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Are Kids' Beauty Pageants Good or Bad?

My granddaughters, my grandsons, and my niece absolutely love being in pageants.

My oldest granddaughter loves beauty pageants, but her sister doesn't.

My oldest granddaughter loves beauty pageants, but her sister doesn't.

Child Pageants—Glitz Pageants

Have you ever been involved with child pageants? You know—beauty pageants for kids. Maybe you're one of those people who thinks beauty pageants are bad for the contestants, or maybe you think they're okay for older girls, but that they're not okay for young children.

There has been a debate raging for years about beauty pageants, especially about entering young children in glitz pageants. Many people think they're evil, claiming that the beauty pageants are more for the parents than for the children. Aficionados swear that their kids love doing the pageants. So, who's telling the truth, and more importantly, are child pageants good or bad?

Child Pageants Can Be Good

Actually, there's some veracity on both sides of the debate. My granddaughter and niece have been doing child pageants for several years, and they both love pageantry. My granddaughter started when she was two. She won her very first beauty pageant, which started us on the road to other successes. She's won many times, and she's lost several times, but she always enjoyed the process.

Fun and Friendships

For one thing, she absolutely loves her pageant dresses. In fact, once the beauty pageant is over, she doesn't want to take the dress off. She also enjoys playing with the other little girls backstage and has made several friends that way. She likes being on stage, too. In fact, when she was younger, we had a problem getting her OFF the stage. She would have been perfectly happy to frolic on the stage for the duration of the baby pageant.

I'll be the first to admit, she doesn't care for the makeup session. It was a real problem when she was two. She just didn't want to sit still that long. As she got a little older, however, she understood more about the necessity of the makeup and began to enjoy "getting on her pageant face."


Participating Is the Child's Choice

My granddaughter and niece are never in beauty pageants unless they want to be. When we see an interesting pageant, we tell the girls about it and ask if they'd like to compete. They almost always answer with an enthusiastic "yes!", but when they don't, we don't put them in the pageant. If we go too long between beauty pageants, they nag us about doing another one.

On the other hand, one of my younger granddaughters hates being in pageants. She asked us if she could be in one, so we allowed her to compete. She didn't enjoy it, however, so she never competed again. She's very shy, and being in front of so many people onstage made her uncomfortable. Beauty pageants aren't for everyone!


Child Pageants Can Also Be Bad

On the flip side, I can understand why child beauty pageants get a bad rap sometimes. I've seen a few moms backstage who were awful. The kids did not want to be in the beauty pageant, and it was obvious, but the moms threatened and intimidated them into going on stage. When the kids didn't do well, the moms were angry with them. What did they expect? Stage personality is important in the total score, and the judges can tell if a child is happy or not.

Bad Losers

Some pageantry moms and grandmoms are terrible losers. They blame everyone else when their kids don't win, instead of using the experience as a learning tool for sportsmanship. Kids are smart, and they absorb everything. They quickly pick up on the negatives of child beauty pageants. Or should I say on the negatives of bad behavior of some moms involved with child beauty pageants.

When my granddaughter has lost in beauty pageants, we always congratulate the winners. She usually runs up to the winner and gives her a big hug! This is the kind of adult we want her to grow into. We never dwell on a loss. We just discuss what we might want to do differently in future beauty pageants.

Bad Winners

Believe it or not, there are also bad winners at beauty pageants. Some moms absolutely gloat when their kids win. This isn't attractive, either. Being a bad winner is just as bad as being a bad loser.

The Final Verdict: It Depends

My final verdict on beauty pageants is that it depends on the individual child and on the parent's attitude. If the child wants to compete, and the parent can handle defeat without showing anger or frustration, then I think child pageants are a nice way to spend a few hours.

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Read More From Bellatory

Pageantry can be a lot of fun. Most larger child pageants have a fun, upbeat atmosphere. These beauty pageants often sell snacks, toys, and pageant jewelry. If it's a baby pageant, they'll often offer baby toys for sale. Also, lots of child beauty pageants have costumed characters there to help entertain the kids. The child contestants enjoy playing with each other, and sometimes they wind up being good friends.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


someone on October 28, 2018:


Brianna on February 19, 2014:

I agree with you pageants do have positive and negative facts, and people can have their opininions. Great job!

crimson on December 11, 2013:

SO TRUE!!!!!!!!!!!!

