The shame of child beauty pageants

Want to enter your little girl in a beauty pageant?

Top 10 List of What Every Pageant Girl Needs

By Michael Galanes

1. Good hair spray (or a personal hair and make-up artist) to create that PERFECT look.

2. An amazing photograph to sign for all her fans and ex-boyfriends to eat his heart out.

3. Beautiful gown to sparkle on stage.

4. Bright smile to out sparkle her evening gown.

5. An articulate and thoughtful interview to impress even the most impressive panel of judges.

6. Pretty casual outfit/cocktail dresses for appearances, parades and special events.

7. Develop, maintain and cherish her group of friends with whom to enjoy the pageant journey.

8. A pageant coach to keep her on her toes.

9. A collection of clear caboodles in all sizes to properly pack all that is needed for the pageant journey.

10. The proper perspective to keep her pageant involvement in tact. Pageant outcomes do not define her worth, her heart does!

You’d think this list was for older teenagers, wouldn’t you? Would you believe this is from the host of “Little Miss Perfect” on the We Channel?

Galanes continues with pageant tips:

Little girls experience the thrill of competition!

Little girls make friends that last a lifetime.

Little girls learn to win and not win in a gracious manner.

Little girls learn stage presence, communication skills and self confidence.

Little girls are able to spend quality time with family and friends.  

He is not talking about teenagers. These are LITTLE girls from about the ages of 6 to 10 give or take a year or two. If this is too old for you, there is now Toddlers and Tiaras. 

There is sooooooo much wrong with this scene it is difficult to know where to begin. #2 above is so contemptible there is nothing that can be said.  I’ve watched a couple of these programs. I’ve watched the girls have melt downs after hours  of practice. I’ve watched the mothers “play” dress up with their living dolls while the little girls complain of being hurt while their hair is being teased so high. The mother says, “You are about 98% perfect. Is that good enough?”  To which the little girls shouts “NO!”

Parents are paying for choreographers, hair stylists, manicurists for fake nails, dress makers, coaches, make-up artists, dentists, and who knows what else. They spray tans on their little girls. No one knows what that is doing to their skin and lungs. If they don’t want to use chemicals, they let them tan naturally and deliberately in the sun. This is at the time when doctors are trying to get older girls and young women to stay out of the sun. These mothers are offering their little girls to Shake and Bake!

What is this doing to the psyche of the little girls? What happens when the little girl loses? On one episode, it was the mother who sobbed. “What didn’t we do right?” The little girl was stoic.

Some of these girls have entered so many contests there is no more room in their bedrooms for all the trophies. If they place in the finals, the trophies are sometimes taller than they are. So much attention placed on them is a mighty hard burden to have to carry.

Galanes says the little girls gain self confidence. That is debateable. What happens if they lose more than they win? Seems to me like their confidence would be going down the tube very quickly. What happens to the little pageant  girls who judge every other little girl in their classes on physical appearance only? We already have an overload of young teenage girls who do that to the “B or C or NO list” girls anyway.

To pit these little girls against each other is a crime. Galanes says the girls learn to win and lose in a gracious manner. In some countries losing face (which is certainly what is happening to these girls) is enough to cause some people to commit suicide…and we are asking toddlers to teens to go month after month knowing not everyone will win.

There is the aspect of acceptance of not being perfect. During the years that little girls have missing teeth, dentists have developed something called a “flipper” which the girls wear in their mouths to show a perfect set of ADULT teeth in their undersized mouths…all pearly white and shining. Using flippers to replace a permanent tooth is one thing. These flippers cover all the teeth at a cost, according to the conversation, of around $500.00.

All the girls learn to sassy walk. That’s just a little less offensive term to describe what burlesque queens used to do on stage in front of leering men. The girls are taught how to swing their hips and wiggle their bottoms to be sassy. The dictionary does not list the most recent definition as it is used on these shows. The term now means blatantly sexy. Of course we wouldn’t use the term “sexy” to describe little girls, now would we?

