There comes a time in most girls’ lives when they get into their mom’s makeup, testing out the lipstick, blush, eye shadow and mascara. This usually ends with a comical attempt to look like Mommy and her friends, and we think it’s super cute. It’s also an endearing rite of passage where the mom or a more experienced woman helps teach these young girls how it’s done.
Then there are child beauty pageants, where things can get a little… less… cute. False eyelashes, caked-on makeup, spray tans and costumes that some consider inappropriate for pre-teens suddenly pop up. Tales of verbal abuse, waxing, manicures, and even procedures like Botox and fillers are commonplace. It’s all done in an attempt to make these young girls look… What?… More like women? Like dolls? Drag queens?
Some thinks these pageants are empowering to little girls, helping them build self esteem, encourage their talents, find a community, and prepare them for the larger world. Others find them negative events that exploit children.
Some of images in the slide show come from the book High Glitz by Susan Anderson. This book offers a close-up and intimate look at America’s child beauty pageants, and in turn our society’s obsession with youth, beauty, fame, and fortune. The pictures from that book can be seen as beautiful by some, and creepy or unsettling by others. After that are images from pageants, as well as popular shows like Toddlers & Tiaras.
Check out the child beauty pageant pictures above, then take our poll below: Do you think child beauty pageants are a good thing or a bad thing?