Kids' Beauty Pageants: Good or Bad

Updated on June 21, 2018
My oldest granddaughter loves beauty pageants, but her sister doesn't.
My oldest granddaughter loves beauty pageants, but her sister doesn't. | Source

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.

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."

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.

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.

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 on Child Pageants

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.

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.

Questions & Answers

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      • profile image

        someone 

        6 weeks ago

        true

      • profile image

        Brianna 

        4 years ago

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

      • profile image

        crimson 

        5 years ago

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

      • profile image

        Agunk 

        5 years ago

        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.

      • profile image

        Jeeson 

        5 years ago

        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.

      • profile image

        Person 

        6 years ago

        They are stupod and very harmful

      • profile image

        crystal 

        6 years ago

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

      • profile image

        Aj 

        6 years ago

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

      • profile image

        .... 

        6 years ago

        so are they good or bad?

      • profile image

        ?????????? 

        6 years ago

        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.

      • profile image

        birdy 

        6 years ago

        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

      • profile image

        Laze 

        6 years ago

        If you are hot be in one

      • pstraubie48 profile image

        Patricia Scott 

        6 years ago from sunny Florida

        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

      • profile image

        Bhwade 

        6 years ago

        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.

      • profile image

        bob 

        6 years ago

        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

      • profile image

        blah 

        6 years ago

        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

      • profile image

        sierra 

        6 years ago

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

      • profile image

        can'tdecide! 

        6 years ago

        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!

      • profile image

        beautyrape 

        7 years ago

        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.

      • profile image

        sara 

        7 years ago

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

      • profile image

        NayNay 

        7 years ago

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

      • profile image

        Kristie 

        7 years ago

        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.

      • profile image

        kendal 

        7 years ago

        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.

      • habee profile imageAUTHOR

        Holle Abee 

        7 years ago from Georgia

        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.

      • profile image

        patti 

        7 years ago

        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.

      • habee profile imageAUTHOR

        Holle Abee 

        7 years ago from Georgia

        Thanks a bunch!!

      • profile image

        Ah ahm hoppy! 

        7 years ago

        U r soooo nice!

      • habee profile imageAUTHOR

        Holle Abee 

        7 years ago from Georgia

        Thanks, Lace!

        Tsmog - thanks! I'm honored!

      • habee profile imageAUTHOR

        Holle Abee 

        7 years ago from Georgia

        Too true, Speechwriter!

      • tsmog profile image

        Tim Mitchell 

        7 years ago from Escondido, CA

        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.

      • profile image

        full lace wigs 

        7 years ago

        I agree,too.Good luck to you all.

      • profile image

        speechwriter 

        7 years ago

        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..:)

      • habee profile imageAUTHOR

        Holle Abee 

        7 years ago from Georgia

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

      • habee profile imageAUTHOR

        Holle Abee 

        7 years ago from Georgia

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

      • habee profile imageAUTHOR

        Holle Abee 

        7 years ago from Georgia

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

      • habee profile imageAUTHOR

        Holle Abee 

        7 years ago from Georgia

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

      • habee profile imageAUTHOR

        Holle Abee 

        7 years ago from Georgia

        Good for you, Pageant Girl!

      • profile image

        synnorea lewis 

        7 years ago

        i think that it is good because i love pageants

      • profile image

        L RoxUrSoxoff8) 

        7 years ago

        i want to be in PAGENT BUT IVE NEVER BEEN IN ONE AND I WANT TO BUT MY PARENTS DONT WANT TO DRIVE SOOOOOOO LONG JUST TO GET TO A PLACE BUT I WISH THEY CAN HAVE IT SOMEWHERE THAT THEY WOULD BE ABLE TO TAKE ME TO!!!!!!!!!!!! 8)

      • profile image

        Rosa 

        7 years ago

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

      • JLClose profile image

        JLClose 

        7 years ago from OreGONE

        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.

      • profile image

        Pageant Girl 

        7 years ago

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

      • habee profile imageAUTHOR

        Holle Abee 

        7 years ago from Georgia

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

      • profile image

        youngjuciepink 

        7 years ago

        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

      • habee profile imageAUTHOR

        Holle Abee 

        7 years ago from Georgia

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

      • habee profile imageAUTHOR

        Holle Abee 

        7 years ago from Georgia

        Julie, I totally agree!

      • Shyla's Nana profile image

        Shyla's Nana 

        7 years ago

        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 profile image

        Julie2 

        7 years ago from New York City

        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.

      • habee profile imageAUTHOR

        Holle Abee 

        7 years ago from Georgia

        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?

      • profile image

        thatshortgirl 

        7 years ago

        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

      • habee profile imageAUTHOR

        Holle Abee 

        8 years ago from Georgia

        Cartloop, sorry you feel that way.

        Lederpuschen, thanks for your kind words!

      • Lederpuschen profile image

        Lederpuschen 

        8 years ago from Germany

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

        Kind regards from Germany

      • cartloop profile image

        cartloop 

        8 years ago from Sacramento

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

      • habee profile imageAUTHOR

        Holle Abee 

        8 years ago from Georgia

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

      • Ryan Clinton profile image

        Ryan Clinton 

        8 years ago from room17art@yahoo.com

        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.

      • habee profile imageAUTHOR

        Holle Abee 

        8 years ago from Georgia

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

      • profile image

        MissDevine 

        8 years ago

        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.

      • habee profile imageAUTHOR

        Holle Abee 

        8 years ago from Georgia

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

      • profile image

        Kippy 

        8 years ago

        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.

      • habee profile imageAUTHOR

        Holle Abee 

        8 years ago from Georgia

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

      • Chaotic Chica profile image

        Chaotic Chica 

        8 years ago

        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

      • habee profile imageAUTHOR

        Holle Abee 

        8 years ago from Georgia

        Thanks a bunch, Brittney!

      • profile image

        Brittney Ramsey 

        8 years ago

        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

        love

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

      • habee profile imageAUTHOR

        Holle Abee 

        8 years ago from Georgia

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

      • profile image

        Amanda 

        8 years ago

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

      • habee profile imageAUTHOR

        Holle Abee 

        8 years ago from Georgia

        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!

      • profile image

        horselover_7355 

        8 years ago

        '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.

      • habee profile imageAUTHOR

        Holle Abee 

        8 years ago from Georgia

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

      • sheila b. profile image

        sheila b. 

        8 years ago

        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.

      • habee profile imageAUTHOR

        Holle Abee 

        8 years ago from Georgia

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

      • profile image

        loveyoulexi ;) 

        8 years ago

        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.

      • habee profile imageAUTHOR

        Holle Abee 

        8 years ago from Georgia

        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!

      • profile image

        livi 

        8 years ago

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

      • habee profile imageAUTHOR

        Holle Abee 

        9 years ago from Georgia

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

      • Imageflair profile image

        Imageflair 

        9 years ago from Singapore

        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.

        https://hubpages.com/t/fa3df

      • habee profile imageAUTHOR

        Holle Abee 

        9 years ago from Georgia

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

      • profile image

        lizz 

        9 years ago

        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..

      • habee profile imageAUTHOR

        Holle Abee 

        9 years ago from Georgia

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

      • Dona Rosa profile image

        Dona Rosa 

        9 years ago from Tennessee

        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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