Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Works Cited

"Eating Disorders and Beauty Pageants." ArticleDoctor. N.p., 05 Feb 2009. Web. 17 Apr 2011. <>.
Nussbaum, Kareen. "Children and Beauty Pageants." Beauty Pageants. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Apr 2011. <>.
"Private Coaching." Integrity Pageant Coaching. N.p., 2010. Web. 14 Apr 2011. <>.
Quinton, Angel. "Debate Around Child Beauty Pageants." Helium. N.p., 04 Jun 2009. Web. 14 Apr 2011. <>.
Ransford, Marc. "Professor Says Beauty Pageants Aren't For Kids." N.p., 17 Feb 1997. Web. 14 Apr 2011. <,1370,-1019-260,00.html>.
Titkemeyer, Lauren. "The Real Hidden Costs." A Deeper Beauty. 2008. Web. 17 Apr 2011. <>.
"Toddlers and Tiaras-Butt Glue." YouTube. Web. 14 Apr 2011. <>.

Negative Effects of Child Beauty Pageants

                On any Wednesday night at ten o’clock any television watcher can tune into TLC for a very controversial show. Toddlers and Tiaras is a show that goes behind the scenes of child beauty pageants, showing everything from training to the hours of preparation before the pageants. These children range from age two to age six. Beauty pageants for this age group have been brought to national attention through this show and have caused many people to form opinions on whether or not these pageants should be allowed. The children who participate in these pageants are forced to grow up too quickly and are robbed of their childhood. A lot of stress is put on children to look a certain way and this causes problems with their self-esteem and could cause mental disorders. Training for the pageants is time consuming and does not allow children time to study for school or be involved in any other activities and this can lead to frustration. Also, because the children want to look a certain way, physical problems can occur due to the ways they alter their appearance. In addition to mental and physical problems, the children can also face social problems related to jealousy from their family and peers. Parents should be informed of these possible issues before entering their child into the pageant world.
     There are many steps that parents take in order to get their children ready for a pageant. One of the first steps is finding and hiring a pageant coach. A pageant coach is responsible for working with the girls several times a week on their pageant skills. These skills include poise, hair, make up, public speaking, talent, physical fitness, and many others (“Private Coaching” 1). These coaches come to the children’s houses and can work on pageant skills for hours at a time. Unbelievably, children as young as two years old are already being coached on how to walk and talk properly. Individuality is lost through this type of coaching because it is the imperfections of people that make them their own person. All of the child participants are molded by their coaches into one uniform style based on what they think the judges want to see. Holding your shoulders back, arching your back while walking, and pointing your toes in your steps are all walking techniques taught and the clumsy, childish movements are lost during this process. Teaching a child to annunciate every syllable and not use contractions when speaking to judges are just a couple of the speaking techniques the children learn; therefore, their childish language is taken from them and a false persona is created (Private Coaching 2).  Pageant coaching is one of the major problems with child beauty pageants because children this young should be able to walk and talk like a kid. By teaching children that they should only act and speak like adults, the coaches are taking away their child characteristics and replacing them with mature actions. This is wrong and children should not be taught that they can only walk and talk properly.
     In addition to training for the pageants, the girls must also go through hours of preparation before ever setting foot on the stage. These children are made up to look at least ten years older than they really are. Spray tans are a necessity for every contestant, including the two-year-olds. Also, hair pieces and even wigs are put in the girl’s hair to make it appear that the children have voluptuous, full heads of hair (“Toddlers and Tiaras- Butt Glue”). Any judge that has ever seen a normal toddler should know that this appearance is not natural and is completely fake. In addition to the hair and spray tans, the girls are also dressed in many different costumes that are all too revealing for little girls. The dresses that they are forced to wear barely cover their bottoms and most of the children wear two-piece bikinis in the swimsuit section of the competition. These clothing articles are too revealing for children and teach them it is okay to show a lot of skin. The idea of showing a lot of skin may be the norm for pageants now, but the girls must be taught that it is not okay in everyday life. Also, by allowing the girls to wear such clothing, the pageant officials are teaching the girls that showing more skin makes you beautiful. The clothing standards could be an easy change in children’s pageants and this change can teach the girls what their age group should be wearing. Simple changes like making the length of the dresses longer, only allowing small high heels, and banning two piece bikinis can all be made to make the pageant more age appropriate. Children should not be allowed to wear revealing clothes or be presented in an adult manner.
     Participating in beauty pageants at a young age can also cause many social interaction issues with children and their peers and families. Jealousy and envy are two traits that are common among toddlers because they all want attention from adults. If a child is flaunting a title or even proclaiming that they participate in pageants, many other children may become jealous (Ransford 2). This jealousy can lead to problems with friendships or making new friends in school (Ransford 2). Participating in pageants can also cause problems between siblings. If one child is getting all of the parent’s attention because of the preparation and training involved in pageants, the other children may feel neglected. This can cause siblings to have poor relationships and parents may regret not spending enough time with the other children (Titkemeyer 1). Social interactions with peers and family bonds are largely affected by the attention a child gets when participating in beauty pageants.
