By Lucia Hu

            Lights, camera, walk. Suck in, back straight, deep breath, go. Don’t forget to smile, keep your chin up, and pose. These are the things that are etched into the minds of girls who compete in beauty pageants. The most important thing to a beauty pageant girl is to look her best at all times. Beauty and judgment are linked hand in hand in society today and these competitions highlight it.

            Should girls really be compared to each other and judged based on how pretty they look in a dress? Is it ethical to present awards to young girls just for being pretty? Beauty pageants have had a long history of being an ethical issue. The innocent children competing in these competitions are young, too young to be able to argue as to whether or not they want to walk down a catwalk with hundreds of people staring at them. This is what makes beauty pageants infringe on mild pedophilia.

Most of these girls arent even out of elementary school and they are already feeling the pressure of being pretty. Forced to smile and endure hours of primping and teasing to their bodies, these young competitors are competing over the importance of how other people perceive them.

            For years and years, beauty pageant agencies have argued that their competition makes girls feel pretty when they win; that they build self-confidence and strong friendships with these competitions. However, is it really possible to build up self-confidence and to feel good about yourself when you lose? To be told you aren’t pretty enough, sweet enough, funny enough, by society? How strong is a friendship really, when, in the corner of every competitors mind, they’re secretly comparing each other by their physical aspects? Not to mention the health disadvantages and emotional stress it must bring. Is beauty really such an important staple in today’s society that there’s a need to hold competitions over it?

            What many people don’t know is that many parents enter their children to do beauty pageants for money. They put huge amounts of pressure on these kids so that they could win the cash prize. But it’s not the child’s job to support their family. If it’s just for fun, sure, but no one has any fun when they lose. Who likes spending all this time getting ready, trying to look their best, just to get told their best wasn’t good enough? It’s just not possible for everyone to win every competition, especially if it’s on looks. Every single person has a different opinion as to what constitutes the idea of being “beautiful”.

            Agencies claim their pageants are real, with the piles of fake hair and inches of makeup they carve onto these girl’s faces. Make yourself pretty, brush out your hair, swipe on your makeup. Make sure everything is absolutely perfect. Intentionally or unintentionally, these pageants take a toll on the contestant.

In an article by Carla D’Errico, she brings attention to the physical and emotional effects beauty pageant contestants take on. According to the article, “Psychologist Lucia Grosaru believes there are risks for children competing in these pageants, psychological and physical. On the website, Psychology Corner, Grosaru explains that the pageants exert heavy pressure and put the child on an ’emotional roller coaster,’ and if not coped with properly, can turn into eating and/or dissociative disorders later on.”

Putting the inhumane aspects of this aside, beauty pageants are building a brand new generation of spoiled brats. From early on, they learn to judge and be judged by how their hair looks or how their makeup is done. There’s no way that wouldn’t affect the personality and the way someone thinks. Beauty pageants have the capacity to turn a sweet little girl into a drama-filled, vain, mini beauty tyke. I’m sure that tiny screaming divas are just what the world needs with all the poverty, unemployment, and deflation of the economy.

Perfection, beauty, flawlessness, that’s what you’re supposed to be.  These are all things society has imprinted into our minds. They should be this, your hair should be like that, and only dressing like this is acceptable. You have to talk like this and you have to act like that. It’s shocking to see the similarities between society and beauty pageants. They’re both beautiful and accepting on the outside with judgment, contempt, and vainness lurking on the inside.