Dear Next President,
I am sure you will have an abundance of things to worry about and problems to solve, but there is an issue that I believe deserves to be brought to your attention. Child beauty pageants. This activity is often overlooked and not perceived as a problem. After doing extensive research I was able to conclude that child beauty pageants have a negative impact on a child's sense of body image and psychological development that are apparent even later in their lives.
Beauty pageants are an activity most popular in the southern states of America. They occur on a monthly basis and have different categories that judge children solely on physical beauty. The young child, sometimes as young a 6 months old, gets dressed up by their parents with fluffy dresses, fake tan, flipper, and loads of make-up. This desire for perfectionism has caused these children and mothers to go to the extremes, plastic surgery, botox, implants. A child's young and underdeveloped body cannot handle it. According to Daily Mail, a mother of an 8 year old pageant princess in San Francisco was injecting her daughter with Botox to give her a leg up on the competition, “She said: ‘When Britney takes part in pageants, parents talk about how they have given their daughter an extra jab to plump her lips or lose a wrinkle.’ ” This isn’t the only mother who does these things apparently. Botox can cause bruising, soreness and infection, and mothers are taking this risk with their children just to make them “prettier” than the rest of the girls. This is obviously detrimental to a child's physical development.
All of this pressure to be perfect is beginning to take a tole on the children's psychological development. These parents are pushing and pushing these young children to feel the need to be physically more beautiful than their peers, they are stressing the kids out. The parents claim that their children want to do it and they enjoy it, which may be true, but do you think a 2 year old or even a 6 year old understands what it all means to do this? They don’t have many decision making skills at this age. Entering these children in these pageants and pressuring them to be perfect can lead to eating disorders and insecurity. It is also detrimental to social developments and interpersonal communication. According to Anna Wonderlich, “...it has been determined that there is ‘A significant association between childhood beauty pageant participation and increased body dissatisfaction, difficulty trusting interpersonal relationships, and greater impulsive behaviors, and indicate a trend toward increase feelings of ineffectiveness,’ ”. These beauty pageants are creating these psychological problems in children that most adults can’t handle. The idea of being perfect and noticed for only looks has harmed the young minds of these kids.
A child isn’t born feeling the need to be more beautiful than other children, that is the least of their worries and having them compete and be rewarded for their physical attributes is wrong. Perfectionism has made physical and psychological problems for these kids who don’t even have an idea of what they are truly doing.
So, if beauty pageants must be a thing, I believe that creating an age requirement of 16 will drastically decrease the amount of mental and physical damage being created. At the age of 16 children have better decision making skills, a larger mental capacity and a stronger physical state.