The reason this show is so controversial is because of the sexualization of little girls at the beauty pageants. A lot of the outfits and makeup the girls wear make them look far older than they really are. Some of the mothers put fake breast and butt implants under the dresses the children wear.(Pictured Left) Tanning the child’s skin along with bleaching their teeth is a very common practice that is done on the show (Squidoo). One girl, Paisley Dickey, was dressed like a prosti-tot, or prostitute, in an outfit like Julia Roberts from pretty woman (Zaretsky). (Pictured Left)
The main characteristic that the girls are judged upon is beauty. Teaching little girls that looks are everything at such a young age is a terrible thing to instill in a child. This is giving the children a false sense of beauty at a very young age. Carleton Kendrick commented on the toddler beauty pageants saying, “There is enough undue, exaggerated focus on superficial beauty in this culture without children being pitted against each other in a contest of looks.” (Kendrick) Materialism can also form in the child that would come from the overall idea of the beauty pageant (Duff). The world is already obsessed with looks, and having little girls think the same way is not helping the situation. They are learning that outer beauty is everything, while one’s inner beauty gets pushed to the side. (Daisy-Mae Pictured on Right with quote on beauty) This also enforces the stereotypical idea that women are only judged by their beauty. Growing up they will do whatever it takes to look a certain way, which could lead to eating disorders later in their life. Nevertheless, the girls do not even use their natural beauty to compete. They compete with fake teeth, fake hair, fake eyelashes, fake nails, and fake tans.( Pictured below of fake attributes on a child)
The children are learning their self-worth is based on other people’s opinions. If a child does many pageants and barely ever wins, they may grow up thinking they are not beautiful, when in reality they really are (Squidoo). A lot of the mothers put their children in the pageants because they are living their own dream through their child. They never got the chance to do this as a child and want the glory through their children. There are numerous children on the show that have major attitude problems. They win multiple pageants and think they are better than everyone else because of it. The parents of these children do nothing to correct their children of the way they are acting, because to an extent the parent supports the attitude that their child is better than all of the other children.