15 Rules Girls Have To Follow In Little Miss Beauty Pageants
With the way we’re cultured to think, “pretty” has become the best compliment most women would love to get. We’re told to believe that being aesthetically pleasing is the highest form of all female descriptions — a belief that became more widespread in the 1920s when glorification of beauty became a fascination through pageants.
Since then, everyone went crazy for pageants that pitted women against women, and this passion ballooned into a $5 billion industry we have now. This founded a belief that in order to feel and become beautiful, you need a crown to prove it.
In the 1960s, the country witnessed the first Little Miss America pageant and this became an obsession for mothers and daughters alike. Decades down the line, many parent-daughter pairs are still obsessed for the coveted crown just like the proverbial moth to the flame. But the lengths these children would go through, directed by the parent, are just unimaginable.
While child beauty pageants seem to be just innocent competitions for kids, it has inadvertently become an avenue of exploitation. Without parents realizing, their young girls are being subtly tortured in all aspects, just for the sake of the crown that’s nothing but a status symbol.
Unfortunately, there are disgusting rules girls have to follow in little miss beauty pageants and here are just some of them.
15. They constantly need to be perfect
Kids are always meant to make mistakes. After all, how else are they going on their own if they don’t commit errors? This, however, isn’t the case for the young girls in little miss beauty pageants because, for them, there shouldn’t be any room for blunders.
Little miss beauty contestants are expected to be flawless. From their looks down to the things they do, everything needs to be perfect and if not, their toughest judges — the parents — won’t be happy about it.
Although raising a perfect child seems like a good move, it’s counter-intuitive because children should be given realistic standards that will make them feel it’s alright to make mistakes at times. Otherwise, this builds narcissistic and egoistic tendencies, and true enough, we’ve seen these traits among kids in Toddlers and Tiaras.
14. Makeup and hairspray is never a no-no
At such a tender age, little pageant kids are exposed to ridiculous amounts of make-up and hairspray that are supposed to make them “beautiful.” These kids are notorious for sporting a full-beat that’s comparable to an adult woman’s make-up, from faux lashes to flippers. They even use tons of spray tans to give their complexion a little touch-up. Overall, the fact that they need all these items to make them “beautiful” is bothersome.
Make-up and hairsprays are full of chemicals that are harmful to young children. Among these are phthalates, found in hairsprays, that may stunt growth. Phthalates are considered endocrine disruptors as they can mimic or block hormones in the body. Exposure to this chemical also results in asthma, allergies and bronchial obstruction.
13. High heels are a must
If adults are having a hard time fitting into high heels, and even those who wear them on a daily basis, then it’s far more worst for kids. Stilettos are too uncomfortable for a child and can be hazardous to them, considering their accident-prone nature.
More often than not, these little misses, particularly in the Glitz competitions, are required to strut on the stages in high heels to impress the judges. Although it’s not as high as we adults normally wear, two to three-inched shoes are still considered hard to bear for kids.
As a result, a lot of the girls have to suffer muscle spasms and they’re at risk of having long-term side effects. Studies show that frequent use of towering shoes can take a toll on an individual’s spine, hips, knees, ankles, and feet and it even alters one’s posture and gait.
12. Follow a ridiculous diet — no matter how young the kid is
Whether you believe it or not, following a stringent diet is often the norm in child beauty pageants especially when a child is a little bit chunkier for her physique. Most pageant moms believe that in order to impress the judges, their kids should have a svelte body just as how the media portrays an “ideal” woman. Hence, most pageant moms would impose a strict 500-calorie diet for the kids and even crash diets, regardless of the health risks the child may face later on.
Starvation diets do not only pose physical harm to the kids as it may also have an effect on their psychological well-being. Studies show that children in beauty pageants are more likely to develop eating problems in later life because of their rigid diets and the exposure to hypercritical environments dictating that “sexy” is beautiful.
11. Always act like a princess
Although it’s not officially listed in medical books, the princess syndrome is real and is very well evident among these pint-size contestants. These kids are exposed to the fantasy of fairytales and are often required to live as though they’re graceful princesses with a faultless life. A kid with princess syndrome often believes she is the center of the universe and think that only physical beauty can trump everything.
This fairytale-like mindset is also most likely to be stemming from their parents, themselves. These parents may have the condition called Achievement by Proxy Distortion in which they live their dreams vicariously through their children. More specifically, this can be touted as princess by proxy.
While parents may seem to just want the best for their child, they didn’t know they’re trampling on the kid’s individuality by controlling them in becoming this or that.
10. Pageant moms are always right
Since they are their elders, the children aren’t in any good position to question their parents’ authority. The kids are always obliged to follow whatever their parents say because it’s what’s right and “best” for them. However, it isn’t always necessarily true, especially among overly competitive parents, especially pageant moms, who appear to know nothing better.
Instead of being a good example, a lot of moms — as we’ve seen on Toddlers and Tiaras — are engaging in dirty catfights against their competitors, to the point that even the kids aren’t spared. There were instances that parents have created gossips against the child just so they can destroy their contenders’ chances of winning and as it turned out, a lot of times a child gets disqualified are mainly due to their parents’ misconduct.
9. Beauty treatments are necessary
Beauty enhancements are tolerable in the child pageant arena, particularly in Glitz competitions. Just to break down the classifications, child pageants are categorized into three: Glitz, where a child is accepted to wear full-face makeup, wigs, fake teeth, and spray tan; Semi-Glitz, where there’s a partial restriction; and Natural, where a contestant must only have her natural features on stage like minimal to no makeup, no wigs, flippers or spray tans.
