Essay on Beauty Pageants And Its Effect On Children

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Beauty pageants are one of the fastest growing industries in the United States. Today, approximately 5,000 beauty pageants are being held annually across the nation with roughly 250,000 participants. Children are the fastest-growing segment of the beauty pageant market, with annual children’s competitions attracting an estimated 3 million children, mostly girls, ages six months to 16 years. (Schultz) However, as the popularity of pageants increases, fewer parents are questioning their safety. Controversy over whether or not beauty pageants are harmful towards children has recently been a popular, ongoing argument. Beauty pageants that allow child participation sexualize young girls, cause eating disorders and mental health issues, and allow unhealthy values to develop. Beauty pageants were first introduced in the 1920s by an Atlantic City hotel owner who wanted the city’s tourists to remain in town longer. (Laurissa) Women in these pageants competed to be crowned for their physical attractiveness. Child beauty pageants began in the 1960s and have since incorporated characteristics of adult pageants. In attempt to win the crown, children compete on stage in sportswear, evening attire, dance, and talent. During these events, the competitors are judged on looks, capability, poise, perfection, and self-confidence. When child beauty pageants were first created, “competitions really only required a party dress and a satin hair bow,” says Eleanor Vonduyke, a former…

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