Child Beauty Pageants Banned in France – Should America Do the Same?

ImageThere’s a new law that should get the rest of the western world to think about the future of our children. France has decided to ban child beauty pageants on the basis that it is sexualizing minors. If only we could follow in the footsteps of the French, we could do away with Honey Boo Boo and every other television show that is embarrassing America by objectifying young girls. The banning of beauty pageants for minors under 16 is a step in the right direction toward sanity.
For what purpose should a child be on a stage with makeup and an outfit that would be considered bedroom wear for a consenting adult? The new French law states that any children under the age of 16 years can no longer compete in pageants. In the event that you wanted to go against this new law and still try to get your child to get on stage, you would be facing a $40,000 fine and up to two years in prison for anyone who “helps, encourages or tolerates” this kind of competition.
Finally, something is being done about young girls being forced to wear makeup, high heels, and swimsuits in beauty pageants. This is teaching girls how to objectify themselves from a young age, thereby showing them that they must use their bodies rather than intellect. Instead of attempting to teach a usable skill, mothers have been forcing their daughters to try and appear as much like Barbie as possible.
Should America follow in the footsteps of France and also ban child beauty pageants? I think that we should because these types of shows, no matter how much the mothers think their daughters are enjoying it, are a form of child abuse. If we are truly trying to make everyone equal, then objectifying young girls is certainly a step in the wrong direction.
The ban is for anyone under the age of consent and this is because the children often times cannot say no to their parents demands. A 12 year old cannot fully grasp that her mother is putting her on display like a doll rather than a person.
Our society keeps forcing girls to “mature” earlier than ever before because it is what they are taught from an early age. In these competitions girls wear padded bras, pose in provocative positions, and wear wigs which completely transform them into their alter ego. Ever wonder why you see young girls in clothes that are extremely inappropriate for their age? – “We built that.”
The season finale of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo had 3.2 million viewers, which goes to show just how much our society plays into the acceptance of this subject. When we continue to watch programming that objectifies young girls, it allows this industry to grow even larger. Parents want their child to make them famous by winning these pageants, the children might as well be a dog in Westminster.
Child beauty pageants can cause major psychological disorders which could last many years for the girls. Sexualization of young girls leads to negative cognitive and emotional developement which can lead to depression, low self-esteem, and eating disorders. These are problems that adult models can develop and are not typically associated with girls who are in their single digits. (5-9 years)
If you have ever hear the phrase, “the best way to vote is with your wallet,” then let’s apply it to this subject of objectifying young girls by not buying this degrading merchandise. While clothing trends obviously change over the decades, this generation has a lot of provocative options which would be unheard of twenty years ago.
Mothers purchase clothes that have holes in them that show off their daughters skin. Our children wear shirts that say things like “born to wear diamonds” and “I’m too pretty to do homework”. Do you really think that those phrases are appropriate for a 7 year old to wear? And we wonder why girls can develop a princess complex.
Studies have shown that preteen girls dressing in sexualized clothing are perceived as less competent and less moral than those who dress appropriately for their age. The major retail stores are responsible for selling these types of clothes which is why we can alter the course of this objectivity. In a score for amount of clothing which featured sexualizing aspects (writing, revealing cut and material), Abercrombie Kids received a 72% rating making them the worst offender of this clothing line.
Children are not meant to paraded around as real life dolls for the entertainment purposes of their parents or anyone for that matter. Viewers might currently enjoy watching Honey Boo Boo but what about ten years from now? What kind of person will this girl truly be when she is all grown up? We are teaching children that it is okay to use their bodies and not their brains, which is simply wrong.
We should join France in this effort to bring humanity back to the standards that don’t sexualize children for profit. Making child beauty pageants illegal is a very effective way to start this process and hopefully it will encourage a change of culture. Perhaps future young women will be judged for their intellect rather than their spray on tans and makeup. How can society look down on these girls when they get older when we are at fault? Let’s change the current trend to something that doesn’t objectify children, we have the power to do so.