Kids beauty pageants have not only survived and thrived, but have exploded into a huge business.
It’s hard to believe but JonBenet Ramsey, probably one of the most famous participants in kids beauty pageants, would have been a grown adult by now. CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather said that looking at footage of JonBenet at pageants is comparable to kiddie porn. One would think of the outrage after the death of JonBenet these kids beauty pageants would have faded away. But instead the opposite is true.
While beauty pageants for adult woman appear to be fading, beauty pageants for kids are flourishing. There are an estimated 5,000 pageants every year with about 250,000 girls participating. With Disney promoting their 26,000 princess retail items, every little girl wants to be a princess.
Stacy Dittrich, a former detective specializing in sex crimes have found that pedophiles will go to great lengths to obtain videos of little girls pulling their shirts down off their shoulders and walking proactively. A report issued by the American Psychological Association claims that parents who put their daughters in pageants are contributing to the sexualization of their children. Nancy Irwin, a Los Angeles based psychotherapist who specializes in working with sexually abused kids said “These little girls are being trained to look and act like sexual bait. When JonBenet was murdered in 1996, people were shocked to see a 6-year old wearing makeup. Market studies have now reported that half of today’s 6 to 9 years old are using lip gloss and lipstick.
With the hit TV show, Toddlers & Tiaras, is now drawing 1.4 million viewers per week. Many young girls start competing as babies. Pageant life for kids can be relentless. One little girl left the pageant at 8 years old at her own insistence. She said she was unable to attend her friends birthday parties, and had to quit her soccer team. With her mom spending thousands of dollars, she was only able to win $500 and a trophy.
Some parents have unreal dreams of their daughters making it to Hollywood, but Keith Lewis the former owner of a Southern California talent agency stated that “The entertainment industry doesn’t go for girls who ae trained to be fake and manipulative, and I’m sorry, but high-glitz girls are like trained monkeys. Many of these pre-schoolers are spray tanned, heavily made up, false teeth to replace missing baby teeth. Their hair is teased and sprayed, and they are taught undeniable sexual moves. What type of society are we that we are sending the wrong type of messages to these young girls?”