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?