The Debate on Child Beauty Pageants: Perspectives from UK and US

Categories: Beauty

There is much controversy over young girls competing in beauty pageants, in America it is seen as a huge industry and many children are forced by their parents to compete. However with the trend of beauty pageants expanding around the globe lots of people have started to voice their opinions against young people being exposed. As it stands, only 25% of UK citizens agree with child beauty pageants this leaves 75% of people who do not think that it is right. In America the divide is much smaller, showing us a nation whose opinions are literally split down the middle, with 55% of American’s in disagreement with child beauty pageants and 45% who believe they are right.

There are many people; such as feminists, certain religious believers, and protective parents, who are strongly against beauty pageants for young children as they believe the children are being exploited. They think that the pageants teach the children that the only way forward in life is to be beautiful.

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They are transformed into prizes; whereby they are shown off and seen from a young age as merely objects to admire.

This is very shallow because no other aspects of these girls are judged apart from their looks; teaching them that nothing else matters. This may set them up to become obsessed with perfection their whole lives until they feel they can never look good enough to compete with the ever-rising bar of ‘what it is to look beautiful.’ What started off as a fun competition has begun spiralling into madness; prize-crazed parents have started to force their unwilling children to compete, doing anything they can; despite their child’s happiness and even health to win.

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It has been found that 1 out 5 child competitors actually have no interest in competing and have been made to by their parents. This shows that parents are projecting their own youth fantasies with their child puppets, making them prance around; whilst rapidly losing IQ points, in ridiculous and uncomfortable outfits. Therefore achieving nothing for the child and wasting hundreds of pounds in the process, the only result is turning their child into a vain and spoilt Barbie doll whose only ambition in life is beauty and winning.

Who therefore believes that not looking 100% perfect results in losing, not just in pageants but in other aspects of life too. So they are also warping their child’s perception of reality, from a young age to one where only the prettiest people can strive. On the other hand some people fully support beauty pageants for young children as they believe it gives the children the experience of competition and that no one can stop the children from doing it if they enjoy it as ultimately it is their choice. At least the pageant’s children’s parents are spending time with them, instead of just plopping them in front of the ‘electronic babysitter’ (TV, computer, laptop and I pad.) They genuinely believe that they are helping their children to achieve and make something of themselves, teaching them a talent not too dissimilar from a parent teaching their child how to play an instrument. These children learn to have confidence and how to charm people; studies have shown that confidence and charm are key factors to succeeding later on in life, 33% of employers say that they rate charisma and confidence higher than skills when hiring employees.

They also argue that if the children didn’t want to compete then as they matured they would surely voice their opinions or just refuse to participate. If they never tried it how would they know they were against it? At least it has given them a chance to experience a competitive atmosphere and shown then how to deal with loss. I think that the answer may not be to boycott child pageants altogether but to change the amount of talent shown, maybe judging the children on a specialist skill not related to beauty. However with beauty pageants as they stand I personally believe that they are completely unbeneficial for the participants, the losers and even the winners. This is because for every good thing that a beauty pageant teaches your child; such as determination, it will learn triple as many bad things that will set it back in later life.

Fundamentally the basic idea that the children are receiving from the beauty pageants is completely, morally wrong. It is telling them that some people; the prettiest, are better than others and that you should go to any extent to change yourself so that you fit in and look beautiful. That is the heart of the evil of it; the whole idea of a beauty pageant is to persuade the judges to think that your child is the most beautiful. It’s the subjective opinion of somebody else telling the child that it doesn’t matter whether they are happy with themselves, they learn to only care about what others think of them. Focusing on pleasing others and never being happy with who they are all because they were taught from a young age that the only way to succeed is if others think you are perfect.

Updated: Mar 22, 2023
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The Debate on Child Beauty Pageants: Perspectives from UK and US. (2016, Oct 03). Retrieved from

The Debate on Child Beauty Pageants: Perspectives from UK and US essay
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