After the success of films such as Drop Dead Gorgeous and Miss congeniality, beauty pageants are growing all the more popular in western culture. There was a time when pageants were specifically for girls and women over the age of 18, but now there are child beauty pageants which are open to girls under the age of 12 years.
Initially the thought of girls ‘ beauty pageants are a bit shocking however, if you think about how naturally little girls go to their mother’s wardrobe and try on the jewelry and shoes, pageants are fair an extension of childhood fantasies of being a princess. Provided that the outfits that the child wears in the pageant are tasteful, then there is little reason to oppose them.
The different rounds in a beauty pageant can allow the child to develop skills they may need later in life. For example, the interview can teach the participant about enunciation, voicing their opinions and general public speaking skills. In addition to this, they will learn how to be themselves and feel comfortable speaking to large groups of people, which can be crucial in school situations when presentations may be given in class.
The talent portion of a beauty pageant allows the child to develop their own talents and having to perform in front of others will help them to overcome shyness. One of the main reasons that parents enter their children in beauty pageants is to help boost their self-esteem. Although not every child can win the overall competition, each child will receive a participation prize. In addition to this, these pageants encourage the child to be more comfortable in their own skin.
A lot of parents who have had children with birth defects will enter them into these pageants in order to teach them that they are not different from other children and they can take in the things that other children participate. This works in both directions, as the children in the competition learn not to judge others if they are disabled and become more accepting; this is something that many children do not have the capacity to do if they seldom interact with a disabled person.
Beauty pageants give children the opportunity to feel like a princess for a day, it is possible that some of you may think, it encourages children to grow up too. I know from experience that young girls spend hours day dreaming about wearing diamond tiaras, high heels and makeup.