If done with a positive, encouraging attitude, beauty pageants aren’t that different from sports or other competitions, underneath everything.
Yes, beauty pageants include a lot of makeup, spray tanning, manicures, curled hair, processed hair, fake hair, even fake teeth — called a flipper — props, music and outrageously priced outfits that can be much too skimpy for the ages of the girls wearing them.
But is having an expensive set of expected clothing and accessories really that different than other sports? Football players have uniforms, hockey players have uniforms, soccer and basketball players wear uniforms, as do volleyball players. And those tiny black shorts female players wear these days, even in middle school grades, don’t provide much more coverage than underpants.
Dancers and cheerleaders also wear a lot of makeup with sometimes somewhat revealing costumes. And what gymnasts and figure skaters wear aren’t exactly turtlenecks either. So what are the positives so many people see in these activities that they don’t see in pageants?
Is it the fact there’s definitive physical activity involved? Goals to be set and skills to be practiced, and even if you don’t win you can still be labelled brave, dedicated and inspiring for giving it your all. Because many pageants include talent competition-esque portions where the girls and sometimes boys can show off their routines that took hours of time and dedication to perfect.
Or maybe it’s all in the name. Beauty pageants. Teaching young children that they should allow and even encourage others to judge them based on their looks in the name of competition.
I say that’s not really that much different than sports either. Yes, some children are more aesthetically pleasing to the eye and will probably do better than others.
But not all kids are naturally talented at all sports either. Skills can be developed if you take the hours and hours and hours needed but sometimes the natural talent just isn’t there and they aren’t going to be able to perform as better as other players, no matter how hard they try.
And a lot of sports have tryouts, where the talented players make the cut and the other children are informed they aren’t able to participate because they weren’t good enough — unless there’s a lower grade team. Performing arts are the same way with auditions.
But it doesn’t have to be a negative experience if approached the right way. If you’re looking at it from a purely positive standpoint it should not be about whether the child wins or loses. It doesn’t matter if it’s beauty pageants or basketball it should be about personal commitment and having fun.
For a slightly more realistic approach; there’s always going to be competition in life, there’s always going to be winners and losers. How children are taught to react to the loses is what will define their character in the future — not the activity they were involved in.
Amelia Naismith is the new reporter for the Leduc/Wetaskiwin Pipestone Flyer and writes a regular column for the paper.