When beauty pageants turned into televised events in the 1950s, people recognized these affairs as an opportunity to showcase society’s most physically attractive women. Since then, these pageants have evolved to incorporate their intelligence, talent, personality and their answers from judges’ questions to demonstrate that these women are well-rounded and that they have more depth than what meets the eye.
The problem is that young girls and women don’t need something like a beauty pageant to boost their confidence. If anything, these pageants do the exact opposite because they instill this feeling that they require makeup caked on their faces, a Barbie-like figure when clad in a bikini, and a certain type of personality in order to be perceived as beautiful. Their self-perceptions are at stake, and having younger generations stand up in front of an audience coaxes teenage and adolescent girls to judge each other solely by what’s on the outside. Alison Bryant of All Woman’s Talk says that kids will become insanely obsessed with their image as “by their very nature, beauty pageants for kids are built around judging young girls by their looks.”
We all know that beauty transcends physical appearance, yet the very act of letting young girls parade in front of superficial people shows that society knows otherwise. Kate Pietrasik, a woman who has designed numerous collections of unisex clothing, explains that no intelligent person can deny that these said pageants overly sexualize young girls. They set unrealistic ideals of beauty for girls as well as boys, which doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in teens that are transitioning into womanhood. Not to mention, it also sends an unhealthy message to our sons about what it means to be attractive.
Too many young girls in the United States and other nations participate in pageants for some sort of validation that their looks fit society’s standards of beauty, when the truth is that beauty is completely subjective and isn’t a one-size-fits-all concept. According to Huffington Post, even six-year-olds are worried about their outward appearances, particularly their weight. Every girl exudes radiance in her own unique way, and that is the message that we should be teaching the younger generations to help them combat the standards of mainstream media. All girls are beautiful on the inside and out, no matter what society might dictate.