Since it’s a more competitive scene in the Glitz, a lot of parents cross the line and perform treatments that are well beyond for the kids’ age. Their young manes get bleached, eyebrows get painfully waxed, and some even resorted to teeth bleaching even though it’s not recommended for anyone below a certain age.
8. Must drink “pageant juice”
As if imposing a restrictive diet isn’t harsh enough, a lot of kids are shockingly given a dose of their Go Go juice packed with caffeine and sugar that even an adult may have a hard time tolerating. These kids were given by their parents a combination of Red Bull and Mountain Dew before the competition so they wouldn’t dry out on energy.
Competing in pageants can really be strenuous for a tiny body. All-day practices for the stage walks, singing, dancing and public speaking performances, and even the way they hold their posture and smiles — all these are being rehearsed day in, day out which implicates lack of ample rest and sleep.
As a result, some kids become drained and cranky, and so parents think a sugar rush — that’s comparable to two cups of coffee — might be a better idea to pump up their kids.
7. Competitiveness should be in their blood
Having been raised in a hypercritical environment, it’s no wonder that these little contestants have instilled in them the desire to bag all the wins. Losing will be the last thing these families would want, especially with all the efforts they have put into just to get a 45-second to a minute spotlight.
Not to mention, losing comes with a cost — a hefty one, in fact. Each child-parent contestant roughly sheds as much as $70,000. The children’s frilly gowns are usually priced from $1,000 to $3,000 and add that up to the expenses from makeup artists, coaches, transportation and lodging in cross-state competitions, among others.
At such a young age, children are taught how to compete to an unhealthy extent. When a part of routine gets messed up, tantrums are abound and when they do lose, it’s as if the entire world has crumbled down for these kids.
6. Sleep is for the weak
Sleep, or the lack of it, largely affects a child’s development. It contributes to their physical growth, immune system, mental well-being and overall health, just as how it’s true for us adults. While full-grown people like us can function with fewer hours clocked on bed, it’s hardly the same for the kids.
Most children in these beauty pageants are aged 3-5 years old, with some as young as 18 months. Without at least twelve hours of sleep, these toddlers can get extremely irritable and long days in competitions can be overwhelming for them.
If normal children get to nap at least once in a day, it’s otherwise these kids. It’s a privilege for them as they have strict schedules to fit in their activities.
5. Sit still for makeup, or else…
Prepping up for their big day usually entail hours long of sitting on their makeup chairs, to the point that their bottoms feel numb for sitting too long. These preparations require at least two to three hours, or probably longer for the girls in Glitz competition. Just imagine the loads of hair teasing they have to endure, the endless attempts to get their famous corkscrew curls, or the many swatches to get the perfect eyeshadow. Nobody gets this done in a jiffy — not with kids who love to always be on the move.
What these parents do mostly is bribe the kids, or give them a hard talk of the “consequences.” If they don’t sit still, they’ll not be getting the Barbie dolls they’ve wanted or worst, she’ll face the horror of ending up as a loser on stage if she doesn’t have her makeup perfected.
4. Normal childhood is too boring
Sadly for these kids, they’re forced to believe that ordinary childhood — like the rest of us have had — is nothing but boring. They’re brainwashed by the system that the pageant life is exhilarating and fulfilling, although, for some reasons, these may possibly be true. Joining in these contests can be a one-of-a-kind experience that can really be treasured by each kid. However, the subtle trauma and exploitation defeat the greater purpose of these competitions.
Instead of these kids running freely and barefoot in their lawns or playing with their friends who come from different upbringing, these children are lured into a world that appears only glitzy and glamorous on the outside, but creeping with grim and horror from the inside. Some of them sadly even bring these depressing values to adulthood without really realizing it.
3. Kids don’t have a choice
Because of their manipulative parents, most Little Miss kids do not have any choice, no matter how small their decisions are. They don’t get much chance to pick out the things they really like as they are often dictated by their parents. They don’t have the chance to say no to a restrictive diet, and no matter how good they’ve done in the competitions, it’s as if they really have no right asking for the food they want. These kids are deprived of a lot of things because of their parents who thought it’s best to always have everything their way.
They don’t even get to decide if they really want to be in the competition in the first place. A lot of children get signed up for pageants even before turning two years old as parents thought it’s best to “start young.”
2. Sexualization of young girls is tolerable
The primitive forms of child beauty pageants are somehow sensitive for the young contestants, but as time passed, these have evolved into circus-like shows that offer young girls as an attraction. The very first time the industry has been put into bad light was in 2001, when HBO released the documentary Living Dolls: The Making Of A Child Beauty Queen. Since then, until the most recent Toddlers and Tiaras, we have seen countless times how these innocent-looking competitions promote sexual innuendos among young girls.
Swimsuit wears are fine, but to wear tiny two-piece bikinis as these kids are taught with a routine to shake their hips and wink their eyes tell something more disturbing. Sexualization is rampant in these competitions that at one point, a child dressed up to be like the sex icon, Dolly Parton, all propped with skimpy clothes that feature a padded bra. In another instance, one child was seen emulating Julia Robert’s stripper character from Pretty Woman. No wonder, these competitions attract so many pedophiles who feast at the sight of girls instructed to act like adults.
1. Always smile, even if you’re not feeling like it
The most important rule of all — show your teeth and smile to the judges. This is the top rule for all the girls as they are supposed to show that they are confident and happy, even if at times they aren’t. It’s hard to smile when you’re not feeling comfortable, but these girls, apparently, have mastered the art of faking them.
Although it appears not really as a big deal, the truth is it does. This rule instills to these young children that they should always mask their true feelings, especially the unpleasant ones. This is particularly a damaging habit as surface acting can worsen their mood and make them too negatively reserved of their emotions. If this happens, they will have a hard time opening up their bottled emotions and may lead to deeper psychological damage like depression.