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The world stood in a state of shock. The death news of a 6 year old Colorado girl, who participated in a child beauty pageant was flashed on every news channel. The death of JonBenét led to harsh criticism of child beauty pageants. From parents, to the media, everybody were seen playing the blame game. The episode has brought out the good, the bad and the ugly face of child beauty pageants. Nevertheless, the question still remains, who is to be blamed? The parents for letting their children divert into the world of fashion at a very tender age, the media for creating a hype about such beauty pageants or the organizers for tapping the potential market in child modeling. 

The concept of beauty pageants started way back in the 1920s to boost the tourism sector. The first child beauty pageants in the United States started in the 1960's. Today, the beauty pageants have conveniently seduced the very essence of beauty, confidence and poise to gain its position in the world of fashion. The beauty pageants for children are judged on how well they display the different clothes line, how well they dance and how talented they are. Are the children geared up to match the standards that most beauty pageants outline? Are child beauty pageants harmful? Let us have a look at child beauty pageants pros and cons.

All That Is Good

The competition is tough. The girl child contestant has to walk the ramp to showcase her looks, poise and confidence in different types of costumes; formal wear, sport wear and casual wear. Looks being the prime focus, the face is done up with cakes of foundation and the fake eyelashes are stiffed with mascara. The lips are colored devoid of any natural gloss. The training program and subsequent practice sessions to enter a pageant are grueling. At a very young age the child learns discipline, patience and confidence. The pride of standing and modeling in front of an audience instills self-confidence and a sense of accomplishment. An organizer of child beauty pageant states that pageants should be treated like extra curricular activities, and should not be interfered with academics. The winner of the pageants are usually given a scholarship to finish their collegiate degree. Most of the beauty pageants take part in community service, delivering a social message and help in bringing up funds for charity. 

All That Is Bad

While the discussion on child beauty pageants pros and cons are getting hotter day by day, one can imagine the intensity of destruction, this could do to a child's self esteem. What does a child need? Independence of eating and standing on her own and confidence that her parents love her. Aren't we oblivious to those needs? Child beauty pageants facts are sometimes more horrifying than the most horror movies. The mothers pressurize their children to work on their appearance to look like a barbie doll. The cost of entering a child beauty pageant is quite expensive. The cost includes entry fees, training program, accommodation and hair and make-up services by a professional. The irony of the situation is that, parents prefer to spend money on designer dresses than on the child's education. The whole education system is a failure in the US as the interest of the child is diverted to some irrelevant beauty pageants. This is total betrayal of the trust the child has in her parents to provide a secure future. There is a lot of pressure on children to perform on the stage. If the child happens to lose, frustrations creep in. The frustration leads to depression and other psychological complication. Child beauty pageants effects are disastrous on the child's body and mind. A child's innocence is marred by fake plastic smiles, false eyelashes and polished appearance. Children grow up to think that the only way to earn money is through exploitation of their bodies, which is not true. Children develop eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia to make their bodies look perfect.