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Who Are We Kidding?

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Before I commence with my topic of discussion, I would like to put forward a question. How many of you enjoy watching beauty pageants? Admittedly, Miss Universe is a personal favourite of mine. However, I must admit that I am at variance with child beauty pageants. Of course, there are many bigoted and polarising views and I am here to make clear my stance on this sensitive and controversial topic.

Primarily, as toddlers, before we were capable of formulating opinions of others; we were taught to “never judge a book by its cover.” The very essence of the Disney classic, The Beauty and The Beast, revolves around this adage. Yet, do you think that these children, who are shoved up on stage by their over –expectant and puerile parents, are taught the same values? Furthermore, these trifling competitions instill the impression that coagulated make-up and sparse clothing are of the utmost importance and are the deciding factors of one’s individuality. For a major part of the year, these young children (mostly girls) are thrust among voracious peers of their own age, all seeking to win an inane title of “Such and Such County’s Most Beautiful and/or Pliable Toddler”. These frivolous competitions will only reinstate in the impressionable minds of children the unambiguously biased opinion that “looks do matter” – a notion that a more understanding and sensible majority of society openly condemns as looks, in fact, do not determine one’s character.

To continue, I believe and, in point of fact, it has been proven that child beauty pageants contribute to rock-bottom self-esteem in those children who are unfortunate enough to be paraded like show horses. To be incapable of plastering wide, “Cheshire Cat” grins on “mommy” and “daddy’s” faces is reason enough for these young children to undermine their self-worth, let alone the over-bearing lectures they must undoubtedly face for tying third place. Most may argue, saying that children who are pushed forth into the unequivocally rigorous world of sports are subject to the “same amount of pressure and expectation to win”. But, let’s just stop a while and really think of the comparison here. To excel at sports is not only to be able to stand up on a pedestal and reap medal after medal. Sports involve a certain rigid discipline and allowance to make mistakes that beauty pageants do not offer. For “kiddie” beauty pageants, it isn’t a matter of “go hard or go home,” rather, it is “if you aren’t good looking, don’t bother.” Is that really what we want to assert as an ideal for the children of today? Is that what we need to reiterate as an “esteem booster” for the youth of today; “to be the prettiest you can be”?

Besides the fact that placing first in a pageant is exasperating, these naïve, immoderately tanned young girls are fed images of unattainable “perfection”. They must have the “perfect hair”, the “perfect body”, the “perfect face” and, naturally, the “perfect skill” that will unquestionably have to wow the judges. But, what is “perfect”? A hideous tan the shade of carrot orange? Hair that has been solidified with tonnes of chemicals? Or maybe, tender skin consolidated with layers of lardy make-up? What is really distressing is that, these pageants’ conceptions of “beauty” are not even perceived as “normal” by most. So, what exactly are these children striving to achieve?

In conclusion, I believe that these youngsters are robbed of the normalcies of childhood and propelled into a vicious world of ceaseless disillusionment where dolls and mock kitchen sets are swapped for blow-dryers and foundation. I think the only solution to this ever-disquieting issue of “child beauty queens” is to completely ban participation in such pageants for those who still believe in Santa Claus.




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