Weirding the Culture: Child Beauty Pageants

Weirding the Culture: Child Beauty Pageants

Angie Niver, Writer

Across the United States, millions of parents enroll their children in the five billion dollar industry of child pageantry, where elementary age children will be put on display to be judged on their adherence to the American beauty standard and perceived cuteness. After all, American culture continually objectifies and sexualizes women, so why not start the patriarchal exposure early and condition these girls for a long life of more exploitation?

Girls under 16 trade in crayons and schoolbooks for teeth bleaching appointments and 500 calorie diets, not to mention the constant hypersexualization from adults. Furthermore, with the popularization of shows like Toddlers and Tiaras, the exploitation reaches a further audience of millions of people who get to watch these children develop low self esteem and eating disorders before their very eyes! To their credit, child beauty pageants do represent some of America’s most important cultural ideals; shameless consumerism and superficial standards of beauty! And America’s typecasting of blond haired-blue eyed girls as the pinnacle of attractiveness sends more dangerous messages to impressionable young girls.

And are beauty pageants really about the children anyways, or are these little girls just pawns to represent a whitewashed hypersexualized standard of beauty that America seems so keen on promoting? Despite all the glamor and glitz, child beauty pageants aren’t pretty.