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The Reason Why Beauty Pageants Should Be Banned 

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After 5-year old beauty pageant star, Jonbenet Ramsey, was murdered due to public exploitation, many were left to question whether having children enrolled in these contests should be considered a safety concern. Further observations were soon discovered in the world of beauty pageants that added to those concerns. There were also concerns about eating disorders, psychological and emotional effects the pressure had on the girls, who is influencing them and how this life will determine the type of person the child may become in the future. Because of these reasons, beauty pageants should ultimately be banned.

Children are susceptible of many dangers throughout their life. Taking a part in the beauty pageant world could make those chances double in a matter of seconds. Many of the young girls appear on TLC’s production of Toddlers and Tiaras wearing short revealing dresses, often calling for the wrong kind of attention. Although the attention received is not always bad, the possibility of drawing the attention of sexual predators should never be ignored. They perform dances and skits that sometimes appear to be sexual, again calling attention that should never be a problem for girls as young as 2. The level of maturity expected for contestants is beyond their years. Being judged on appearance presents problems later for these girls and leads to eating disorders and potential body dissatisfaction. Studies have recently shown that out of 131 females, 26% have an eating disorder, 48% wanted to be thinner and 57% were trying to lose weight (Dante). Some may decide to starve themselves in order to have the ‘perfect’ body, as well as just simply not eating enough to stay healthy. This also goes for body dissatisfaction. According to The Journal of Treatment and Prevention it has been found that there is “a significant association between childhood beauty pageant participation and increased body dissatisfaction” (Hassan). Constantly being reminded that in order to win you have to be ‘perfect’, can and will eventually have a negative effect on the perception of one’s natural beauty. Thus, the expectation to be ‘perfect’ presents dangers such as poor eating habits and body dissatisfaction throughout the experience of pageantry life.

The majority of girls who participate in beauty contests growing up are given an enormous amount of attention. Whether it’s good or bad attention, they are still being recognized for their appearance. Consequently, there may be potential for competitive & narcissistic behavior in the future. In order to appear beautiful and to feel accepted in these competitions, most of these young girls are having to change almost everything about themselves. There are spray tans, hair extensions, french manicures, wigs and press on nails that are required to walk the pageant stage. Frequent winners may start to believe they are superior. In other words, they may become overconfident with themselves and feel as if they are ‘the best’. This leaves those who lose, feeling as if there is something wrong with them, or that they are ugly due to the fact that they did not win. Not winning can eventually lower the child’s self esteem and can lead to feelings of depression. As stated, much of what a child will learn for their future is taught by experiences, surrounding environments, interactions and more. Psychologist Sigmund Freud’s Psychoanalysis states, “A person’s development is determined by the events that occurred in their childhood” (“Beauty Pageants Affecting”). If a young girl is always having to worry about the way she looks, it could present problems with their self esteem in the future. Overall, because of the constant attention in the early years of the girls competing, they may suffer from either low self esteem or the complete opposite, a narcissistic behavior in their older years.

As taught by society, in order to fit in you must fit into the same mold as everybody else (Butler). Pageant contestants are raised on the idea, by parents, judges, and competitors that in order to be successful, one needs to be tall, thin and conventionally beautiful (Dante). Not to mention, they also may grow up with a high expectation of what perfection is supposed to look like. The objective of pageantry is to reward the most attractive, to win by who is ‘prettier’. Whereas in the real world, life isn’t always about winning. Parents are teaching their child to do whatever it takes to win, even if that means being sassy and sexy. Some may even go to the extent of seeking out other contestants to make sure it is clear as to who is going to win; themselves. Under all this competition, there are very few that actually enjoy being in beauty pageants. TLC’s Toddlers and Tiaras has shown many girls not wanting to participate, but their parents are forcing and/or manipulating them to compete. Martina M. Cartwright acknowledges that “The potential for fame and fortune may contribute to ‘achievement by proxy distortion’ in parents” (Blue). Furthermore, because of the cash prizes, trips, and fame that is given when a child wins the pageant, a majority of the parents seem to believe that their wants are more important to what their child really needs; a normal childhood.

Others may argue that participating in beauty pageants is a great way to meet new people and make long lasting friendships (Usher). They also may believe that the young girls competing are benefiting from each victory and loss that they are experiencing. Those who are pro pageant will be quick to argue that beauty pageants are very similar to most sports. There are a handful of women who have once competed who say that the pageants they took part in as a child have helped them be more confident as they got older. All things considered, there is indeed a strong positive side to pageants.

As stated above, there are many relationships made with the other contestants. Some of those can be considered friendships, but it is more likely that the other girls they meet through competition will turn out to be rivals rather than close peers. Those of the opposing side will argue that there are many similarities with the competition between sports and pageantry, however, sports teach children competitiveness in a group setting, while beauty pageants wrongly teach young girls that the only way be achieve happiness is to win individually (Sohm). Moreover, beauty pageants are giving off the wrong message to young girls, and even if one were to argue, without a doubt pageants are negatively affecting these girls, more so than beneficial.

After all is said and done, having a young girl participate in pageantry can present concerns in many aspects of their lives. Ongoing conflicts could include body dissatisfaction and eating disorders, negative influences such as parents or society and the possibility to take on a narcissistic behavior in the future. These girls are only taught one way to live, and that is to win. Because of the outrageous number of negative effects beauty pageants have on children, they should be banned. Likewise, it is important to realize there is much more to life than victory and because these girls grow up trying to be the best, there is a greater chance those characteristics will still be a concern later on in their lives.  

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The Reason Why Beauty Pageants Should be Banned . (2021, December 16). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 27, 2022, from
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