Editorial: Child beauty pageants detrimental to kids

BeautyContestConfidenceBoost.jpgEach year, millions of viewers tune in to watch 53 gorgeous women compete for the most coveted crown in the nation: Miss America.

With talent and grace, these women have trained for most of their lives on how to sit up straight, flash the pearly whites and wave without the bend of a wrist.

While it’s certainly a spectacle here, France has finally gotten to the heart of it.

As an amendment to the law protecting women’s rights, the French Parliament recently banned beauty pageants for girls under the age of 16.

However, the French beauty pageants aren’t nearly the monstrosity they are here in the United States, clearly represented on the popular TLC show “Toddlers and Tiaras.”

Just a few minutes of watching the show proves how demoralizing and demanding these pageants are for little girls.

Although it’s clearly about the mothers who sign up their kids, “Toddlers and Tiaras” slaps on some lipstick and throws a handful of glitter on the underlying situation.

It exploits and hyper-sexualizes little girls, something the French caught onto much sooner than the Americans.

Meanwhile, we’re too preoccupied getting a chuckle from watching Honey Boo Boo shove 20 Cheetos in her mouth.

Many of the outfits a little pageant girl is pushed into are immodest even for someone 10 years her senior.

Dressing up like a slutty cowgirl with dark, long eyelashes to win Ultimate Grand Supreme at the ripe old age of 6 isn’t exactly the direction our culture needs to take.

It’s pretty clear that behind that fake set of teeth and Oompa Loompa skin hue that these kids hate what they do. It’s all about the mommas living vicariously through their children in this business.

It’s pretty pathetic that the only way parents can bribe their daughter to perform in front of a table of judges is to load them up on Pixie Stix and Mountain Dew.

Or like that one girl on “Toddlers and Tiaras” who’s only in it for the tacos her mom promised.
Although maybe the show has enlightened Americans more so than it has exposed the pageant world itself.
Who knew what a “flipper” (fake teeth insert) was before one of the families on the show said they needed a second mortgage to purchase it and other necessities?

Indirectly, pageants basically order their contestants to do exactly what they’ve been told to do all their lives: shut up and be pretty.

Not only does it scar them as children now, but it also ruins their chance at a normal self-esteem in the future.

Instead of adults inquiring about what they’ve learned in school, they coo over how perfectly their hair curls.

Conversely, many pageant moms would argue that putting their children through these contests teaches them discipline and confidence.

However, there are countless other ways to promote these traits without oversexualizing little ones.

As much as America loves to hate Honey Boo Boo, it’s a bit ridiculous to praise the mothers of girls like her on “Toddlers and Tiaras” that got her started.
Clipping five pounds of hair onto a kid’s head and sucking them into a rhinestone bustier is a far cry from how most kids want to spend their Saturdays.

The only solution for this madness would be to take a hint from across the pond; the French seem get this issue right.

Kids should be able to go outside and play on the weekends rather than be subject to dressing up like a go-go dancer and juiced up with sugar.

Beauty pageants for kids degrade their self-worth and infect what they should value.

A brain that can reason is better than the sparkling tiara that sits on it.