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Are Beauty Pageants Unhealthy?

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Toddlers and Tiaras- Are Beauty Pageants Bad News?

The notorious Alana Thompson and her “redneckognizing” family of TLC’s hit reality TV show have shocked, annoyed, entertained, and infuriated the masses all at the same time. They are a beauty pageant family. With that said, the question of the decency of this sport comes into play. Do these elaborate shows demoralize young girls and teach them false realities?

Temper tantrums, screaming mothers, expletives, and go-go juice are indicative of a glitz pageant weekend. To the participants and their spectators, this is protocol but to first time onlookers it can be a jarring experience.

Are Glitz Pageants Unhealthy?

I will never forget my first encounter with the glitz world. I was going to watch my former sister queen compete when I stumbled upon a room of extremely glamorous, yet vertically challenged women. I though it odd, but dismissed it until show time when the same divas I had seen in the dressing room appeared on stage. When suddenly over the loudspeaker, “Angelina is five years old and has brown hair and blue eyes. Her favorite things to do are playing with Barbie’s and teaching her little brother to read.” I couldn’t believe it. This woman could not possibly be five years old… Okay, so this story is a bit hypothetical, but regardless, the scenario is a reality.

Before and After Looks of Beauty Pageant Contestants
Before and After Looks of Beauty Pageant Contestants

People magazine got a hold of the story in 2011 and questioned the morality of the sport, the participants, and their intense mommas. Needless to say, there were two sides to the story. People from all over the country weighed in. Those who had been exposed to the beauty pageant world vouched for its ability to increase confidence and stage presence. Others thought it was distasteful to allow young girls to parade around in revealing outfits. The debate is still very prevalent and I personally can see both sides. I believe it comes down to motive. What is it that you hope to attain for yourself or for your child? Is it screen time, fame, and fortune, or experience, confidence boosting, and stage presence development?

Alana Thompson- Honey Boo Boo in an Outfit of Choice Costume that Raised a few Eyebrows
Alana Thompson- Honey Boo Boo in an Outfit of Choice Costume that Raised a few Eyebrows

We here at The Pageant Planet love to hear your opinion. Please share your thoughts on this highly debated subject. Always remember pageant girls, “Keep your heels, head, and standards HIGH!”

Which dress do you like better?

11 thoughts on “Are Beauty Pageants Unhealthy?

  1. I personally think child pageants are a bad idea. They should wait until they are at least 13 so they are old enough to see the moral reasons behind pageantry.

  2. If you look at the bad behavior being displayed in children's pageants, the same behavior is shown by dance moms and football dads. Its not the pageant that's unhealthy but the parent.

  3. If the PARENTS just allowed the contestants under 12 to look like little girls – no make-up, false tans, false eyelashes and ridiculous outfits, then perhaps the pageant industry would regain some sort of decency, however, it is the parents that have given the industry such a bad name. The kids don't want the fake tans, make-up & hair-do's it is the parents who do! They should be SHOT for exposing their kids to all this adult world at such a young age. Let them compete as children, not mini adults – then it is fine!

  4. I stem saam veral die wat nie kan glo hul kinders kom nie eerste nie dan is dit die beoordelaars wat korrup is.

  5. My comment: My twee dogters 13 en 6, doen model werk. Ek weet dis baie anders as pageants, maar dit leer hul nog dieselfde ding. Selfvertroue. My 13jarige dogter was n baie skaam kind, tot sy begin modelklasse doen. Sy’s baie meer selfversekerd, en vir n 13jarige kind, baie selfstandig ook. Hul leer nie net hoe om “shows” te gooi nie, maar ook hoe om na hulself te kyk. En sekere situasies te hanteer. Pageants is anders, ek weet maar dit kom op dieselfde ding neer. Ek dink dis goed vir hul, al is hul klein. Maar die ouers moet hul ook reg leer.

  6. All the girls at the pageants we go to enjoy it. 🙂 they just light up when they get up there!!!

  7. One doesn’t need to wait until the teen years to learn about good sportsmanship, have a platform of community service and “learn the moral reasons behind pageantry”.

    Shows like Todllers & Tiaras are filmed & edited to elicit an intense response from viewers – either positive or negative. What you see on the screen bears little reality to how a pageant weekend actually goes down. Let’s get real here. “Reality TV” has precious little to do with reality.

    There are a LOT of programs that have extremely strict rules for makeup use on under 12 years old: National American Miss & Miss American Co-Ed are two that spring immediately to mind. They WILL do a backstage swab of EVERY girl to make sure she is in compliance with the rules. Other programs like Miss American Darling and Miss Heart of the USA HIGHLY discourage the use of makeup on younger girls and call themselves a “glam” event – no fake hair or teeth allowed! These four programs run all over the United States and are all centered around community service. Another similar pageant program is Cinderella. They also do not permit makeup on the smaller girls. Additionally, they require a talent to compete in ages 4+.

