Due to the popularity of reality TV shows including “Toddlers and Tiaras,” the topic of child beauty pageants is the in forefront like never before. There is a lot of debate and controversy surrounding child beauty pageants and how much children are aware of the competition they are competing in. There are strong arguments on both sides, but the only way to formulate your own unbiased opinion is to take a closer look at both the pros and cons of child beauty pageants.
Before you condemn all beauty pageants for being harmful to children, you need to fully understand both the pros and cons. Although many focus on the negative aspects of child beauty pageants, there are a number of benefits that can be gained. Like anything else, not everything involving child beauty pageants is harmful.
Pros of Child Beauty Pageants
1. Overcoming Shyness
Shyness is something that quite a lot of young children struggle with. Breaking free of shyness and stage fright is a huge benefit that child pageants can provide to young children. Children that are involved with beauty pageants at a young age will become much more comfortable with expressing themselves in public and will be able to let down their guard a little. Shyness is something that can worsen over time, but child beauty pageants can be a great way for kids to deal with shyness head on.
2. Learn About Competition
Not all children are athletically inclined, but that doesn’t mean they can’t benefit from competition. For children that enjoy showcasing their unique talent and personality, pageants can be a great way for them to learn about competition. This involves how to win gracefully and how to lose without becoming bitter. Competition is not something reserved for athletics alone. The world of beauty pageants is incredibly competitive and many young children can learn a lot from this type of competition.
3. Gain Friendships
Another big pro to competing in child beauty pageants is the ability to build and foster long lasting friendships. Many of the children that compete against one other actually develop relationships that are built on similar interests and can be incredibly important. Even children that do not place in pageants can still be rewarded with the relationships and friendships that they build. It can be a great experience for all involved.
4. Well-Organized and Designed for Children
Child beauty pageants are often very professional and specifically designed for children of young ages. The safety of all children involved is maintained and children are made the priority at all times. They support and encourage children from all cultures and backgrounds, but also embrace being unique.
Cons of Child Beauty Pageants
Even though there are numerous benefits that can be gained, not everything associated with child pageants are ideal. There are some negatives and much of the controversy involving child pageants is warranted.
1. Tough Competition and Altered Body Image
Although competition can be good for children, it is not always great for children to be judged so harshly at a young age. Pageants are designed to rank you based on looks and talent, which is a lot for children of a young age to handle. This type of competition at a young age can cause long lasting damage to the confidence and body image of children. This is especially true for girls that begin competing in pageants at a young age. These pageants might lead to girls feeling that the way they look is most important, which is not the case. Many feel that dressing young children up to look much older than their age can skew the way that they view themselves for the worse.
2. Revealing Costumes
Another downside to pageants are the revealing costumes that most children wear onstage. This includes both swimwear and formal wear. Many of the outfits that are worn on stage are seen as way too sexy for children of such a young age. Bikinis are what many children wear for the swimwear portion, but they are way too reveling for young girls.
What Are Child Beauty Pageants?
Child beauty pageants are similar in design to adult beauty pageants, but they are reserved for children of a young age only. Some child beauty pageants even have participants that are under the age of one. Having young children involved in beauty competitions is something that many people are split on. Those that support child beauty pageants feel that children can learn great tools that can help their development, but those opposed to child beauty pageants feel that they can do irreversible damage to young minds. Child beauty pageants often have different aspects to the competition including talent, swimwear and formal.