Fake Tans and Anorexia at Age Four?

Salma Serr

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Would you want your four-year-old daughter worried about how much glitter goes in her hair or how long she has to fake tan?  Well, every day in the United States 2.5 million little girls are participating in at least 1 of 100,000 child beauty pageants going on. Of these girls 72% hire a beauty coach and 6% of these young girls suffer from depression, and this is why we do not agree with parents putting their children in child beauty pageants. Beauty pageants for children are mentally unhealthy for them, and we should not be supporting something that encourages children to be drama queens and to throw tantrums.

Child beauty pageants are contests for children under the age of 16. Each girl competes in contests that may consist of an interview, talent, sportswear, casual wear, swim wear, western wear, theme wear, and decade wear. They choose an outfit of their choice and evening wear. Child beauty pageants started in 1921 by a hotel owner to attract tourists. The owner called this the “Most Beautiful Child” contest. Now, they compete to win a variety of prizes, such as electronics, toys, scholarships and grants, cash, tiaras, sashes, robes, and trophies. Trophies can be taller than the contestants themselves; in the “Our Little Miss” pageant, the World level trophies can be 5-6 feet tall.

With these trophies and prizes, the young children are expected to do their best, but when they don’t win, they throw tantrums and assume they aren’t pretty enough. Teaching this to young children can cause depression. In the pageant world, being over a certain weight for your age is considered “unattractive” or “not pretty.” Teaching children this causes most of the girls to fear body fat and body weight. For this reason, many of the children develop eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa at only six years of age. They purposely starve themselves in order to stay at the “appropriate” weight in order to win. Many times glam beauty pageants require young girls to wear tightly fitted dresses, so extra stress is put on young girls to stay thin.

Although we could go on about the negative effects of a child beauty pageant, there are still some psychological advantages. Many of the girls in beauty pageants have been bullied in their previous life before the pageants, and the pageants teach them to be confident and take pride in what they do. So because of this, many girls can move on and not care what other people think. Also at the pageants, the judges don’t only look at the beauty of the child but at the confidence they show and that teaches them to smile more. In 2010, Anysha Panesar, the former 2010 “Miss Perfect Teen,” said that beauty pageants saved her life. She was also bullied in her former life and said, “I always think if I can stand on stage in front of hundreds of people, then I can stand up to the bullies being horrible to me.”

Even with these benefits child beauty pageants should not be allowed. We believe that a little girl shouldn’t be judged upon her appearance, but her personality and how she acts to people. We believe if a child is “overweight” or “not pretty” enough they should still have a chance. Child beauty pageants, even with the benefit of creating more confident children, produces more drama queens and children who are very rude instead of being humble, kind, and confident girls.

We do not support child beauty pageants and think they should be banned; to fix this people just need to start disagreeing with how they run things and pull their children from the pageants. If more people stop watching the shows and stop bringing their children, child beauty pageants would end, each child would be treated equally, and they wouldn’t be taught that it’s okay to throw a tantrum because a camera is rolling. Through all of this, we hope you are more aware of what child beauty pageants are and what they do to little girls at just the young age of four. We don’t think all beauty pageants need to stop abruptly, but wait until the child is older to start putting them on stage and in front of cameras.

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Fake Tans and Anorexia at Age Four?