Agunk on August 11, 2013:

Both are a waste of life they teach attention seknieg behavior and give false pride true pride comes from a job well done that helps family, friends, and humanity to live better, more spiritual lives (I'm not christian or any other faith by the way). These children should be out connecting with nature, connecting with friends in creative play, and learning how to make and do things My two cents.

Jeeson on August 05, 2013:

I think what you published was atllaucy very reasonable.But, think on this, what if you added a little information?I mean, I don't wish to tell you how to run your blog, but suppose you added a headline that makes people desire more? I mean Formatting Your Beauty Pageant Program Book is a little plain. You ought to peek at Yahoo's home page and watch how they write post headlines to get people to click. You might add a related video or a related picture or two to get people interested about what you've written. Just my opinion, it might make your blog a little bit more interesting.

Person on March 29, 2012:

They are stupod and very harmful

crystal on March 13, 2012:

i think they are great if the child wants to do it

Aj on March 09, 2012:

I personally think that Beauty Contest are horrible.75% reported girls suffer with low self-esteem and potially harmful activites

.... on February 06, 2012:

so are they good or bad?

?????????? on February 01, 2012:

Why would you all subject your kids to this nonsense??????? Some of them might not like you are doing to them. Think before you act.

birdy on January 31, 2012:

With Sports, you can improve by practicing. How can you improve something that is genetic like looks without getting surgery or putting on exess makeup

Laze on January 30, 2012:

If you are hot be in one

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on January 13, 2012:

habee....thanks for sharing this....i agree with your thinking

...they can have a positive or negative effect depending on how the ADULTS handle it. If the child is allowed, allowed, to take over, he or she will. So it is about balance...the parent assumes the role of PARENT and the child is the child. If the child does not want to participate, then that family will be fighting a losing battle.

as far as all of the craziness of letting a child be rude to those helping out including the parent, that is nuts!!! it is never okay to let a child behave the way some of the children do at some of the pageants i have been to. a family that approaches pageants with a healthy attitude will have children with healthy attitudes toward the events...thanks again for sharing thisl

Bhwade on January 11, 2012:

I am watching toddlers and tiaras and I think it is just awful that the parents bribe these kids to get up on the stage and follow the parents routine as the dumb ass parent is down in the audience doing the routine as the kid is on the stage watching them and following whsat they have to do? I think the Parent that put their 2 to 10 year old on the stage and the Parents have to hold the babies in their arms as they sleep. The parents are feeding the kids pixie sticks and mountain dew soda to keep them up. I saw one.ittle 2 year old that was the boss of her parents. she all but slapped their faces I have never in my 60 years on this earth ever seen anything Ike this family, the family let this little girl talk to them anyway she wanted to, they thought it was cute, well this little Brenna is going to be in the news in a few years, were she has beat them to death for money or drugs. The little was not pretty at all. When the judge said she was not that pretty, the little girl said to her parents the judges were stupid and did not know what they were looking at. This just made me sick to see this. The pagent was somewhere in Louisiana and the kids had to dress in Mardi Grais costumes I felt like taking the parents of this child and beat the hell out of them and take that 3 year old fand the parents to my home for 1 month and when they got back together they would be a totally different home.

bob on December 31, 2011:

i want to say that beauty pageants can also cause mistrust between the child and parent based on who does them and how they compete

blah on December 31, 2011:

i have a research paper 2! omg! i love to watch pageants but i know they are wrong. can'tdecide! you should go with the they are bad...cuz they are. even though they are really funny and i love to watch them

sierra on December 23, 2011:

I totally agree with you! Very nice and well written! :)

can'tdecide! on December 15, 2011:

omg! Im doing a research paper too and i cant figure out if i think they are ok. first i found something i thought was disgusting then i read this!

beautyrape on December 04, 2011:

really? beauty pageants are so hurtful to children. it takes away the innocence every child comes with. What is the point of making your child believe happiness only comes through beauty. When children get older, they are going to think the only way to gain attention is to be skinny. But what happens when they get acne, or need braces? Are they going to be perfectly okay with it after having flawless innocent skin? What then?

