OPINION: Beauty contests for young girls should be banned

Kaylee Johnton

The French Senate’s recent ban on beauty pageants for girls under the age of 16 is a step toward diminishing the repulsive over-sexualization of young girls. However, the U.S. has yet to follow suit.

This new law would result in two years in prison and 30,000 euros in fines if broken, and rightfully so. This business is a sexually-based competition that judges the aesthetics of young girls. It poses as a form of child pornography, regardless of what the “competitions” claim to be judging.

Any competition that highly recommends young girls to sport a cheap, Jersey Shore-esque tan to contrast their bright white flippers (fake teeth) can hardly be regarded as anything but a pedophile’s fantasy.

The competitions usually contain a “talent” portion where various inappropriate acts ensue, usually based around the mimicking of celebrities. The Learning Channel’s (TLC) famous “Toddlers and Tiaras” has shown a variety of talents, if you call dancing in underwear a talent.

One of the most controversial celebrity outfits that was worn in season four was the short skirt, tiny tank top and thigh-high boots to match Julia Robert’s character in “Pretty Woman,” a prostitute. The parents tried arguing that the outfit covered more than the bathing suit portion. However, arguing that the resemblance of a prostitute is more modest shows the over-sexualization of the young girls.

The costumes aren’t the only damaging factor of pageants. The overbearing fees for all of the pageants and the supplemental costs take a toll on the families. Although the financial winnings of the pageants are argued to be helpful to families, it can hardly be any use with the actual costs that go into the pageants.

Entry fees alone usually hit about $50, followed by the cost for three or more outfits, lowballing around $400. Then there’s the cost of personal lessons, spray tans, make-up, waxing and more. All of these added costs make the winnings seem insignificant, especially considering the risk that the child may not even win.

The winnings can hardly be worth it when they cost so much financial and mentally. At such a young age, girls are more susceptible to obtaining low self-esteem.

By teaching them that they either win the title of “Ultimate Grand Supreme” or lose is setting them up for disaster. Although there are other awards given out, such as “Best Smile,” categorizing girls by any award based on physical beauty is diminishing the self-esteem of the “losers.”

With their parent(s) often being the ones urging them to take part in the competitions, young girls fall into the habit of changing themselves to satisfy others, continuing the trend of diminished self-esteem.

France took the necessary step forward in raising the age for pageants. Although it still allows for the sexualization of girls 16 and over, at least the idea that it is morally wrong has been realized. Let’s just hope the U.S. has sense enough to realize it as well.  

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