Professor Linda Gross-O’ Neil
3 December 2014
By wearing costumes, pretty shoes, and caking your face with makeup, a beauty pageant seems like a lot of fun for young girls. Dressing up like a Disney princess, winning an extravagant tiara, or lots of cash sounds perfect, right? Wrong. These girls are learning from a young age things that they shouldn't be taught. They are all dolled up in clothes and makeup and hair products that their parents spend thousands of dollars on that could be put towards important things, such as their children’s' futures. They are not developing any sort of personality or education; just what is taught ...view middle of the document...
Girls can be entered in pageants the moment they come out of the hospital. From the moment they are entered, these young girls are pushed into a world they shouldn't have to live. Most parents would do anything to give their child everything they could. But is spending thousands of dollars on hair products, makeup, and one-time wear costumes really worth it? According to Dorothea Poteat, the director of the Southern Elite Pageants in North Carolina, parents can easily rack up the bills to over $3000 for one pageant! The entry fee alone could be $500 at the most, and when you add the costs of costumes, nail polish, rhinestones, and glitter. It would be very easy for a family to spiral into debt by trying to buy things they may not be able to afford, for the sake of their little girls participating in a pageant that doesn't even show off their natural beauty.
When a girl is entered in a beauty pageant, she is on a strict schedule. Hair appointments, dress fittings, dance lessons. When do they have time to be a real girl? Where is the place in the schedule that says "Sleepover with X" or "Waterpark with Y"? Pageants can really take a toll on a girl's personality. According to noted psychologist and author Steve Biddulph, one in five girls "growing up in this kind of environment were suffering to some degree from anxiety manifesting as self-harm, eating disorders, binge drinking, bullying and risky sex," ("Stealing the Innocence of Children") According to a therapy website, most girls in beauty pageants experience crash dieting and as a result develop eating disorders ("Beauty Pageants and Children: It’s Not Always Pretty"). In 2012 it was noted that about 6% of girls in pageants suffer from severe depression.
Glitz pageants are by far the most popular type of pageant; but it is...