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Do Child Beauty Pageants Help or Harm?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/21/2013 Category: People
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,750 times Debate No: 39242
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
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I believe that child pageants are helpful to children and teaches the important skills that the children will need later in life. Pageants teach children communication skills such as eye contact. They teach children what it is to be a gracious winner and loser. All in all I think that child beauty pageants are helpful to children competing in them. Thoughts?


Well, first let's review the American version of Beauty Pageants. Girls and boys 0-13 can COMPETE in such an event. Between these ages, children's personalities are still being developed. Competing in any event includes 1 winner and the rest losers. It doesn't matter if all of them are labeled winners (which does not happen in beauty pageants), the children will still feel some type of way among their subconscious mind.

Family psychologist Andrew Fuller said pageants could lead to competition, anxiety and embarrassment. "This is a good recipe for how to predispose your daughter into having an eating disorder," he said. "The risk is that they suddenly fear that their body shape is more important than their intellect."

Five year old girls should not have to worry about whether they are "too fat" or how they compare to the beauty of other girls. There is enough undue, exaggerated focus on superficial beauty in this culture without children being pitted against each other in a contest of looks.

These freak shows are not cheap either, according to the Pageant News Bureau the pursuit of a title and a tiara has grown into a $5 billion-a-year industry in America. An estimated 3,000 pageants draw 250,000 entrants a year, and parents spend thousands of dollars on pageants. Some want their children to gain extra poise; others hope that their children will become the next supermodel or a movie star. You can even hire yourself a pageant coach, that little "neccesity" could cost you up to $1000 a day. Not to mention wardrobe consultants, physical fitness trainers, speech coaches, voice coaches, etiquette lessons, salon services, talent coaches, resume writing, tanning, evening gown, rehearsal attire, bathing suits, opening-number outfit, interview suit, talent costume, accessories, and many, many more things. It is entirely possible to spend upwards of $100,000 dollars to get a little girl ready for one national contest.

Of course, anybody associated with these pageants is quick to jump to their defense, apparently these competitions teach children "poise" and "confidence." That"s right, because nothing brings a little girl confidence like being compared unfavorably to other little girls. Lets cut the crap here, because for all their cries of "poise and confidence" these competition are called "Beauty pageants" not "Poise and confidence pageants."

Take a look at these photos.....they don't look like girls anymore, they look like toys
Debate Round No. 1


There is always "one winner" and "one loser" in many things that children compete in at ages 0-13. Dance competitions, gymnastics, there is one team winning in basketball, soccer, volleyball.

Eating disorders can be developed in any sport that someone competes in. You here of ballerinas striving for perfection and developing an eating disorder. Runners who are several pounds over their optimum performance weight will perform less well. There is a high prevalence of eating disorders in runners. In high school wrestling I have seen boys take laxatives, starve, and wear extra layers when running so they'll sweat off the weight. Is this not an eating disorder? Striving for perfection in their body image? People who make unhealthy descions develop eating disorders rather than what sport they compete in.

Price is a whole other animal. People pay a lot for their children to "be the best" or "be competetive" in a sport. I have been in dance 12 years of my 17 years of life. It is not a cheap sport either. You have to pay for shoes, costumes, make up, hair pieces, hair products, lessons, if you need extra help private lessons, not to mention practice clothes, if you want pictures at a competiton that costs a ton, camps, clinics, professional video. All for me to be competetive in my sport. I know basketball parents whom do the same. Paying for camps and clinics, new basketball shoes, lessons, tickets to games, paying for clothes as well. Any sport a child does has a cost.

Beauty pageants teach girls confidence. Many parents tend to help their children to end their shy problem. I was pushed to dance which helped my shy problem by being in front of a crowd. "She learns skills such as going out in a crowd, not to be shy, and to be herself while people are watching and focusing on her," one mother noted.

Child beauty contests teaches there will always be somebody better. Another child beauty contest mother noted: "I want my child to be aware that there"s always going to be somebody better than her. It"s a hard thing to learn " it was for me " and I want her to start early." I had to learn this as a freshman in high school when I first tried out for my dance team, I learned that there will always be someone better. In my work place I have learned that people will always be better than me in my job. The important part of knowing there will always be someone better is that you have to learn that you need to be satisfied with who you are, not who someone better than you is.


