Horror of the beauty line-up

THERE is something inherently wrong with beauty pageants, particularly when young children are permitted to take part. The Teen Princess UK contest, aimed at 13 to 15-year-olds, was brought to The Comet s attention by a proud parent from Stevenage whose 1

THERE is something inherently wrong with beauty pageants, particularly when young children are permitted to take part.

The Teen Princess UK contest, aimed at 13 to 15-year-olds, was brought to The Comet's attention by a proud parent from Stevenage whose 15-year-old daughter has made it through to the last 50 in the competition.

We didn't run the story but I think we should have declined on principle.

I don't think we should actively promote something which blatantly gives out the message that image is all-important, with the undue, exaggerated focus on superficial beauty resulting in ruining teenagers' self-esteem.


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Beauty pageants are not in the best interests of healthy child development. It's enough of a struggle for young children to find a place for themselves in the world as it is, but to pit them against each other in a contest of looks is cruel and it's repulsive.

Looking at the website for this beauty pageant, young girls go up against each other in a phone vote in heats to determine the nation's favourite.

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Next to each young girl's name and image is the number of votes they have amassed to date. Some teenagers have more than 300, while three 13-year-olds have none. You can't tell me that this will not damage a young girl's self-esteem, even if she promises it won't before she enters.

I think it's up to parents to act responsibly and in their children's best interests and refuse to allow them to enter beauty pageants, no matter how much they protest.

On the website there are also tips for young girls on how to make the most of themselves. It explains how "your face and body are your fortune".

To suggest to someone who may be as young as 13 that it is advisable to "exercise at least three times a week" because "toned, lean bodies look much better on camera" is disgusting.

The website gives other tips on how to look "well-groomed", including dry skin brushing to combat cellulite and using fake tan.

If all else fails the team behind the beauty pageant promises to put youngsters in touch with make-up artists who will be able to give them personal make-up tips.

Before we know it, the UK will be following America's lead and holding renowned beauty contests for babies and toddlers - freak shows in which contestants are made to look like plastic dolls and are dressed completely inappropriately.

If I was a parent I would want to ensure my children hold on to their childhoods for as long as possible, because it doesn't last long.

Children are growing up far too fast these days, trying to act older than they are, and many parents are encouraging it.

Youngsters can be forgiven for wanting to take part in a seemingly glitzy, glamorous competition, but adults should have more sense.

There are those who attempt to defend beauty contests, suggesting it is more than simply about looks and teaches things like poise, for example. But when it comes down to it, it will always be the idea of beauty which makes one contestant better than the rest.

The bottom line for me is that parents who allow their children to enter beauty contests are irresponsible, especially if they actively encourage it.

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