Monsters in Tiaras

September 2, 2011
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“Contestant 34…” A girl with blond ringlets struts out clutching a sparkling cape concealing her whole body. As she walks she swivels her hips and extends her cape like an eagle would extend its wings. She sheds it exposing a very bikini-like outfit with exotic faux feathers puffing out from her bootie. After wiggling her butt and winking at the judges she struts off the stage. Sounds like a normal pageant, right? Then I probably forgot to mention that the girl under all that make-up and glam is a 3 year-old.

Child pageants have become more popular, and even have their own hit reality show known as “Toddlers in Tiaras,” there are kids younger than 3 who sit through the monstrous transformation, and the whole industry makes a 5 billion dollar profit from it! Here’s why: Entry fees can cost up to 400 dollars, there are $50 professional coaching lessons, a single “glitz” dress can be $4000, and each costume has an average of $300-$500. Now add the cost of flippers (false teeth), hair pieces, make-up, hair stylist, manicures, spray tans, shoes, and props, the list goes on. Now multiply the total of all that by the 100’s of 1000’s of parents who apply their little girls to this.

So the chances of winning are pretty slim, but you know what’s a million times a billion times worse than losing? It’s the moral consequences. You are basically teaching your 3 year-old that “beautiful” means big puffy (revealing) dresses, piles of fake hair, and so much make-up that you give the “I’m-a-clown” impression. 3 year-olds should be out socializing with other kids, and not caring what they look like. They should not be spending their free time going through a MAJOR make-over, and practicing routines. These pageants also create bad attitudes for example: “I think I’m prettier than all the other girls!”

Eventually these pageant kids will retire from the whole industry, but for them the pageant never seems to end. A study conducted in 2005 revealed that pageant kids are more prone to body dissatisfaction; trust issues, impulsive behaviors, and increased feelings of ineffectiveness. Is it worth all your money if your child will most likely experience low self-esteem?

So why do we continue this sick game? Wouldn’t be much better if we buy a cheap Cinderella dress and a $1-$2 plastic tiara? Then your little girl could play princess in a healthier and more appropriate way.

Join the Discussion

This article has 23 comments. Post your own now!

Love.Hate.Passion. said...
Oct. 8, 2011 at 3:05 pm

If you happen to have the time , stop by and read my latest submission: I Refuse to be a Stereotype.


JoPepper replied...
Oct. 9, 2011 at 2:53 pm
No problemo!!! :D
Love.Hate.Passion. said...
Oct. 7, 2011 at 11:21 pm

Excellent article , and unfortunately true. I wish little girls could just be little girls.Great fact and opinion as well.


JoPepper replied...
Oct. 8, 2011 at 10:17 am
Thank you for reading anything of yours you'd like me to read? :D
YAYwriting said...
Oct. 1, 2011 at 12:40 pm

You're absolutely right. It's horrible for parents to put their kids through that. They say 'be yourself! That's all that matters!' and then they shoo them off to the stage wearing a glittery bikini that someone so young shouldn't even think of wearing.

This is an excellent article. It shows the parents who do put their child through the competitions what they're doing to them and how this will effect their child forever.

The anger you feel over this subject is evident in the wo... (more »)

JoPepper replied...
Oct. 1, 2011 at 3:42 pm
YAYwriting replied...
Oct. 1, 2011 at 3:55 pm
you're welcome :)
Steph0804 said...
Oct. 1, 2011 at 7:00 am
This is absolutely sickening. How can parents say, "It's the inside that counts," and put their toddlers through this? They're practically exploiting them for fame and prize money. I think this piece will be very effective in spreading awareness if it's published in the teenink magazine :)
JoPepper replied...
Oct. 1, 2011 at 7:49 am
omg thank you and I totally agree with you!!! Thanks for reading!!! :D
paige14 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 25, 2011 at 5:53 pm
I absolutely agree! It's absolutely sick what these children are put through. And not to mention what they will probably put their children through as well. This piece was very insightful and well thought out, although I do agree those two lines (100s of 1000s) and millions of billions) do seem awkward, but overall, very good!
JoPepper replied...
Sept. 30, 2011 at 4:08 pm
Thanks so much :D
ButterflyKiss replied...
Sept. 30, 2011 at 4:31 pm
It breaks my heart to see those children on Toddlers and Tiaras, because I used to be in that predicament. Unlike the other mothers, my mom eventually saw through the act and pulled me out of there before the situation could become worse. I'm just praying that other mothers see how damaging pageants are to young girls. :(
JoPepper replied...
Sept. 30, 2011 at 5:01 pm
I hope so too, that's good your mom could see through it!!! :) Thanks for reading!!! :D
CarrieAnn13 said...
Sept. 17, 2011 at 2:04 pm
Excellent work!  I am also disgusted with Toddlers in Tiaras.  It should be considered child abuse, what these mothers do to their poor children!  I agree with nimuengale about the line that needs to be changed.  Also, when you say "...100's of 1000's..." it would be easier to read if you simply spelled out the number.  Other than that, excellent article!
JoPepper replied...
Sept. 18, 2011 at 1:21 pm
Thank you for reading any suggestions of what the line should say? :D
CarrieAnn13 replied...
Sept. 18, 2011 at 8:27 pm
It could be something like: But do you know what's infinitely worse?
JoPepper replied...
Sept. 20, 2011 at 5:57 pm
Ok thank you!!!!!!! Do have any idea how to change this?
CarrieAnn13 replied...
Sept. 20, 2011 at 7:33 pm
You can't edit things that are already published.
ArrowHeart said...
Sept. 9, 2011 at 6:36 pm
Well duh!!! This is the perfect example of a writer!!! I totally agree with you!!! This was perfect.
JoPepper replied...
Sept. 10, 2011 at 9:36 am
Thank you soooooo much for  reading!!!!!!! :D
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