      Children who participate in beauty pageants at a young age are also more likely to suffer emotional abuse. These children are taught that being perfect is the only way to be successful. Pressure from parents and coaches on the physical appearance of a girl can lead to eating disorders (“Eating Disorders and Beauty Pageants” 1). Because all of the categories, except for talent, are solely based on the appearance of the contestant, the child is always conscious of how she looks at all times. If she starts to think she is bigger or fatter than her opponents, she may either stop eating or force herself to vomit in order to lose weight. This is extremely unhealthy and children should not be that concerned about how they look. A recent study by a health and fitness expert revealed that almost twenty-five percent of beauty pageant queens, including child pageants, suffer from a type of mental disorder or eating disorder (“Eating Disorders and Beauty Pageants” 2). This is a shocking number of girls considering there are millions of different pageants nationwide. Parents and officials should become more aware of these statistics and change the amount of pressure that they put on participant’s image. If parents express their concern to officials, the pageant officials could change the judged categories and put more emphasis on other categories such as activities and talents.
     Time is always a problem for children who become heavily involved in pageants. Time constraints cause major education problems for the child. Because so much emphasis is put on rehearsing for pageants, less time is available for children to study for school (Titkemeyer 1). Training for pageants requires multiple hours a day and can start as soon as the child gets home from school (Private Coaching 1). This cuts out time to study or enjoy any other extra-curricular activities. For instance, if a young girl is active in school, during pageant season most of her time will be spent training.  Without time to study or do homework, their grades in school will drop drastically during pageant season because their understanding of the school material will solely rely on what they learn in class. Most students need the extra practice at home through homework in order to completely understand the material. This means she will have less time to spend doing homework and school activities. Not having enough time to study and do homework will affect her grades in school. Also, attendance in school usually becomes a problem as well. Traveling to pageants can cause children to miss days of school and miss out on the information that is taught in class. Traveling makes doing schoolwork more difficult and may increase their number of unexcused absences. Extracurricular activities, such as sports and clubs, become impossible to participate in and the children must miss out on these normal school activities (Nussbaum 1). This can be frustrating for children because most of their peers will more than likely be involved in after school activities while they are stuck at pageant rehearsals and training. Because pageants are demanding on their time, children usually miss out on normal child activities.
     Young children are very impressionable and often look up to their parents as role models. Personality and morals both form at young age and flourish in later years; therefore, it is important to teach children values, such as respect, honesty, and manners, at a young age (Nussbaum 1). Because their personality starts to form so quickly, the children who participate in pageants often learn the wrong morals and values. Because they are always getting the nails and hair done and focusing on their appearance, many pageant children rely solely on their image. “If young children are lead to believe their worth and value as human beings depend on their physical appearance then this is likely to become their belief throughout their lives”(Quinton 1). When comparing a child who participates in pageants with an average child in school their goals in life are much different. The child in pageants will usually state “I want to be Miss America or a Model,” whereas, an average child will usually say “I want to be a doctor or astronaut.” By comparing the answers, it is easy to see that the child who is participating in pageants is relying on only her beauty to help her be successful. Therefore, if parents are going to allow their children to participate in pageants, they should also teach their children the importance of education. If children learn at young age that education is important to their future, they may become more involved in school, which will also help them in future beauty pageants. This will allow the little beauty queens to dream and set life goals that go beyond physical appearance.
     One of the main arguments made by parents and pageant critics is that children who participate in them are forced to grow up to fast. This is extremely true and obvious when viewing the show Toddlers and Tiaras on television. “Children climb, run, jump, play rough and tumble if they are concerned about messing up their hair or breaking their nails how can they do this? How can they be children” (Quinton 1). Encouraging children to walk, talk, and act like adults in these pageants causes them to lose their child mentality and take on a much more mature persona. Most people have happy memories from their childhood of playing on playgrounds or outside with friends, but these children are being forced to miss out on these opportunities in order to train indoors, alone for future pageants. Parents should not allow this to happen, but in most cases the parents are the cause of such problems.
     Hundreds of children between age two and six participate in beauty pageants every year. Toddlers and Tiaras has shown the nation how time consuming and stressful these pageants are for young children. Social interaction problems, family bonds diminishing, time constraints, and a very mature look should not be concerns for a young child. Beauty Pageants like the ones on television are taken too far for this age group and rules should be applied to prevent such issues. Easy adjustments like limiting the usage of beauty products and makeup on contestants and the amount of coaching allowed per contestant would contribute to making child pageants enjoyable for the young girls. These adjustments in the rules would also make the pageants more age appropriate and would encourage children to act like children.


