Child Beauty Pageants

Intro: Lipstick, big hairdos and sparkly crowns ... the world of beauty pageants can be child's play.

Hello, my name is Katie and I will be talking to you about beauty pageants for children, how they are potentially harmful for their self image in the future, how financially unnecessary they are, and finally, what we can do to help future generations feel good about themselves.

Body: According to an article on “They love this! They love the glitz and the glamour!" says Joy Clark, grandmother of 5-year-old Jayleigh. Clark has spent the last four years taking Jayleigh to 100 pageants, perfecting her presentation.

Children are the fastest-growing segment of the beauty pageant market, with annual children's competitions attracting an estimated 3 million children, mostly girls, ages six months to 16 years, who compete for crowns and cash.

As found on , April Brilliant, reigning Mrs. Maryland and the director of Maryland-based Mystic Pageants, says pageants give little girls a chance to "play Cinderella."

But playing cinderella costs parents financially, and some experts argue that it can be harmful to girls, teaching them that their self-worth is measured by how pretty they are. "What they are learning basically is that they have one characteristic which is of total primary importance, and that is their body and their attractiveness," said Syd Brown, a child and adolescent psychologist practicing at Harvard. He warns that baby swans often become ugly adolescent ducklings, a development that could usher in a host of emotional problems in young adulthood. Some of the questions that Syd brown asked in his studies were "What happens if these kids develop acne? Or they need braces? Or what happens if they don't develop physically? What happens to them then?"

Katie Benett Speech001 11/12/10

Another concern is that the contests may breed narcissism. While a certain degree of self-love and value is critical for children,...