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Should Child Beauty Pageants Be Banned?

Should Child Beauty Pageants Be Banned Altogether?


We're excited to present this thought-provoking story from Allure:

Protestors of an upcoming Melbourne child beauty pageant have taken to the streets of Australia with signs reading: "Affection Not Perfection" and "Babies Not Barbies." They've asked that the government step in and apply an age restriction for the event, which will be run by the American-based Universal Royalty Beauty Pageant (of Toddlers and Tiaras fame) in July. Now those protestors have found allies in the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists. See what the college chair had to say about the matter when you read more.

Phillip Block, the chair of the college, told the Australian Associated Press that they supported a flat-out ban on child beauty pageants, which he says adversely affect "emotional and psychological development." During a competition, says Block, "Infants and girls are objectified and judged against sexualised ideals. The mental health and development consequences of this are significant and impact on identity, self-esteem, and body perception."

His words define in medical terms the long-felt ick-factor of child pageants. And on top of these negatives, there seems (to us) to be very few positives. In a post last year, we questioned the touted benefits, writing: "Judges and parents say the pageants are character building, and there are certainly parallels between them and school talent competitions — for both you need preparedness, poise, and drive — but the latter rarely involves slowly turning around in a bikini."

See, that's the thing: Anything good that a pageant does for a child, something else does it better. As a former basketball player and competitive cheerleader (yes, it's a sport), I know that competition, and the wins and losses that went with it, educated me about the real world. But it's exactly because I did those self-esteem building activities that I know there are options for parents who want confident, happy kids. In a childhood that's full of opportunities for soccer games and spelling bees, why can't we just put away the self-tanner and baby high heels?

What do you think of child pageants?

More stories from Allure:
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Source: TLC

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Join The Conversation
lbriones24 lbriones24 4 years
I got to see one of this shows I was shocked to see a little girl dress as Dolly Parker with fake booty and boobs! The most impressive is when interviews she stated she liked them bc it made her look pretty!? Aren't pageants suppose to teach self-esteem how is thinking fake makes you look pretty good self-esteem? They pile on tons of makeup and hair product by the time they are in their 20's their natural skin and hair will be one who is in her 40's. They should change their rules and not allow so much "grown up" or be banned!
Middleman Middleman 4 years
Have you noticed that these mothers are all republicans? Republicans are pimping out their children. For republicans, family values are measured in dollars. It's very sad. If they would do this to their children, what would they do to yours? BE AFRAID.
0037sammie 0037sammie 4 years
Yes- I think it puts too much pressure on children to conform to the beauty standards set by society. It is not only destructive to the building of a healthy and well balanced character, it also leads to the objectifying of them in an overtly sexual manner which is wrong on SO many levels. I love make up as much as the next beauty aficionado- but as children they should be nurtured- not caked in make up and drowned with hairspray.
amandachalynn amandachalynn 4 years
I also did pageants. The most makeup I wore was translucent powder for shine, and a little blush. It was fun. Everyone was nice, and when I said I didn't want to do it again, my mom was fine with it. She put me in volleyball. If it went back to that it would be fine. Having said that, I still wouldn't put my daughter in one.
d4d d4d 4 years
I did pageants as a kid and they were not like this. I don't remember there being lots of makeup involved or all the craziness that I see on some of these shows. I competed in them because I wanted too and if I acted up my parents wouldn't let me be in them. I think if they want to continue doing them, they need to make some serious changes.
postmodernsleaze postmodernsleaze 4 years
I hugely support a ban. It sexualizes children and is kiddie-pornographic. It's sick on many different levels.
GummiBears GummiBears 4 years
If they ban this, might as well ban cheerleading. Honestly it is not address the problem, there are other outlets in which parents will exploit their child, be it gymnastics, child modeling, acting, etc.
Jaime-Richards Jaime-Richards 4 years
I'm not saying kiddie pageants are just wrong, but it seems there are healthier ways for children to build self-esteem.
bryseana bryseana 4 years
I think it needs to be adjusted. I did pageants as a kid. It was a lot of fun. Things are definitely different these days with spray tans, waxing, and professional hair and makeup. It seems over the top for a child.
anonymoushippopotamus anonymoushippopotamus 4 years
Not that I am a fan of beauty pageants (especially when fragile children are involved), but it's not right to just ban them altogether. The root of the problem is that parents think this is an okay activity for their children despite the known adverse effects.
junebrug junebrug 4 years
It's pedophile heaven and an example of mothers living vicariously through their daughters.
onlysourcherry onlysourcherry 4 years
I'm no cheerleader for beauty pageants in general, but the parents that do this are probably going to totally screw their kids up anyways, so I'm not sure how much good it really does.
nholcombe nholcombe 4 years
i would love it if they were banned!
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