The debate about beauty pageants seems to be back on the agenda as the whole Little Miss America concept arrives in the UK. I have to admit, considering the sexually overt society we now live in I am not surprised by their reappearance nor their popularity. Disappointed and sad YES, surprised NO.
It seems to me the typical classroom today is more in keeping with the atmosphere of a nightclub, as girls place more and more emphasis on external appearance and their ‘hot monitor’ as opposed to being clever or themselves and boys cruise around, laughing at porn on their mobiles and creating ranking systems! Girls are taught the value and importance of looking good from an early age and the eating disorder and self harming epidemic we are now seeing is driven by self hatred and a feeling of not matching up to the so called body perfect.
So how do beauty pageants help?? Parading on stage in a bikini does not feel particularly empowering to me? Nor does being judged and ranked against other women on appearance, or being celebrated for your beauty alone. Pretty shallow messages for our girls, the future female leaders of this country, don’t cha think?
And beauty pageants for 8 years olds? Where to start….. This is not just inappropriate, in the society we live in today, where sexual assault and abuse is in the papers EVERY day and we are having to teach our girls self defence to take care of themselves – it is plain stupid to me. Moreover any Mum who can justify dressing her precious 8 year old daughter like a hooker in full make-up, hair extensions and spray tan, then teach her how to pout and pose like a porn star is seriously deluded and needs a reality check!
I know the argument most cited for this activity is that it builds confidence and is a matter of choice (not necessarily if ya 8 years old and Mummy nurtures you saying it’s a great idea?) but I am not buying it. I agree with the protesters when they say pageants are for parents NOT the girls.
It’s not dissimilar to the argument that pole dancing is a great workout. Yes it may be but so is aerobics, swimming, a session at the gym, a bike ride, circuit training and a good walk!
The issue I have with both pole dancing and pageants is that they ARE harmful to women. They sexualise us and have their roots in a seedy industry and/or a seedy era where respect for women was and is questionable and I cannot help but feel uneasy about them and the messages we are willingly endorsing if we turn a blind eye.