Little Miss Blankety-Blank

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I remember growing up and watching “Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs” and “Cinderella”. I always told my mom “Mommy, I want to be a princess like Cinderella” or “Mommy, can I get a princess crown? With real princess jewels, too!” My mom always laughed and glared with the annoyance of these questions seeing as how I asked practically everyday. However, one day when I was watching one of my thousands of princess movies, my mom went to retrieve the mail. She re-entered the house with a look of excitement. She asked me “Sydney, do you want to do a pageant?” I was only three at the time so of course I didn’t know what a pageant was. She explained it to me in a way three year olds would understand. She said I compete with other girls in different competitions like talent, evening gown, interview, and an on stage introduction. I asked her what we were competing for and she said “You’re competing for a big princess crown!” “Will it have real jewels mommy?” I said with excitement that was as pure as it would ever be. She finally said “Yes, honey, with real jewels.” Pageants have gotten me to where I am today, a confident young lady. Child pageants are good for young girls because it strengthens confidence and self-esteem, teaches valuable life skills, and encourages intellectual and personal growth.

Pageants are the place when someone wants to build up confidence and self-esteem. Some say that school, clubs, or sports are a good way to build up confidence and self-esteem. However, when someone is in a club, sport, or even at school, not everyone will be supportive of you. Let’s say one day a young girl raises her hand because she have a great idea for making class more enjoyable and someone yells out “That’s a stupid idea!” and the others start to chime in. She would feel pretty small, right? From my own personal experience, pageants have always been the most supportive for myself and almost every girl that I’ve competed with. I’ve gained loads of confidence from standing onstage feeling my prettiest and being in an interview and voicing my opinion on a certain topic. Proponents of beauty pageants argue that the contests do not present negative images to women, but rather, build self-confidence. In the Miss America pageant, all girls are entitled to a platform which gives them a chance to put an emphasis on a cause in today’s society. Carolyn Wade, director of Miss Black Muskogee pageant, says “Emphasis on social causes offers contestants a chance to work towards bettering the community which builds self-esteem.”

Secondly, highly praised pageants, such as Miss America and Miss USA, teach valuable life skills for girls. Deirdre Downs, Miss America 2005, believes pageants must retain its focus on well-roundedness and she was correct. When pageants started to go a little more towards sexuality, they veered the other direction and kept their focus on well-roundedness in a young woman. Proponents of child pageants have said it teaches young women to be hard-working, educated, dedicated, and selfless. When you are competing for a title or are a current title holder, most pageants involve you in public appearances or speaking engagements. Speaking engagements have helped me with interview skills. Once competitors comfortable in front of a crowd, they’ll be comfortable in front of a single person that is judging them. Everyone also need interview skills when applying for a job, meetings with companies, or even every day life. Young girls are also encouraged to do charity work and collaborate with a special cause of their own.

Thirdly, beauty pageants encourage young girls to grow intellectually and personally. Pageants enhance young girls’ personal and professional growth through organizations, charity work, and scholarship programs. Participation also stimulates the imagination and encourages pageant circuit friendships. When I started pageants, I made tons of friends. My friends helped me with my shyness problem and also taught me that there is nothing to be afraid of. They always told me that you don’t have to look a certain way to compete; you only have to be yourself. I’ve kept these friends for years and I still talk to them to this day. Remember when I said that the Miss America Scholarship Organization requires a platform? Platforms help you grow intellectually. A lot of research goes into a platform. When young women start running for Miss America, competitors want to have a lot of knowledge about a social cause or issue. For example, my platform is called A Home for Every Pet. I researched for months about statistics and facts of homeless, sheltered, and mistreated animals. When competitors have a platform, they also must promote it, therefore they must have knowledge about it.

Lately, pageants have been made into shows, movies, and have been introduced into the media a lot more. The media introduces the pageants as a way to exploit children sexually. For instance, the movies Little Miss Sunshine was created to satirize pageant culture. In the movie, Olive, the main character, caravans across the country with her family to compete in a pageant. In the talent portion of the pageant, Olive does the inappropriate dance to Rick James “Super Freak”. Vanessa Williams is also play a big part in pageant culture because she left a legacy that won’t be forgotten. Vanessa Williams was Miss America 1984 and now appears in movies and shows such as Shaft, Ugly Betty, and Desperate Housewives. However, July 23rd of the same year, she was forced to resign because of her nude photographic scandal. Many people think that pageants exploit children sexually because of what they have seen in the media. However, I don’t believe so because to exploit a child like that is a choice made. I have never see anyone, in my eleven years competing, seen parents exploit their child sexually.

Michael Galanes is a National and State level director for pageants such as Miss Illinois American Coed, Miss Perfect America, and Little Miss Perfect. He says, “For 20 years, I have directed National pageants. I have seen first hand the developed confidence, friendships made, public speaking skills sharpened, the ability to think on ones feet, and the ability to win and lose, in a humble fashion. I have seen little girls blossom into articulate young ladies all due, in part, to participation in pageants. These mentioned skills are life lessons not necessarily learned at home, or in the classroom, but through pageantry.” In Michael’s statement, he talked about developed confidence, friendships being made, and also public speaking skills being sharpened which validates my original statement. Young girls should be involved in pageants because they strengthen confidence and self-esteem, teach valuable life skills, and encourages intellectual and personal growth.





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