Exploring Children’s Beauty Pageants
For Project Three I plan to research children’s beauty pageants. I want to explore what the children go through in order to compete in these pageants. Shows like Toddlers and Tiaras on TLC promotes child beauty pageants and shows what goes on behind the scenes of the pageants. I want to find information that supports the idea of banning or changing pageants like the ones the girls are participating in on TLC.
I expect to find information that discusses the training and makeovers that the young girls go through. Just from viewing the Toddlers and Tiaras show several times, viewers can see that the girls go through hours of preparation and stress before the show. I want to see how this stress that is created affects the children’s lives. I want to also research other pageants for children that are based more on the natural beauty of children and not the “fake” look. By researching other pageants, this will hopefully give me an idea of ways to change the pageants and regulate the beauty enhancers the children can use. For example, children should not be judged on how tan they are and therefore, spray tans and tanning should be banned from beauty pageants for children. Other rules should also limit the amount of coaching the girls go through before the actual pageant.
     In addition to researching what goes on in the preparation stage for the beauty pageants, I also want to investigate the categories the children are judged. Certain categories were created originally for teenagers or young adults and children should not be held to the same standards. I want to find categories that are age appropriate and can be completed by the children and not what their parents do for them. The categories that are judged in the pageants put a lot of emphasis on the way the young girls look. This puts a lot of pressure on them and can affect other aspects in their life. Through research, I hope to investigate how extreme the effects are and if there is anything pageant officials can do to change how much emphasis is put on image.
After completing Project Three, I hope to have expanded my knowledge of beauty pageants for children. Through research, I will also learn more about how the children and their families are effected by the training and actual pageants. I also hope to find a way to make child pageants more ethical and age appropriate for the young girls that participate in them every year.

Cover Letter

                This semester in English 1200 I have grown in many ways as a writer. I have learned how to elaborate in my writing and how to incorporate specific details to engage my audience. These skills were used when I revised Project Three for my Final Portfolio. 
     In my Project Three paper I introduced many ideas but did not elaborate on them; therefore, in my revisions I included more details and explained my main points better. The first revision I completed was in my introductory paragraph. I find the introduction to be the hardest part of the paper and have always struggled in this area. During revision, I went back and clearly introduced and explained my main points for my paper. In body paragraphs I elaborated more on the topics in order to make sure my audience was following along and understanding my point of view. On several instances I had to delete a few words in order to free my paper or wordiness and adverbs.
     I have noticed significant changes in my writing from English 1100 to English 1200. I have learned how to be more detailed and clearly explain my main points. This is important in order to engage readers and make sure they fully understand the topic. I have also learned that pretty much anything can be used as a source in writing, which is great because I have never thought about using songs, movies, or pictures in my writings before. This knowledge has opened up a whole new world in writing for me and I look forward to being able to use many different kinds of sources in the future.