Child Beauty Pageants

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Have child beauty pageants gone too far? By Eva Rakel Jónsdóttir ENS 503 Verzlunarskóli Íslands Instructor: Kristín Norland October 2011 For nearly fifty years children have been subjected to the world of beauty pageants where they have been forced to behave as young adults rather than children. For some girls glamorous dresses, make-up, fake hair and sparkling tiaras are a typical dress up/fun day. For some girls this is reality. Traveling across the country and competing against hundreds of other girls is a part of their lives. The girls are competing in beauty. The definition of women’s beauty depends on each person’s preferences. For some, beauty is merely physical. For others, beauty is purely a woman’s charm, intelligence, or personality. However pageant girls are taught that “beautiful” is a woman who is thin, wears a lot of make-up, has fake hair, bleached teeth and spray on tans. Considering this, one might think ,,Have child beauty pageants gone too far?‘‘ 1960 marked the first child beauty pageant in America and started a major American trend. Children are now the fastest-growing segment of the beauty pageant market, with annual children's competitions attracting an estimated 3 million children, mostly girls. The girls that compete in these beauty contests are aged 2/3 to 10 years old and they all have one goal: win the tiara and the money. However these little beauty queens do not enter the pageants on their own. Their parents fill in the applications on time and pay the participation fee. Pageants can be very expensive too, and the entry fee is just the tip of the iceberg. However parents seem to be willing to go to extreme lengths to win. During these pageants, children are judged by the following: modeling swim and evening wear, how well they dance and how much talent they have.

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