by   •  April 9, 2012  •  Research Paper  •  2,574 Words (11 Pages)  •  1,414 Views

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Beautiful girls with gorgeous gowns and perfect smiles are the first things that come to mind when thinking about beauty pageants. While all the glam and sparkling crowns may seem quite appealing at first glance, the dangerous reality of pageants creates a flaw in the once perfect image. By taking a closer look, one can find sexual predators watching young girls parade across the stage, or the pressure to be perfect by a child's own parents. Beauty pageants are not what they used to be. When asked about beauty pageants, older generations think of natural beauty and a "just for fun" atmosphere. Now, beauty pageants have been taken to the next level, called "Glitz" beauty pageants, creating a bad image for beauty pageants and what they represent. Children are increasingly becoming involved in this world of hair extensions, fake teeth, and spray on tans, while their parents sit back and watch an average childhood of games and toys go down the drain.

The murder of Jon-Benet Ramsey, a pageant girl with everything going for her, unveiled a horrifying truth of pageants and the children who take part in them. While some believe pageants cannot possibly result in murder, they are wrong. When parents put their children up on stage with an immense amount of makeup and revealing costumes, they are setting them up for sexual predation. The exploitation of children in beauty pageants should be brought to attention by parents before another child like Jon-Benet Ramsey loses her life. Pageants are obviously not what they used to be. The 1950's pageants that the generations before us participated in concentrated on natural beauty, unlike pageants now. While natural beauty was healthy and helpful to the self-esteem, artificial beauty, the main factor in pageants today, is not healthy and is detrimental to the self-esteem of participants. Child beauty pageants are sending out the wrong message, with the exploitation of children, negative effects on the self-esteem, and outrageous expenses in order to participate.

Parents believe pageants are a smart way to gain scholarships and other money prizes for their children. For example, the "Universal Royalty" pageant, one of the largest beauty pageants in the business, provides a one thousand dollar scholarship to the winner (Nussbaum, 2000). While this may seem like a great prize to win, parents do not take in to consideration the fees required to be successful in this beauty pageant. The registration fee for the "Universal Royalty" pageant is five hundred and forty-five dollars, with formal gowns costing up to twelve thousand dollars and other fees required to be successful in the pageant (Nussbaum, 2000). Though the prize is one thousand dollars, necessities for the pageant add up to much more than the cash money prize. Most pageants provide a five hundred dollar scholarship to the winner, but costs for the pageant add up to much more than the cash money prize as well (Dittrich, 2001). Nevertheless, parents are still proud of the multiple tiaras and crowns their child has won throughout her years of pageant experience. Below is an example of a "showcase of tiaras."

Showcase of Tiaras


Without knowing everything involved in the preparation of a beauty pageant, an onlooker would be shocked. To be successful in a professional "Glitz" beauty pageant, the money is a necessity. The registration fee for a pageant starts at $85 (Dittrich, 2001). With the entry to the pageant comes a glamour shot of the contestant. This usually runs about "$700 for a single roll of film" (Dittrich, 2001). Trainers cost $40 dollars an hour, and a "Glitz" dress is usually $1,000 and up (Dittrich, 2001). A "flipper," or a device used for replacing missing teeth, cost about $500, and are used constantly in beauty pageants at the professional level (Dental, 1999). Overall, a family spends $30,000 to $40,000 a year to supply their child with the necessary accessories to win a "Glitz" professional pageant. While money seems to be a dominating issue in beauty pageants, this is not the only negative aspect of being involved in the pageant world.

The artificial beauty push seems to be a well-discussed controversy involved in the beauty pageant world today because a child can't possibly be successful in a professional "Glitz" beauty pageant without the right training and knowledge. Winners of professional beauty pageants have the correct amount of makeup, a pageant coach, a designer dress, fake teeth, commonly known as a "flipper," spray on tans, and the right hair pieces to create a "fuller" look. A newcomer into this kind of pageant would be overwhelmed at how much effort has to be put into one beauty pageant. Nicki Burton, a well-known pageant coach says, "You can't be normal and win beauty pageants" (Dittrich, 2001). Since so much emphasis is placed on the artificial appearance of a child, natural beauty doesn't seem as important. Many people think beauty pageants are healthy for a child's self image. However, the belief that "appearance defines the value of a person is so destructive that many organizations concerned with finding healthier ways of raising girls have developed criteria to give girls a sounder basis for measuring their worth than pasted-on prettiness" (Mann, 1997). Studies show that 77% of girls view themselves as "ugly," because of media portraying the perfect girl as skinny and beautiful (Offbeat, 2007). Since beauty pageants have winners only with the perfect image, beauty pageants are contributing to the percentage of girls who do not have a good self-image of themselves. Artificial beauty is not healthy, which creates a negative side of beauty pageants that many do not realize.

Some parents believe that beauty pageants have a positive effect on children. This is not uncommon, which is why so many children are entered into beauty pageants on a daily basis. Whether these parents aren't informed of the harmful effects of beauty pageants, or if parents choose to ignore these harmful effects, beauty pageants are still unsafe. Many parents say that pageants are a fun way for children to compete with other children their age, and have the potential to help pay for a college education with scholarships offered to the winner (Catwalk). But experts highly disagree. Though parents may think pageants create a healthy competitive side of a child and increase their social interactions with other contestants, pageants actually hinder the growth of social qualities in contestants (Eder, 1997). Children don't socialize with other



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