There is no reason for little girls to partake in these pageants. There is no reason why little girls should be made to look like women (or prostitutes, for that matter). And there is absolutely no sense in making little girls feel like they should be valued only because of their looks. Confidence building? Shmonfidence building. I tend to believe that these activities are more for the parents benefit than for these poor little 'Stepford' girls. I feel like these moms and dads are pushing their children to be what they felt they couldn't ever be. These parents pour innumerable dollars into false teeth, hair extensions, glamorous gowns, makeup, and costumes, all for what? An trophy and an eating disorder? Give me a break.
And now, there is this new breaking news of 'Botox Mom'. Heard of her? Apparently a crazy woman in California has been administering Botox injections to her 8 year old daughter - yes you read correctly, 8 years old. That poor baby. Two questions for this mom: 1) Are you possessed by the devil? and 2) Why exactly does that poor child need Botox?
I am honestly outraged. If you are insecure with your looks... fine, so be it. You should learn to love yourself, we all should, but I can understand being insecure (aren't we all insecure about something?). However, it is NOT appropriate to push your insecurities onto your child. I can imagine that this little girl is going to be another plastic surgery addict, will have disturbingly low self esteem, and will probably be on an episode of 'Intervention' due to self-destructive behaviour such as bulimia.
Maybe that seems a little extreme (we all know I have a tendency to be slightly dramatic), but wouldn't it make sense that this little girl would continue down a path of feeling inadequate? And not just this child, but so many children are being spoon fed directions of how to hate the way they look. So many times in public, I'll hear a kid ask for an ice cream treat or something of that nature, only to have the mom respond "We can't have that, it will make us fat." What?!?!?! Children shouldn't even have to worry about being fat. An appropriate response would be "Maybe next time, sweets are great indulgences on occasion, but lets choose a healthier snack today, like fruit." It's okay to teach your child to be health-conscious, not self-conscious.
This behavior isn't just occurring in the pageant world, it happens all the time. Parents try living vicariously through their children in sports, music, dance, academics, etc. And what winds up happening is these children feel like they will never measure up. Children watch everything we do and listen to the things we say - good and bad. They inherit our self esteem, our language skills (or lack thereof), our habits, our faith, etc. Not everything we teach them is intentional. You can mark my words that my son will never be a wrestler (where cutting weight and weigh-ins are regular part of the 'sport'), and, if I ever have a daughter, she will not be allowed to participate in demeaning activities such as pageants. It's important to let your children find an activity they enjoy, and let them excel to the level they feel comfortable.
Be healthy, in mind and body, for your own sake and for the little eyes watching you. And remember... you're In Good Company.