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Child Beauty Contestants Face Dangers
Entrants to child beauty contests may not be aware of the very real dangers they face.
The young faces appear smeared with makeup, the hair and hair extensions teased and shellacked. Some children sport fake tans, false eyelashes, fake teeth (called ‘flippers,’
Lots of people feel deeply concerned when viewing the photos, shot by Los Angeles-based fashion photographer Susan Anderson and recently published in a book called ‘Hig Glitz: The Extravagant World of Child Beauty Pageants’.
Viewers are fully aware the photographs are of very young girls, yet the eerie effect of all the cosmetics and correctives, tends to produce the illusion of child-women far older than their real age.
Several contestants appear to be on the very edge of middle age in appearance. “Freaky,” spluttered one man, standing back to examine the photos at the Kopeikin Gallery, Los Angeles opening. “It’s not right."
As early as 1997 Marcia Summers, a Ball State University educator, said, “Allowing six-year-olds to dress up in evening gowns and parade at beauty pageants is sending the wrong message. Some parents push their youngsters to win only in order to gain prestige”.
Children’s beauty contests have been nearly around since the 1920s. The concern is that placing adult pressures on children, dressed in sophisticated costumes, with strict rehearsal schedules and screaming crowds, (mainly mothers), destroys their childhood and can create long term psychological effects.
“Parents need to look at why they want their children to be in a contest,” says Summers. “Is it because of the need to stroke an ego, or because they want what is best for their child?”
Contestants can range in age from 2 to 10 years old. There are often frequent bouts of hysterical crying and outbursts. Everyone has the single aim -to win, though the question is being asked, ‘Whose dream, or fantasy, is being played out?”
According to psychologycorner website, some contestants have been victims in murder cases, with many child beauty pageant sites acting as a pedagogical site.
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