The popular reality show, Toddlers and Tiaras, certainly didn’t put beauty pageants in a good light. The startling reality series took viewers behind the scenes of the shockingly competitive world of child beauty pageants and typically did not present it in a positive light.
So its not surprising that parents make the assumption that child beauty pageants are a bad thing. The main reason is because there are a lot of people shown on these shows who place a huge weight on their children to win.
Of course, this isn’t a good thing, but when parents take their focus off the winning side of child beauty pageants, their children can reap big benefits from these competitions.
A surprising one is how participating in them can actually prevent bullying. Both from making girls not want to bully others, and also from knowing how to react and respond when they are the ones being bullied.
Marc Defang, top shoe designer for the pageant industry, said, “Self confidence and social skills are the most important traits a girl can have to stand up to a bully. Positivity and the ability to speak out her mind will surely help the bullying to fade too. Pageants provide that platform.”
There are 3 main reasons that girls that compete in pageants are less likely to be involved with bullying:
They Develop Confidence – As adults, we know the importance of being confident in your abilities. Having a healthy level of self-confidence helps us achieve our goals, make friends, and all of these will lessen the likelihood of a girl deciding. Building confidence starts at a young age and pageants are a great vehicle for girls to start building self-confidence.
They Build Social Skills – Beauty pageants also help children improve their social skills as they learn how to make new friends with other kids of all personality types. Because of this they can befriend others that are being bullied.
They Learn Good Sportsmanship – Learning how to be a good sport is something every child should be taught how to do. After all, no one ever wins everything in life…we all fail at some point and have to learn how to get back up. Pageants teach children this lesson as not every contestant will go home with a crown. If a girl can keep a smile on her face through a tough situation, like being bullied, in most cases the bully will move on to someone else.
The key benefit pageant girls get is that they don’t let it affect them or bring them down.
Miss World Philippines contestant Kristine Lopez said, “'I would advise the victim to accept the challenge, and just let those bullies bully you, but never ever let those people bring you down. It is you yourself who knows you more than anything else. Stand up, dress up, and show the world what you’ve got and still be a good person and kill them with kindness."
Crystal Horn, the director of National Elite Pageants, is passionate about using her platform to build girls up and deliver a positive pageant experience.
She said, “I always see our contestants encourage one another and build each other up. Whether it's before a contestant steps onto the stage, or even if they are broken-hearted over not being crowned, they almost always hug and support each other. I hope they take this attitude to their school and personal lives after the pageant is over. “
Crystal Horn is also a mom of a girl that has competed in pageants. Her daughter entered Junior High this year and was a victim of bullying. But she developed confidence by competing in pageants and was not as affected by the bullying as most girls her age.
If your child tells you about being bullied, listen calmly and offer comfort and support. Kids are often reluctant to tell adults about bullying because they feel embarrassed and ashamed that it's happening, or worry that their parents will be disappointed, upset, angry, or reactive.
The confidence young girls can get from pageants help them not be as affected by the bullying and feel free to talk about it openly.