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Exploitation in Child Beauty Pageants It is 6:00 a.m. on Friday morning, and Sharon is about to awaken her eighteen month old baby, Jessica, to prepare her for a long weekend of make-up, hairspray, and gowns. Jessica is one of the thousands of babies forced into the many children's beauty pageants each year.


“Whether you think child beauty pageants are just a chance for little girls to play dress-up, or a training ground for superficial, self-centered princesses in the making, everyone should agree that sexualizing a 3-year-old little girl is wrong,” CNN’s Melissa Henson wrote.


A child beauty pageant is a beauty contest where contestants are usually under 16 years of age. There does not appear to be reliable statistics about the number of these pageants held each year around the world. They vary in style, and categories may include a talent segment as well as costume and theme wear.


But is there a form that does not involve a gross violation of a child’s rights but still comprises a glimpse of exploitation? Child and teen beauty pageants are so popular in the US and Europe. Each year, there are certain festivities that show off children dressed in gowns and make up while walking down the catwalk.


Exploitation in beauty pageants is an issue of constant debate. A considerable amount of people believe that beauty pageants, particularly child beauty pageants, unfairly exploit contestants in a sexual manner by featuring contestants wearing heavy makeup and age inappropriate costumes.


This exploitation can also lead to high exposure to sexual predators. JonBenet Ramsey, a 5 year old child beauty pageant star, was murdered in 1995. She became popularized through videos of her competing in pageants shown on Fox News Network. In 2006, police finally arrested a suspect.


These children grow up thinking the only way to earn money is through exploitation of their bodies; which is not the case. ... but child beauty pageants are not just playing dress-up and if you ...


Beauty pageants do provide children with an opportunity to gain self esteem, and chances to explore different activities. However, like with any other activity, take football for example, a parent may push the child more than they should. This is why I don't think beauty pageants don't exploit children, but their parents may.


The father of JonBenet Ramsey, the 6-year-old beauty queen who was killed in 1996, now says child pageants are bad for young girls. Mark Fix/ZUMA Press/Corbis


A beauty pageant is the opposite of sexism and exploitation. It is not the pageant itself that some people dislike and claim to be sexist or exploitative. Rather, women who have no inclination or ability to compete, still experience a sense of inferiority at the success of the contestants.