Children's Beauty Pageants A Girl, Heavily Made Essay

Length: 3 pages Sources: 4 Subject: Children Type: Essay Paper: #34962453 Related Topics: Child Labor, Barbie Doll, Child Support, Children
Excerpt from Essay :

Children's Beauty Pageants

A girl, heavily made up, smiles at the camera. She is wearing a low-cut gown, false eyelashes, and high heels. She is three years old. In most other contexts, we would find this shockingly inappropriate. Yet the girl's mother is waving, smiling, and egging the child on. And worse yet, others are judging the child based upon her ability to convincingly mimic adult sexuality. The girl may have been kept up for long hours the night before so her appearance could be perfected. She will be given a prize or deemed to be invalid almost solely upon her ability to show that she is beautiful in a highly conventional Barbie-doll fashion.

Children's beauty pageants are a subculture of American life but they exemplify a wider social problem, namely the sexualizing of children, particularly girls, at increasingly young ages. As well as in the media, the hyper-sexualization of girls is also reinforced by peers and parents, according to the APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls: "If girls also sexualize themselves when they think of themselves in objectified terms. Psychological researchers have identified self-objectification as a key process whereby girls learn to think of and treat their...

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In a recent Oregon State study, it was found that girls who played with Barbie (regardless of whether it was a career or fashion-themed Barbie) had more limited views of career possibilities for women than girls that played with a gender-neutral toy (Orenstein 2014). Girls who tried on bathing suits in a fitting room, versus gender-neutral clothes performed more poorly on subsequent tests given by researchers and exhibited lower scores on tests of self-esteem (Orenstein 2014).

Solution

Although some have called for a ban upon the pageants, this is not entirely feasible. While it could be argued that children do not give their consent to be exploited in such a manner, the fact remains that children do function in many facets of the entertainment industry as actors, dancers, singers, and other legitimate forms of talent. A more effective solution is encouraging self-policing or creating a culture where the excesses of the pageants are not supported in the culture.

However, regulation at the state level can…

Sources Used in Documents:

References

APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls. APA. 2007. Web. 2 May 2015.

Ornstein, Peggy. "Career Barbie and the sexualization of little girls." Pacific Standard.

13 Mar 2014. Web. 2 May 2015.

Table of child entertainment provisions. DOL. Web. 2 May 2015.


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