Childrearing

School Beauty Pageants: Teaching Kids That Even In Education, It’s Your Appearance That Matters

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child beauty pageantsI’ve been involved in a lot of after-school activities in my day. I was part of the club that ran the school store, which meant baking (and eating) dozens of cookies before and after school. I was a Peer Mediator, which sounds like an awesome idea until you realize that you’re giving young kids an opportunity to get out of class to “work on problems.” My friends would make up arguments so that we’d all have to go talk about it in the stairwell and miss out on our spelling pre-test. Really, I was the queen of extra-curriculars. I did student council, key club, future problem solvers, DECA, dance team, cheerleading, French club, theater. One thing my school never offered though: beauty pageants.

I guess I just wasn’t as lucky as the children at Indian Land Elementary School in South Carolina. Their school holds pageants for the student body where a Warrior King and Queen are crowned to represent the school in functions throughout the year. Because obviously, the school doesn’t need it’s brightest and hardest-working to be the spokesperson. That’s what pretty people are for.

Parents at the school were a little upset when flyers went home for the Warrior Beauty Pageant. As Yahoo’s Shine reports,

“According to the three-page flier, prizes would be awarded at the October 20th pageant for “Best Eyes,” “Best Hair,” “Best Smile,” “Best Dressed,” and “Most Beautiful,” which would be “based upon the contestant’s facial beauty score only.” Boys and girls could also submit photos to win additional awards, and could collect signatures to vie for the “Sweetheart” title. The flier included instructions on how to walk, turn, and pose for the judges.”

Were you thrown off by that “facial beauty” bit as well? When I first read it, I was a tad confused. The judging criteria for the pageant is facial beauty, personality and overall appeal. My guess is that the organizers were at least aware enough of the criticism thrown at beauty pageants that they didn’t want to be seen as promoting eating disorders or weight problems. So they threw in that it’s only “facial” beauty that determines the winner.

As you can imagine, the entire pageant has sent off quite a bit of drama for the school and the community. The school claims that it’s an eager parent who organized the event, which was possibly meant to be a fundraiser for the school but not actually tied to the school at all. At first, the school and district distanced themselves from the pageant, before emailing parents that the whole thing was cancelled. Now, parents of children who were excited for the event are angry. The whole thing is a bit of a mess.

But I think it’s funny that in all of the debating about whether pageants are inappropriate at all, no one has mentioned why they are especially horrible for a school to support. School is the place where appearance shouldn’t matter at all. It’s the place where your intelligence and studying is measured. To give school recognition to a person for simply being born pretty isn’t just a bad idea, it’s awful!

I’m not a fan of pageants. You won’t ever find my daughter involved in one. But normally I wouldn’t try to shut the things down. If another family wants to participate, that’s their choice. However, when it comes to a beauty pageant at an elementary school, I think I would be out front on a picket line. It’s just completely inappropriate in a school setting, where it’s supposed to matter a lot more what’s behind all that “facial beauty.”

(Photo: Jaimie Duplass/Shutterstock)