Judging The Innocent Essay

1207 words - 5 pages

Beauty pageants that involve children are a booming industry and growing fast in popularity. This is partially because of television shows like Toddlers and Tiaras and Living Dolls, which glorify pageants that threaten the innocence of childhood. According to Lucy Wolfe, “in 2011, three million children participated in pageants across the country” (454). With so many children, some as young as six months old, partaking in pageants and countless more aspiring to be pageant princesses, a closer look needs to be taken at the practices that are used to prepare them for the show. Often working long hours, not only prepping for the pageant but also performing in it, the children have no laws protecting them from being harmed or exploited. There are multiple negative effects associated with pageant participation law makers need to take action and find a way to regulate the trends of these controversial displays that sexualize young children.
Many mothers who allow their children to participate in beauty pageants would argue that performing in the pageants isn’t as stressful and serious as the television shows portray them. In fact, “the pageant industry promotes this idea by advertising pageants as family affairs that are great for a child’s self-esteem and poise” (Wolfe 445). Also, in an article written by Lise Hilbodt-Stolley, a mother of a pageant princess stated “that while pageants may be ‘politically incorrect’ they are drug, alcohol and gang free” (3). However, many parents push their children to win because they are either greedy for the money and fame that accompanies a win, or are living through their young children because of their own feelings of inadequacy. These same parents who are blinded by the possibility of their baby girl winning a crown are also the ones who spend a fortune on the pageant dresses, makeup artists, and gallons of hairspray that is required to participate in the show. But these parents should instead be saving this money for their child’s education, and helping them to focus more on learning rather than such superficial things as hair extensions and fake eyelashes.
Parents will use techniques to alter their children’s appearance not even thinking of the consequences the chemicals may have on their child’s health and well-being. One of those chemicals is dihydroxyacetone (“DHA”) which makes the child look as if they have a tan (Lieberman, 749). While the Food and Drug Administration has allowed the use of DHA in tanning products it suggests avoiding DHA from contact with the mouth, nose and eyes. “In fact, merely inhaling the chemical can cause coughing, dizziness, fainting or rashes” (Lieberman 755). Other young girls are forced to have their eyebrows plucked, their body hair shaved, and even any facial hair removed. In some extremes, parents have been known to spur their girls into getting surgeries for cosmetic reasons only. These girls will have surgeries on their ears, surgeries to correct their teeth, and there...

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