sábado, 18 de febrero de 2012

Child Beauty Pageants: Right or Wrong?

Child beauty pageants have been on my mind lately. I know some people that enroll their children in pageants, but I’ve never been to one myself.  The most experience I have is some clips from pageant shows like Toddlers & Tiaras on TLC. Given that, I’m talking purely about my thoughts on pageants without any real first-hand experience. (Though I’d like to go to one just once to see what it’s all about.)

So what happens at a beauty pageant? What is it? Essentially a beauty pageant is a contest over physical attractiveness. Some contests have portions of that focus on talent and interview, but a majority of the points come from the beauty and grace of the contestants as well as their outfits. Contestants try to sway the judges by having the brightest smile, cutest clothes, and prettiest hair. Some pageants allow makeup, others don’t. Some contests are small, usually held at local community centers and fairs. Others a larger and part of a national circuit. Some are judged by a panel, others are open to public votes. Procedures differ from pageant to pageant, but essentially the point is to try to convince somebody else that your child is the prettiest.

Kids can learn healthy competition, explore talents, win scholarships, build social skills, perform, and gain confidence in numerous ways through physical, social, and academic activities. Even the fun of crazy outfits and hair can be met in a game of dress up. Children can do all of these things without being subjected to the scrutiny and value judgement given by a panel or audience.

And while the placement in a pageant may not matter to most kids and may not have long standing effects, why would you put your child in that situation in the first place? I don’t think the arguments for child pageants have any legs to stand on. Whatever benefits there might be are not worth the means and can be achieved in more healthy ways.

domingo, 5 de febrero de 2012

Are Beauty Pageants Exploitive?

A Beauty pageant or contest is a competition and as the name suggests, it is decided on the basis of beauty. Although, the new evolved pageants are trying for a basis of judgment that encompasses the beauty as well as other important necessary features of wit and talent.
The structure of the modern day beauty pageants is based on the May Day celebrations of the olden times where a king and a queen were chosen from amongst the crowd on the basis of their beauty.
Whereas the beginning of these pageants might have been more for the fun and revelry, with time they have started becoming coveted and celebrated titles. Nowadays, the pageants are more like stepping stones leading to fame, fortune and recognition in media and in public. The titles have been so exemplified that girls start preparing themselves for these pageants from a very tender age. Even before their teenage they are aware of the requirements for making it to top spots in the pageants and they do not shy away from trying anything to become the typical image that these pageants seem to demand.
This has led to little girls experimenting with their diets to get the reed thin body shape and in case of their failure in achieving that ,they suffer from chronic depression and many lifestyle psychological disorders.
There are others who resort to extreme measures like surgical enhancements and even diet drugs to lose weight. So are beauty pageants exploitive? Yes, they are, but the responsibility for such a catastrophic, sad situation does not lie with the pageants alone.