You would like to believe that being pampered, made up and dressed up every day would be the dream of every young girl, but it’s often a nightmare. The child beauty pageant lifestyle is too stressful and negative on oneself. Many of the contestants are pushed to act as young adults rather than the kid that they are. These pageants are too competitive and demanding for such young kids, and they also interfere with their “play time”.
As child participants, many are too young to stand up for themselves. In beauty pageants, everything has to do with your outer beauty. Kids are being taught that their self-worth is in physical beauty only. How would you act if you were taught that if you aren’t beautiful enough for judges, you aren’t a winner? Many experts agree that participation in activities that focus on physical appearance at an early age can influence teen and/or adult self-esteem, body image and self-worth.
Issues with self-identity after a child “retires” from the pageant scene in her teens are not uncommon. Struggles with perfection, dieting, eating disorders and body image can take their toll in adulthood (Cartwright). I believe that all children should have free time to play and just be a kid. They should be able to enjoy being their age, but when they are involved in pageants they spend most of their time practicing speeches, model walks and trying on their costumes.
Not only do they not have time to make friends at school or in their neighborhoods, but they are also taught them the, “no other girl is your friend here” speech, regarding the relationships between the participants (both mothers and daughters) (psychologycorner. com). That lesson can be helpful but hurtful if taken outside of the contest. Most contestants are too young to have a say in what their parents are putting them through. I’m sure some of the children do say something and are just ignored or persuaded to continue on anyway.
They should not be exposed to something that has clearly been proven to affect their mental and physical health. Adults need to be aware of the potential long-term impact super-competitive, beauty-driven pursuits can have on a young girl’s psyche (Cartwright). Most negative effects that the child experiences are from the parent pushing them too hard. In conclusion, child beauty pageants have more negative effects than positive. They are stressful, interfering, and can cause bad health issues. All of the glitz and glamor appears fun from the outside but once you’re in it, things seem to all go downhill.