There’s the question part of the show. One little girl was asked what she would do if she had all the money in the world. Her reply was “I’d go shopping for earrings and jewelry and clothes. I wouldn’t need them but I want them.” Can we say future compulsive shopper here?

The south seems to be particularly fond of beauty pageants. A show I watched yesterday featured three families from towns all within a fifteen minute to two hour drive from Fort Worth. Other families have been highlighted from Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, etc.

Little girls have been playing dress-up for years, but the important term is playing. Hours and hours of practice, strutting their “stuff” improperly, being harangued when they make mistakes, learning that the only important aspect of them is their physical artificial “beauty”….that’s not playing. That’s being subjected to child abuse with consequences too sad to even contemplate. I guess childhood is no longer considered an important phase of growing. Namaste. Attic Annie



Filed under Casual conversation, childhood, diary, family, general topics

25 responses to “The shame of child beauty pageants

  1. Elise

    I think parents who enter beauty pageants are from poor backgrounds, they don’t have money and want to win the few dollars beauty pageants offer. This is a shame to use your kid to get money but sponsors behind beauty pageants using that kind of despair are also responsible.

  2. Brian Brodber

    Has anyone ever done a study on how these girls actually DO grow up?
    Do they become vain and self-centered adults, or do they grow up to be just like every other little girl who has had a normal (whatever that is) upbringing.
    I think these pageants are disgusting, but I’m just asking the question.
    Kids are quite resilient.

  3. atticannie

    Donna spoke of bratty kids. If a parent subjects a young child to some of the things these little babies have to endure, I believe they become bratty as a self defense! No one can continue in that lifestyle forever without a meltdown. As a former teacher I saw my share of children who behaved like a brat in front of their parents. When I told them very clearly that that behavior would not be accepted in school, most of the time I got positive results. These parents are so interested in child as object they don’t bother to do that. As a result, too many times the child suffers even more when the world tells them their behavior is out of line. I have nothing but sympathy for even the brattiest of these little girls.. If society is going to continue the exploitation of these children, they ought to provide rehab centers for them when the spotlights go out.

  4. Child beauty pageants have no place in the land of common sense and sensible parenting. Those little girls deserve better than being subjected to that nonsense.

  5. Donna

    Man, just watched Toddlers & Tiaras and once again my thought about these pageants has been justified! BRATTY kids and FATTY mommas!
    The girls on this episodes don’t need trophys, they need a good spanking. Man what brats!!
    And the one mom Stephanie had such a big trunk hangin in the front! Couldn’t tell if she was coming or going! Which once again proves my point that the majority of the moms are wayyyyyyy overweight! Don’t recall seeing very many thin attractive mothers on these shows!!

  6. Paige

    I’m 12 and I started pageants last year. It’s ME that wants to do them, not my mom. She actually despises them. I compete in only natural pageants, but next year I want to try a glitz pageant. All of you people need to get a life and stop bashing everyone who does. If you haven’t talked to one of the girls on Toddlers and Tiaras, how do you know if it’s the parents wanting them to do it? Exactly, you don’t. I do and the ones I know love pageants and everything about them. So, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

    • atticannie

      Dear Paige, if being in beauty pageants is something YOU wish to do and you are not being forced to do it by stage parents who are living through you, then go for it, even though you are still a little young to do so. I wish you well. However, keep in mind that to base your whole reason for existence on the fact you are pretty is a bumpy road to take. Everyone wishes acceptance, but to base it only on your physical body is sad. What happens if, heaven forbid, you are in a car accident and are no longer beautiful? If you believe that you are only worth anything because you are beautiful, then your whole world shatters. Make certain you always know you are being accepted for who you are, not what you look like. It’s not that different from little boys who start playing football when they are toddlers because their parents want a football star. So many of them fall apart when an injury sidelines them forever if that is all they know about themselves. Toddlers have not had enough time to learn the hard lessons that come with beauty pageants. From the ones I have seen on TV, they are learning all the wrong lessons for all the wrong reasons. Please write back if and when you decide to stop being in pageants and tell me about your experiences from the other end of the road. Keep your mind sharp and develop your whole personality and not just your outward beauty. I wish you well. Attic Annie

      • Paige

        I don’t believe that. I’m a straight a student and won’t stand for a B. I’m in the school band as a drummer, and I’m in the marching band as a bandmanager. My friends all love me for who I am, and when I say I’m doing a pageant, one of them even say, ” Really? When are you going to quit?” My answer to that is, when I’m done.

