Child Beauty Pageants Essay

Beauty pageants have become a staple in American culture. Winners of pageants such as Miss America are icons, representations of the ideal woman, and positive role models for young girls. So society says. More recently, however, a new type of pageant has increased in popularity to the point of being considered a national phenomenon. These pageants are just as glitzy, and the competition is just as fierce; the only difference is that these contestants are the miniature model. They are child beauty queens. The world of child beauty pageants has become a source of fascination, as well as contention, in our society. Networks such as TLC and WE TV have produced hit reality shows featuring the munchkin-sized divas because it sells, but one cannot …show more content…
America’s first televised child beauty pageant was held in 1960 in Miami, Florida, and it only aired on a local television station (Hilboldt-Stolley 2). Today, the “mini” beauty pageant industry is a multi-billion dollar a year endeavor (Giroux 31). Little girls compete in categories such as swimwear, beauty, talent, modeling, and glamour. They have spray tans, false eyelashes, flippers for their teeth, pounds of make-up, and dresses that cost hundreds of dollars each. Author Henry Giroux did extensive research on the child beauty pageant circuit for his article “Child Beauty Pageants and the Politics of Innocence.” He then made this observation when describing the differences in the original beauty pageants and what we see now: “the children in the 1977 pageants wore little-girl dresses and ribbons in their hair; they embodied a child-like innocence in their appearance as they displayed their little girl talents-singing, tap dancing, and baton twirling. Not so with recent pageant shots” (43). That kind of simplicity does not exist in today’s pageant world. Instead, it is a fierce competition for monetary prizes and the “grand supreme” title. This is the world we are putting our toddlers into while instructing them to “strut their

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