Child Beauty Pageants may inhibit confidence and teach children their place in life....but only through one means of channel. They may be taught that the makeup caked onto their face was not as smoothed out as the other girl. If you saw those photos, the girls are using a facade of their personality. The facade is not really their developing minds. To teach little girls to put massive amounts of makeup, fake hair, and fake whatever, programs them that makeup (not their real self) is a way to win. Not only that, the girls' makeup is put on by adults. Everything is prepared for them and all they have to do is pose and show off the dress and makeup work.

If you really want to teach your child confidence in the real world and not through beauty, put her into a speech channel. Not only will a program like this help the grammar and enunciation of little children improve, but speaking in front of large crowds will greatly increase their confidence.

For learning her place in the world, well put her into a competitive sport and not Beauty Pageants. Put her into soccer, not only will she be taught the lesson of getting better but she will stay fit.

Girls around the age of 0-5 are still learning this world and to put them through beauty pageants is to teach them FAKE COMPETITION.

John Ramsey and his family skyrocketed to national prominence in 1996, when Ramsey's 6-year-old daughter Jon Benet, a frequent child pageant contestant, was found murdered. (The case was never solved.) Now, in an interview with Good Morning America, Ramsey concedes that he was wrong to put Jon Benet in pageants in the first place. It's just a bad idea "to put your child on public display," he says. And shows like Toddlers and Tiaras that chronicle child pageants are "bizarre," Ramsey says, as pageants encourage young children to develop problematic levels of competitiveness, and focus too much on their appearance. Ramsey's warning brings to light an ongoing debate about the detrimental effects that pageants can have on children.

Here are 5 reasons why pageants are bad for children:

1. The girls are too young to say no
"There are examples of young girls screaming in terror as their mothers approach them with spray cans," Australian lawmaker Anna Burke tells the Sydney Daily Telegraph. Clearly, pageants risk "the exploitation or potential exploitation of very young children who really do not have the capacity to express their own views."

2. Pageants sexualize young girls
French lawmakers want an all-out ban on child pageants, says Henry Samuel in Britain's Telegraph, accusing the media and reality TV of "promoting stereotypes that transform young girls into 'sexual morsels.'" Just look at the growing number of "schoolgirls as young as 8 [who] wear padded bras, high heels, or makeup, and strike suggestive poses." Really, what is this telling our children about how they present themselves to society?

3. They cause cognitive and emotional problems
A 2007 report by the American Psychological Association found that the hypersexualization of young girls is strongly associated with eating disorders, low self-esteem, and depression, says Melissa Henson at CNN. It can also even lead to fewer girls pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

4. Too much hair spray can stunt growth
One of the most widely used products in child pageants is hair spray, which contains phthalates, or plasticizers, that can act as hormone disruptors, says Travis Stork of CBS's The Doctors. For an adult beauty contestant, this is no biggie. But for a growing girl, the effects could prove detrimental. Excessive exposure to phthalates has been linked to stunted growth and even lung cancer.

5. High heels aren't made for small feet
If you're Suri Cruise, wearing high heels as a toddler is just a part of life. But when little pageant contestants wear heels, Stork says, it unnecessarily pushes their weight forward, causing lower back pain and hindering proper development of the feet. In some cases, these girls are forced to continue wearing heels outside of pageants because their feet have grown in a way that makes wearing other kinds of shoes very uncomfortable.
Debate Round No. 2


LovelyLaura22 forfeited this round.


I hope you change your mind about child beauty pageants...
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by WorldofPeace 4 years ago
Thankyou BEM1019

i completely and whole heartedly agree with you....
Posted by BEM1019 4 years ago
Are you peeps completely crazy. There is nothing natural about a 5 year singing saucy blues songs dressed in provocative clothes wearing makeup and wearing false teeth. This is a Creepy Peedy heaven. This kind of child exploitation is a public form of child abuse. Who in their right mind puts their child up to be judged for their aesthetic qualities. Which should be gappy teeth, and sand castle building or Lego and not the pink kind that builds only one structure. The whole concept is just creepy.
Posted by Bender75 4 years ago
It beats them doing drugs instead and it's positive.
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