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Children Are the Fastest-Growing Segment

Essay by   •  March 7, 2011  •  Essay  •  269 Words (2 Pages)  •  2,137 Views

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Children are the fastest-growing segment of the beauty pageant market, with annual children's competitions attracting an estimated 3 million children, mostly girls, ages six months to 16 years, who compete for crowns and cash.

The concept of beauty pageants started way back in the 1920s to boost the tourism sector. The first child beauty pageants in the United States started in the 1960's. Today, the beauty pageants have conveniently seduced the very essence of beauty, confidence and poise to gain its position in the world of fashion. The beauty pageants for children are judged on how well they display the different clothes line, how well they dance and how talented they are.

But playing dress-up on the pageant stage costs parents financially, and some experts argue that it can be harmful to girls, teaching them that their self-worth is measured by how pretty they are.

In addition to the child development and image concerns there are financial issues surrounding pageants, too. The run for crowns and cash can cost thousands of dollars. Entry fees range from $10 to $200. Dresses can cost up to $5,000, with most averaging $1,000 or so.

Parents with higher incomes and education beyond high school often cite teaching a child how to deal with competition as a main reason for entering pageants. Many of them want their daughters to be doctors, dentists, or to have professional careers, Levey discovered in interviews.

Moms on lower socioeconomic levels also think competition is healthy. "My daughter looks like Barbie," one said. "I tell her to exploit it. This is your life; you take what you have and run with it."

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