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Set Up to Fail: Child Beauty Pageants--An Editorial

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If you’re not sure about this, check out this photo gallery: http://www.highglitz.com/gallery/index.html . One can’t help but think about how many pedophiles must follow the circuit or tune in to the TLC reality show "Toddlers and Tiaras".

Perhaps most disturbing of all is the lessons the girls are learning through the pageant process. These may include:

• It’s worthwhile to spend precious resources on this kind of pursuit
• When you fall short in the looks department, you’re a loser

• Future aspirations should center on beauty before other qualities

On a website offering advice for parents called Family Education, Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW, expressed grave concern for children who participate in pageants. Relating “the pain of kids (and their parents) struggling with eating disorders” and hearing “teens beg me to convince their parents to let them get plastic surgery,” Kendrick said the pageants “do a great disservice to the winners, the losers, and all children”(Kendrick1).

This is one place I fear we might be headed: plastic surgery on little ones to help them win pageants. Is it a far-fetched idea? Given the popularity of these events and the media attention they attract, and given that there are next to no controls on the industry (Nussbaum1), it’s only a matter of time.

Indeed, in the article about Britney Campbell, her mom noted that parents routinely give their daughters “an extra jab to plump her lips or lose a wrinkle.” She says, “Everyone is doing it and talking about it”(Pearce1).

What does little Britney say? “I also want a boob and nose job soon, so I can be a star”(Pearce1). Remember, the child is 8.


Pearce, Dulcie. “I’m injecting my eight-year-old with Botox and getting her body waxes so she’ll be a superstar.” The Sun. May 13, 2011. Web. May 15, 2011.

Nussbaum, Kareen. Children and Beauty Pageants. Originally written at Brooklyn College, featured by A Minor Consideration. Web. May 15, 2011. http://www.minorcon.org/pageants.html

Kendrick, Carleton.

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