Sorry, but i don't agree with beauty pageants. I'm doing a research paper on beauty pageants, and why i think they're wrong.

sara on October 25, 2011:

its good balanced response also it helped for my gcse course thanks

NayNay on October 11, 2011:

its good for the child to but at the same time how we noe the child wants this look

Kristie on September 29, 2011:

Beauty pageants can be bad and they can be good. I think that as long as you are teaching your child that it is ok to win and ok to lose, then you can put them in pageants. Just make sure they they are a good sport no matter what.

kendal on September 27, 2011:

I think that pageants can be good for children. Yes, there are people who over do it with botox, but their are parents who inject steriods into their children for sports. Some of the moms get crazy and force their children to compete, but that happens in other sports too. The fact is that beauty pageants are very similar to most recreational sports and it is as good or as bad as the parent makes it for the child. In this case I think you guys are teaching your children sportsmanship and confidence. I think you all are doing a great job.

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on June 29, 2011:

Patti, what about pageants that are done for charities? Those are our favorites! And BTW, we're taking a very nice family vacation - a week on a gorgeous island in a 7-bedroom house with a private pool, private dock, and a hot tub.

patti on June 23, 2011:

do u think that u r living a dream u never had thru your daughter? its all about money,4 the people putting the pageant on.with all the money u spend on the pageant u could take a very nice family holiday.

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on May 28, 2011:

Thanks a bunch!!

Ah ahm hoppy! on May 17, 2011:

U r soooo nice!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on May 02, 2011:

Thanks, Lace!

Tsmog - thanks! I'm honored!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on May 02, 2011:

Too true, Speechwriter!

Tim Mitchell from Escondido, CA on March 28, 2011:

WOW! This article is intriguing for me. I just added your hub to follow and discovered this (I am interested in reading your writing articles). A co-workers grand daughter is beginning the pageantry scene. She has won a couple I believe. I like that you offered the good, the bad, and a touch of the ugly.

Any hoot, keeping at task, she was telling me about a practice makeup session at a friend's home. She kept giggling about how her grand daughter kept saying things like that is a nice swing set outside, look at that swimming pool or that is a big ball. Listening I didn't know how to react. One side of me said, "let the kid play for awhile" while the other side giggled along.

Not being a parent I don't know the norms of a 3 year old and I can't really share like experiences. This article has helped to my eye be more open and empathetic to both child and parent.

full lace wigs on March 21, 2011:

I agree,too.Good luck to you all.

speechwriter on March 19, 2011:

you know, pageants arent always about the glitz and glam but that's what everybody makes them outto be. competitors trying to win a competition on how beautiful and talented they are. but they also brind out personality and confidence. it does depend on what take you have on it..:)

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on March 16, 2011:

That's great, Synnorea! Best of luck to you!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on March 16, 2011:

LRox, maybe one will come to your area soon. I'll cross my fingers!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on March 16, 2011:

Rosa, I saw one recently that was awarding $10,000!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on March 16, 2011:

Exactly, JL. Kids have to really enjoy the pageants. If they don't, they shouldn't be forced to compete!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on March 15, 2011:

Good for you, Pageant Girl!

synnorea lewis on March 14, 2011:

i think that it is good because i love pageants

L RoxUrSoxoff8) on March 08, 2011:


Rosa on March 05, 2011:

exacally how much money can a child pageant make in a competion?

JLClose from OreGONE on February 17, 2011:

Interesting read. Lexi is adorable. :0) I am still not sure where I stand in the pageant debate, but I have a close friend who has been putting her very outgoing and energetic 3 year old in pageants, and the girl has been loving it so far. I think you're totally right--it depends on the individual child and the parent.

Pageant Girl on February 17, 2011:

I think pageant are good, they promote ALOT of good things and i love them too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on February 04, 2011:

I think I'd find out what the other girls are wearing!

youngjuciepink on January 17, 2011:

i have one question for you if you go to a classy party should your child wear a classy dress by jucie couture or a really old dress that you bought in 2000

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on January 13, 2011:

Nana, sounds like she'd love pageants. My granddaughters do!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on January 12, 2011:

Julie, I totally agree!

