The Harmful Effects of Beauty Pageants

Categories: Beauty

“What I came to realize from watching the show is how reflective it is to real life. Every day people go out and try to make their dreams happen while others kind of sit back and judge their performance. But in life the judges don’t determine the outcome of our lives; we do” (Jackson, 2013). In a world full of competition beauty is everything especially to the younger generations of females. The beauty pageants negatively influence young girls’ expectations and outlook on life by encouraging self-discrimination and unrealistic beauty expectations.

Their relatives and the competitive atmosphere can create pressure to be perfect and additional stress on young girls

Body perception is the main image women place on younger females. It’s everywhere on television, in books, magazines, and on movies. Beauty pageant contestants try to look their best on strict diets, binge on small foods, and others won’t eat for days which can cause serious health problems. Both men and women take this very seriously because the younger generations look and live up to these expectations.

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There are also men in the world who watch these pageants, and expect that all women should like these contestants, and models. So, they then demand that the women in their lives change the way they look, go on stricter diets, and actually do their hair, and makeup to go out.

Sexualization is something both men and women do to others. It can be for younger females because most of them probably aren’t even old enough to get that stuff done, it can hurt their self-esteem, ruin their confidence, and not only that but someday they will be the ones who set standards for younger females who are in these pageants too, but beauty standards aren’t for every girl.

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Some like the way they look without wearing a ton of makeup or getting their hair all done up. Beauty pageants inspire younger girls to look their best, encouraging them to spend money on the most popular high heels or shoes, designer clothing, exclusive makeup, accessories, and on hair extensions to make their hair have tons of volume. Pageants make girls feel they need to go out and waste money on things they don’t need. Parents are usually the ones who go out and buy this stuff for their children. Not every girl wants to feel overly sexualized by others, they want to live their lives, and enjoy every minute of life they have.

A normal occurrence in beauty pageants is the discrimination towards women's and young girls' appearance and their attitudes towards society . This creates a problem in media because other people will start judging contestants based on their appearance or attitude. This may also accumulate some mental health issues as well. Contestants will start by questioning whether they are good enough, then they start watching what they eat, how much they exercise, etc. “Interviewing, meant to show a contestant’s personality, is a fraud; as one of the former pageants wrote, none of the judges wanted to hear about deep problems, asking about the most challenging childhood experiences” (Generation Progress).

Depression and health issues are some of the worst for beauty pageants. For the first few years the young girls will get put on strict diets, and will have to exercise daily. This is usually known as anorexia. “Skinny models performing in such shows have undergone years of exercising and diets- they have developed special lifestyles to maintain their perfect shape: on the other hand, adolescent girls striving to look “better” exhaust themselves with hunger, considering it to be the main method to becoming slim”(FAR). Depression is another issue beauty pageant contestants deal with. “Based on statistical data presented by the same source, about 6% of beauty pageant participants have suffered from depression. Because of the pros and cons of joining beauty competitions, child beauty pageants have been subjects of debates and arguments. Some individuals foresee child beauty pageants as grounds for bullying children but some believes these to be a safe haven” (Occupy Theory, 2015). Most of their depression comes from them worrying about their figure. Dieting is the worst for young girls because most kids want candy, and other unhealthy foods. We also live in a generation where a lot of people don’t have time to cook so they’ll get fast food. So, for these young girls to be on strict diets while watching other kids get to enjoy different foods it’s hard. So, they start feeling bad, and upset, and soon after start into depression. Especially, as the girls get older, and start into puberty the depression increases.

Competition, it is one of the worst things in the world. It’s everywhere school, work, all over marketing. This is something nobody can escape. Beauty pageants are just one of the biggest competitions in the world. Girls have to compete against other girls just for attention. They compete in several different competitions like questionnaires, dancing, best dresses, and a certain talent, having great hair, nails, makeup, and a great body. The competition can be a bit rough at times. Girls will go all out to win no matter what it takes. They practice for months at a time just to be the best. Some may tack it personal if they don’t win which can cause problems with the judges.

Of course, beauty pageants aren’t always the best for young girls, Jon Benet Ramsey was a six year old beauty pageant queen when her life was taken. She was a young talented girl who had done pageants for years just like her mother did. On December 26, 1996 she was found dead in the basement. She had several fractures to her skull, she had been strangled, she had been sexually assaulted, and she was found wrapped up in a blanket that afternoon. That morning her brother, and parents had found a note which had requested that the Ramsey’s pay an amount of $118,000 or so in order for their daughter to be returned without harm. Her case has yet to be solved. “John Ramsey said he regrets allowing his daughter to join and compete in the pageant life but I have to commend all the families who go to the extremes just to support their children’s dreams” (Jackson, 2013).

So as you can see, beauty pageants have many factors that make them harmful. Women are obsessed with the perception and of other women, and must follow strict diets, and exercise regularly. Women are objectified and sexualized by the public in so many ways some say there to thin, others say there to thick, some are so obsessed that they go out and get plastic surgery. The competition can get rough at times, and you are putting so much money into these pageants. They can cause some serious health issues in younger females which can escalate as they get older. It can also lead to death some may commit suicide or others by homicide like Jon Benet Ramsey. Beauty pageants aren’t for every girl, but, for it is for some. Girls look up to other females in this world, and it’s hard because women get criticized for everything. With so many expectations this is why beauty pageants are harmful to women, but especially for the younger generations of little girls who are looking up to older beauty contestants. “Beauty pageants have become a dominant part of our culture, and based on statistics, about 5,000 child beauty pageants are held every year and 250,000 child contestants are participating. In general aspect of beauty pageant, more than two million girls are competing in beauty pageants every year in the U.S. alone. Based on statistical record presented by Women’s News verified last year, in 100,000 beauty pageants held in the U.S. each year, about 72% hire pageant coaches”(Occupy Theory, 2015).

Works Cited

  1. Angelotti, Amanda. “Confessions of a Beauty Pageant Drop-Out.” Generation Progress. N.p., 25 Jan. 2006. Web. 13 Jan. 2014.
  2. “Child Beauty Pageant Statistics.” Occupy Theory, 8 May 2015,
  3. Ferguson, Ryan. “Anorexia: The Scourge of Adolescence.” FAR. N.p., 30 June 2012. Web. 13 Jan. 2014.
  4. Jackson, Cherese. “Cherese Jackson.” Breaking News, Original Content Covering U.S. News, Politics, Entertainment, Sports, World News, Technology, Health, Science, Movie and TV Reviews, Opinion, Religion and Blogs., 25 Oct. 2013,
Updated: Aug 17, 2021
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The Harmful Effects of Beauty Pageants. (2021, Aug 17). Retrieved from

The Harmful Effects of Beauty Pageants essay
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