Ban Child Beauty Pageants in New Zealand (Pull The Pin!) sign now

Child beauty pageant company Universal Royalty Beauty Pageant is planning to hold ‘Child Beauty Pageants’ in New Zealand in 2012.

Many psychologists and child development authorities agree that child beauty pageants are not in the best interest of healthy child development.

The NZ & Australian College of Psychiatrists have stated that they support a ban of child beauty pageants - "“Direct participation and competition for a beauty prize where infants and girls are objectified and judged against sexualised ideals can have significant mental health and developmental consequences that impact detrimentally on identity, self esteem, and body perception.” (http://www.ranzcp.org/latest-news/child-beauty-pageants-harmful-to-children-s-mental-health.html)

A study conducted by Anna Wonderlich et.al (2005) in the Journal of Treatment and Prevention reported ‘A significant association between childhood beauty pageant participation and increased body dissatisfaction, difficulty trusting interpersonal relationships, and greater impulsive behaviours and indicates a trend toward increased feelings of ineffectiveness.’

Pitting young girls against each other in a competition based on physical appearance and performance is harmful to their wellbeing. At a time when mental health issues around body image and self-esteem are on the rise we have to question a culture that condones pitting young girls against each other in a beauty competition. Pageants say that it is okay to judge and reward our children for their physical beauty. We’re teaching girls that their physical beauty is their currency. We are actively marketing to them an industry that feeds off the insecurities created by a narrow beauty ideal. We’re telling them that to be worthy and a winner, they must fit that narrow ideal. Beauty isn't a talent they can practice, enhance or improve. No other competition for children compares.

Child beauty pageants tell us a lot about the society we live in, in that we see fit to objectify and judge women and girls. To trivialise this issue is to trivialise the status of women and the myriad of mental health issues around body image facing young people today.

Television shows like Toddlers and Tiaras reveal the child exploitation endemic in these pageants. Child advocates around the world have spoken out about the sexualised clothing, suggestive dance moves, hours of grooming and preening required. They have expressed concern about the way pageants provide external validation to girls that their physical appearance is what is most important in being female. They have criticised the way child beauty pageants reinforce stereotypical norms about female beauty. They have also pointed out that adultifying children in pageants and elsewhere invites us to see them as older than they are, which puts them (and other children) at risk of inappropriate treatment.

We call on the Children’s Commissioner Dr Russell Wills and the Minister of Youth Affairs Paula Bennett to consider legislative measures to ban all child beauty pageants, as well as put in place some measures to regulate the beauty industry with regards to a minimum age for harmful/toxic treatments such as waxing and spray tans.

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EscosycloryBy:
Justice, rights and public orderIn:
Petition target:
Government

Petition community:
http://www.facebook.com/PullThePinNZ

Tags

beauty, children, exploitation, fashion, feminism, pageants, sexualisation

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