Shyla's Nana on January 11, 2011:

Thank you for writing this. I have a granddaughter that is my world. I have talked to my son and daughter-in-law about entering my granddaughter in pageants. They would not force her to enter if she did not want to. She will be 2 in a few months and she hams it up all the time. She loves dressing up and wearing bows. She will prance around. She tickled me half to death this Christmas as she would discard the presents and opt to wear the ribbons around her neck. It was pricless. Anyway, thanks again for posting this. Take care.

Julie2 from New York City on January 06, 2011:

Sometimes I feel like the parent might want it more then the child. If that is the case I do not agree with it.

If the child actually enjoys it like any other activity then its good.

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on December 27, 2010:

Shorty, there are also natural pageants, where you wear little if any makeup and regular clothes. Maybe your parents would be more interested in that type?

thatshortgirl on December 26, 2010:

I want to enter a beauty pageant because I think it would be fun, and would help me be a biy more confident. But my parents think they are horrible because of what they see pageants as. They think they are horrible, they waste money, and everyone in pageants is horrible.

And also, since some of you people think people say, 'oh you are so pretty, but you need makeup to be prettier' makeup and all the other pageant gear enhaces a persons beauty, it doesn't make them fake

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on December 10, 2010:

Cartloop, sorry you feel that way.

Lederpuschen, thanks for your kind words!

Lederpuschen from Germany on December 07, 2010:

very beautiful site for a beautiful family... :)

Kind regards from Germany

cartloop from Sacramento on November 10, 2010:

I still think these are a bad idea and instill the wrong kind of values in children.

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on October 26, 2010:

Right, Ryan - when it's for the moms instead of for the kids, problems arise.

Ryan Clinton from on October 09, 2010:

My son was in a beauty contest as a child. It was a positive experience but mostly I worry about the focus on adult like beauty in young, very young girls. Sometimes moms get obsessed with this. We don't wat to over sexualize young girls. Thanks for great info.

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on September 24, 2010:

I agree - it should be the child's choice!

MissDevine on September 19, 2010:

Wow. Beauty pageants sound nice, but still. Some mothers go WAY. TOO. FAR. They practically force their children to do it. I don't think that that's good attidude to go into a pageant with.

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on September 07, 2010:

Kippy, I agree - some pageant moms, dads, and grandmothers are terrible! How do you feel about natural pageants?

Kippy on September 05, 2010:

Maybe these girls are making friends, gaining confidence, and having fun, but some of the stuff I've seen parents force them into is ridiculous. An eight year old was put on a fruit-only diet for a week so she wouldn't gain weight and end up being too big for her dress. What kind of message does that send to a kid (who, by the way, is growing every day and will continue to grow until after puberty)?

I told my seven year old sister about this when we happened to be watching Toddlers in Tiaras. I told her about how these girls are made to wear fake hair, fake eye lashes, fake teeth, etc. She told me that sounds scary and that she would hate to be a part of anything like that, and begged me to never sign her up. Perhaps this show paints pageants in a bad light, but it looks to me like everybody's happy (in a brainwashed sort of way). Like, "forcing our little girls to be mindless dolls is just a wonderful way to spend the day tralalalala".

I don't expect to change anyone's minds and stop people from going, but at times you have to admit that people go way too far. Diets and fake everything? Yeah, that's how to give a girl the confidence to go far.

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on June 13, 2010:

Chica, your comments are much appreciated! Your girls sound like my granddaughters!

Chaotic Chica on June 11, 2010:

I appreciate this hub! My girls love the getting 'gussied up' and fussed over aspect and enjoy hanging out backstage with their friends, and making new ones admiring the other dresses. We only do the one local natural pageant but lately the oldest has started asking about doing more. I am not a pageant mom by any means and would rather be playing in oil working on my motorcycle than get up in front of a bunch of people judging my looks but my girls are girly girls (I swear they get if from their father's family!) and I like how this one is part of a community festival and it gets them involved. I still have a LOT to learn about doing their hair (I told you I'm not very girly) and I'm hoping to do better this year but they don't mind-they just love the dresses and the attention! LOL

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on May 26, 2010:

Thanks a bunch, Brittney!