    As a pageant mom, I was adamant that my daughters NOT be subjected to the whole “culture” of excess that I perceived the pageant world to be part of. That is why we competed strictly natural for our first year of pageants. Our focus now is on programs that emphasize community service & academic achievement first and everything else second.

    We’ve competed in glitz for “fun” and done it our way. No fake hair or teeth because we didn’t need those, but we did tan (I did it myself) and nails (ditto). I hired a fabulous hair/makeup artist and made my daughter’s dress which held it’s own in the top 12. It was fun. Like playing dress up. And that’s the key. As long as it’s fun and doesn’t define who you are, there’s really no harm in it.

    Most of the glitz girls I know are nice kids. Backstage they are all little kids. They hit the stage and do 90 seconds or so of a routine and go back to being little kids once they get off the stage. I’m also VERY fortunate to be in a community where we have some great pageant moms. We’ve all become friends and are genuinely happy for each other when our daughters (or their friends) win. THAT is what pageantry is about.

    I’m very much an introvert and so is my middle daughter. She has blossomed by being forced out of her comfort zone and having to learn to speak to strangers in an interview setting or by giving a personal introduction. My oldest daughter is high functioning autistic and beautiful. Her challenge is to learn to be graceful and to be recognized rather than ostracised/bullied. She has gained self-confidence and become more graceful since she has started competing in pageants. It’s also taught her to be a “good loser” as well.

    I have even started competing again at the urging of a state director. My daughters and I have the best time getting to play “dress-up” and hanging out with our pageant sisters. If I had waited until my girls were in their teens to have this experience with them, it wouldn’t be *as* fun, I’m sure.

    I am your Classic Ms Heart of Central Florida, Sanford’s Heart of the USA Spokesmodel & Central Florida’s Classic Ms Heart of Christmas, Nina Suluh

  8. My oldest was on the very 1st episode of Toddlers & Tiaras.. this show was not looking to put a positive outlook on pageantry but negative & we as pageant moms let them. They interviewed my daughter & she told them about her charity pageant for the IRSF and all the other community service she likes to to do..They didn’t show any of it. But they did take her gorgeous smile & put it on another show. Both my girls are very out going, smart, & have a lot of friends. I have to say that their pageant friends behave a lot better than their school friends.

  9. So as the mother of a girl in the Miss America system and having been exposed to a lot of pageant people, I have to say that I personally didn’t let my daughter, nor do I encourage other people to allow their children to compete before the age of 13. That way it is the child’s decision. The children have time to grow up and be more mature, They are more invested in their own success and generally will defend themselves from even their own family.

    I have however seen the disgusting side of people even in the older girls. Those fake backstabbing types that think themselves nearly God like. They profess from their mouths to make it about the girls and behave in every way possible to do the exact opposite. Now there are genuinely honest and supportive people, but it is so hard to tell the ones that are real sometimes until it is too late. I have been lucky I met the best before I met the worst. I also was converted from a skeptic to a rabid fan by the best.

    I don’t agree with the glitz pageants. I worry that the young ladies are not learning how to be loving and compassionate to their fellow contestants before they become psycho freaks first.

  10. Competing in beauty pageant at 5 year old seems really inadequate on many levels. As a child why would you need to work like an adult and do what adults do? train for weeks, getting tan and nails, wake up at 5 am get on the road and compete all day for 10 hour. That’s an adult schedule, let the children be children, they have their lifetime to work after. Some (not all) of the moms motives are questionable too, some are doing this for their own sake because it makes them feel good to see their child on stage, they live what they perceive as success through their child, but not giving much thought to their children well being. Success isn’t just making money and over achieve in sports, pageant, office, etc., its also live a balanced life and just having enough time for yourself to be happy. If you are 5 year old, time for just being a kid.

  11. My 6 year old came to me in August 2015 and requested to do pageants. All that know me, know I am not now nor will I everbe the girly girl. However, I allow my daughter to make her own reasonable decisions. She didn’t win that pageant, but she placed. She earned a title to state and she wanted to do more and learn more. I allow her one 1 hour lesson a week and one pageant a month of her choosing. My daughter has perfect grades and does not act out. She loves doing pageants. She chose to do them and they were not forced on her. She has played in other sports and when she was tired of playing I didn’t make her sign up for another season. Pageants will be the same. I do however make her finish what she starts. I refuse to teach my child that it’s ok to just quit because you’re tired. I’m preparing her for the real world on a child’s level because they grow up before you know it.

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