    • Donna

      I am having a hard time believing you are a 12 year old! I would be willing to bet that u my dear are a pageant mom posing as a 12 year old that just LOVES pageants! Am I correct?

      • Paige

        No ma’am you are not. I would never pose as anyone except myself. Like I said, get off your butt and try doing something active instead of making false aquseations.

      • Donna

        I am doing something active my dear! I am actively putting down these stupid no sense child beauty pageants! You have proven one conclusion of the girls that are in these pageants. That being that the majority of the girls are vane foul mouthed spoiled BRATS! I rest my case!

  7. Aurora

    This is just disgusting. Even more, to me this is morally wrong. I’m sorry, but you don’t do this to a child! You don’t just go and teach them from such a young age that life is all about glitz and sparkle, and that beauty is everything. You don’t cover them with frosting and feathers and make them look ridiculous. “Playing Cinderella” -what a joke. What are those poor kids grow up to be? How will those pageants affect their psychological development as they get older?

  8. Donna

    adding: I would be very embarressed if I were one of those parents hounding and pushing their daughters the way they do quite often on the shows airing on tv. Dont they see they are making fools out of thereselves!! I think beauty pageants should NOT be for any one under the age of 18. Let them decide if and when they want to be a beauty robot on the stage!!

  9. Donna

    When I watch the kiddie pageant shows that are on now days, I really pay more attention to the over bearing mothers that these little girls have to deal with on a daily basis. I think these pageants should be banned!! The mothers really make me sick! And it is true, the mothers are normally overweight and homely, and they are trying to live through their daughters what they were never able to do in their childhood because they were fat and ugly!!!

  10. atticannie

    I’m a pre-schooler when it comes to computers. Tell me how to get an rss feed and I’ll do it. There is sooooo much I don’t know.

  11. I have to wonder how much of these “pageants” is for the parents’ own gratification.

    “Parents are paying for choreographers, hair stylists, manicurists….”.

    The daughter (always a daughter) becomes a thing to be exhibited, like a pedigreed dog, not a human being to be brought up into the world.

    Here’s a clip from Galanes’ website:

    “Meet Taylor and Trinity, two girls that started competing in pagents at the age of three and have been winning ever since.”

    • atticannie

      Of course they are for the parents. I agree with you about the reasons. They show off their daughters like they do their new cars, boats, dogs, etc. However, not all of them have those things. If you ever watch the show, many of their homes have been very humble mobile homes. Those are the girls who don’t have the WOW costumes and dresses needed for the pageant. Of course they are all girls, their boys are all in PEEWEE football. AA


    • Donna

      ZZMIKE: You took the words right out of my mouth! Absolutely 100% correct! These parents are living their dreams (evidently something they are not capable of doing themselves) through their own children. I think it is totally disgusting!!!

  12. Child beauty pageants are completely beyond my understanding. From what I have seen it is almost a form of child abuse. Stealing childhood from a child, and replacing it with a pre-pubescent sexualisastion.
    Maybe there is something that I am missing, but that is how it looks to me.

    • atticannie

      I totally agree.

      • i totally like disagree with both of you…i like to see the little buts on little girls

      • atticannie

        That is precisely why the article was entitled “The SHAME of …” Not only are these babies subjected to pressures that would warp any developing minds, they learn much too early that there are men in the world who are as perverted as you are as they are objectified and dehumanized and turned into sex objects before they even reach kindergarten. The SHAME is on you.