Brittney Ramsey on May 26, 2010:

I think Beauty pageants are great for little girls they love it you can see it i watch it all the time on t.v. i think there great and they should so keep going for there dreams and if they dont win.. then that's something they have to work harder at but i think they love it you go girl keep doing what you do best sweatheart


Britters Lexi..!! p.s. your the best.! ;-)

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on May 10, 2010:

Amanda, sorry about the bad experience. You have to go in with the right mindset.

Amanda on May 10, 2010:

Beauty pageants totally hurt girls. when i had a reletive go into a beauty pageant, she came home crying.

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on May 04, 2010:

I don't tell her that - she knows what makeup is for. "Getting pretty" is her term, not mine. You know, competition, sadly, is part of real life. Kids are judged on their intellect, artistic abilities, study skills, and athletic skills all the time. I just don't see any difference between pageants and baseball. In sports, kids wear special gear to help them be successful, so I think of makeup, etc. for a pageant the same way. Of course, the girls also do natural pageants where they wear no makeup and compete in jeans and a tee shirt. I actually prefer these because it's easier on me, but that's not the kind of pageants they enjoy. They LOVE dressing up and putting on makeup! Our girls know they're beautiful without makeup, however. It's just part of the game of "dressup" to them. All three girls are good students and well rounded, with lots of different interests and hobbies. Pageants is just one of them. Shame on you for being so judgmental about people you don't even know!

horselover_7355 on May 04, 2010:

'she understood more about the necessity of the makeup and began to enjoy "getting pretty." '

This is the part that bothers me the most. What is your child supposed to think when you tell them it's time to get pretty? I know that my mother would tell me that and all I thought was....I'm not pretty? I believe it's important to build self-esteem through positive reinforcement of natural beauty, and natural talents. I think it's disgusting that your letting girls that young think they need make-up to look good. Shame on you.

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on May 03, 2010:

Thanks for the update, Sheila. Wow, so they still haven't found Haleigh.

sheila b. on May 01, 2010:

I agree with you - there's nothing inherently wrong with children's pageants. And sure, there are some parents who get too involved, but the same happens when parents have their children in sports or any other competitive venue. And to answer your question about the investigation - Misty's friend, just this past week, got 15 years (if I remember correctly) for her involvement in the drug dealing. Misty is the step-mother. This girlfriend is a cousin of Haleigh's father. So - Misty now knows she'd looking at 15 years, at least, for her drug dealing. Will this encourage her to finally tell the truth, or discourage her? Other than that, there's nothing else new.

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 14, 2010:

Who is this?? Glad you stopped for a visit!!

loveyoulexi ;) on April 14, 2010:

We all love our little princess Lexi.

For me no matter what she is beatiful. ;)

&+ Adorablee x

I am 11 and i loveee beaty peagents !

Everyone thinks it is bad because of the fake tans.

But its not really because it makes us kids happy.

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on February 28, 2010:

We had to because it was for a glitz pageant - all the other contestants entered enhanced pics, so to be competitive, we had to. Many pageants now are getting away from these and more into natural pics, thank goodness!

livi on February 28, 2010:

can just ask how long yous spent editing that picture of her? and why you would have to?

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on December 08, 2009:

I agree. Our girls love them! Thanks for reading.

Imageflair from Singapore on December 08, 2009:

I feel that pageants are a way for young children to gain self confidence as well as have fun but it must be something that the child wants and not forced upon by the parents. Self image development and etiquette are basics needed to support your child in winning those pageants and coming out a winner thoughout everything else in life. My company teaches those things and more.

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on November 26, 2009:

Lizz, I never thought about that! I removed the pic. Thanks!

lizz on November 24, 2009:

I'm sorry but that picture sleeping with her tanned legs, I would think would appeal to some of the sickos out there...I am an over 50 woman who majored in Early Childhood Teaching and I love kids...just think pics like that are dangerous..

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on October 01, 2009:

Yes, just like everything else, pageants include the good and the bad.

Dona Rosa from Tennessee on September 10, 2009:

I agree. This is like nearly any child activity: "it depends on the individual child and on the parent's attitude" - good Hub info for both side of the fence :)

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