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Ban it all—because it's more than spray tans
Seriously, as a society, how do we let the exploitation of children exist? Beauty pageants are very unlike child modeling and acting, where the projects are typically age-appropriate–pageants on the other hand, misrepresent sexuality in overtly pedophiliac ways. While it boggles my mind that parents not only condone these contests, but participate in them, it is even worse for our society to allow it.
Beauty pageants, at their most obvious and innocent, set children up for low self esteem and skewed body images. If they lose, which are most of the participants, they will feel unattractive and unwanted. Children, intrinsically, are too young to understand and quantify rejection, especially rejection based on their self-image, which has barely developed to begin with. The premise of these contests is to sexually parade around little girls–with hair and makeup applied as though they are twenty-one-years-old. The real question is: who wants to see little girls dressed as adults, and why? Since the girls are too young to truly give consent, how can this possibly be legal?
For children, how can they truly understand the attire is merely fantasy, and not real? How could they possibly deduce that superficial beauty is not as important as developing your inner personality, when they are being paraded on a stage? At Psychology Today, Martina M. Cartwright, a professor at the University of Arizona, stated “that it’s not uncommon for teens who used to be in pageants to develop eating disorders and have body image problems.”
Even worse, pageants feed into the sex industry, and promote contestants to sexualize themselves long before they even experience puberty. As a culture that condemns pedophilia (as it should), how are we preventing children from harm? If anything, we are throwing these girls to the wolves. As Cartwright discusses in a paper published in Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, are parents merely pushing their children to compete to boost their own confidence and financial gain? Similar to parents of child stars, where is the line between exploitation and healthy competition?
Reality TV show “Toddlers & Tiaras” illustrates the grotesque pageant world where blatant objectification of young girls seems normal; unfortunately, the show may have done more damage than good. 250,000 children participate in child beauty pageants and apparently, the number is rising as a result of the show. While the industry seems like a bizarre ’80s fad, it is growing, with a revenue of over 5 billion dollars. That means, it ain’t going nowhere. This translates to young girls being taken advantage of by the media and their parents, left in a world of confusion.
Besides emotional concerns, cosmetic products may be detrimental to young girls, causing all kinds of health problems, such as lung cancer and stunted growth. Travis Stork of CBS’s The Doctors states hair spray contains chemicals that are hormone disruptors–many of the girls even tan, which isn’t good for anyone obviously, let alone a child. How are we protecting our children again?
There is some glimmer of hope on the horizon, however. France may be the first Western country to ban pageants for anyone under sixteen years of age, as they feel it “promotes ‘hyper-sexualization’ of minors.” Even Russia supports a ban on these contests, with Australia not too far behind; Phillip Block, chairman of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, has also stated he supports a ban on pageants in Australia, as young girls are becoming “sexualised ideals”.
When is America going to get with the program and stop turning a blind eye?
#Real #LunaLuna #JoannaC #Creepy #Exploitation #Objectification #NotAllAgeWithWisdom #Wtf #ChildrenArePeople
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