The show “Toddlers and Tiaras” has brought pageantry into the limelight. I’ve saw it discussed over and over in the blogosphere. Where I live, pageants are no big thing. They aren’t anything like you see on that show either though.
I took part in my first beauty pageant before I could even walk. I attended at least one pageant a year all the way through sixth grade. I was a confident young girl and I almost always placed well. Once, I remember taking part in a casual pageant. I was in the fourth or fifth grade and I wouldn’t let my mom choose my outfits. The pageant went okay, but I was definitely not as dressed up as the other girls. I probably should have listened to my mom. I came home and my dad, of course, asked how it went. I told him I placed third and he congratulated me. Then, I broke the news that there were only three girls in my division. So, in essence, I placed last. I didn’t care though and it didn’t bother me at all. That was the worst I ever placed, but if it had been a reoccurring event, I’m sure it would have bothered me.
I’m not most girls.
All of my years in pageants didn’t scar me. I don’t cry over them, but then again, I never left one empty handed either.
Now that I have a daughter, that’s what I think about. For each girl that leaves with a trophy and a tiara, there’s one that leaves in tears.
Not only that, but I plan to teach my daughter that “you don’t judge a book by it’s cover!” Isn’t that exactly the message behind a beauty pageant?
If my daughter flat out asks me to be in a pageant, I will absolutely try to talk her out of it. I’ll explain that she is beautiful and I don’t need a pageant judge to tell me so. I will also explain that even if she wins, that means another girl loses. While we do have to teach our children to lose gracefully and to be a good sport, pageantry doesn’t involve skill and it certainly isn’t a sport. Well, I guess walking in heels could be considered a skill. Anyways, what I’m saying is that true beauty is natural. It isn’t something we can practice for hours and then win at, you know?
I just don’t understand why we want to send that kind of message to our children. I want my daughter to know that her natural hair color is beautiful. Her skin color, whether it is pale or dark, it’s beautiful. She doesn’t need dye or a spray on tan to be beautiful. She doesn’t need to wear a “flipper” to cover up her snaggle-tooth grin.
Our girls have enough to worry about in this day and age without being thrown on stage to be judged by their outer beauty. You can’t check out at the grocery store without seeing magazines plastered with air-brushed “perfect” women. You can’t turn on the TV without seeing provocative and sexual shows- even on regular TV. It’s sickening.
I know I can’t protect my little girl forever, but I’m absolutely going to give it my best shot. Saying no to pageants and teaching my daughter to have self confidence is just one step.
What do you think about pageants?
All comments are welcome. I love a healthy discussion, but please be respectful.