One of my many concerns when it comes to beauty pageants is what are the long term effects of such a discipline? How would these little beauty queens be when they finally became the adults they so well impersonated during their childhood?
I found a very interesting article where the Sunday Times journalist, Jane Treays revisits beauty pageant queens 13 years after first filming a documentary about their competitions. I really liked the way Treays voiced her concerns cleary as they seemed to be the same as most people’s. She says in her article:
“I wasn’t sure what I would find. Would Brooke and Asia – now nearly 18 – have distorted egos? Would they be permanently damaged by the giddy highs of winning pageants, followed by the inevitable lows that came from losing? And what would they think now of their pushy mothers and grandmothers, who had fussed over their false lashes and driven them hundreds of miles in pursuit of cash and crowns?”
When I was reading the first part of the article, I was nodding in agreement to everything the journalist was saying. It seemed that the article was going straight to the beauty queens bashing that seemed inevitable; the girls would have grown up into preppy, over-confident, manipulative bitches as everyone thought.
But obviously, Asia and Brooke, the two former beauty queens were not like that at all. Brooke became a very modest adult whose dream is to become a television anchor. She became a sporty girl who didn’t fuss over her physical appearance. She apparently blends in with her fellow students at high school very well and has moved out from her parents’ house. After quitting beauty pageants when she was eight, I think she realized her mom wasn’t a great role-model, especially since her mom would use cash bribes to get her daughter back into competition.
“ ‘I got tired of pageants and wanted to move on and do adult things. Change is good,’ she said matter-of-factly. Now a boarder, she says she still loves her family but doesn’t feel that she needs to live with them: ‘The pageants helped me . . . gave me confidence, helped me focus.’”
Maybe she finds that beauty pageants were childish ever since she quit. She realized that playing extreme dress-up wasn’t being an adult. But her participation in beauty pageants did seem to harm her family life, even if it didn’t have a negative effect on her personality.
However, Asia still continues to participate in beauty pageants today. She absolutely loves it, and is braiding in hair pieces during her interview with Treays. Her love life is going well since she has a steady boyfriend. She still shares a room with her two sisters in her mom’s house. But sadly, her parents got a divorce and she cannot contact her dad. “I don’t even have his phone number,” she says to the journalist. But she also insists that a whole lifetime of pageants hasn’t harmed her. She find kids cute when they tackle adult songs and strut their stuff on stage. She even gives classes to the neighborhood girls.
Asia want to become a x-ray technician, get married and have at least 4-5 kids. Brooke on the other hand doesn’t want tots. Maybe it’s because the only small children she was exposed to was during feisty competitions. No matter, she may change her mind, or she may never have wanted to have kids.
As far as I can tell, there are some long term effects of “pagenting.” Thought they aren’t major, they rely in family relationships, their view on them self and their view on other children. It seems that if you have a good attitude and participate in pageants for the right reasons, there’s no real harm in it. But if your parents push you to succeed, as they could do in any sport, that’s when things turn negative.
As for all that make-up, I still say it’s scary. But the pageant queens just smile and say that we can’t understand. It’s just a dressing up like mommy, like we all do, but to the extreme. and apparently, it’s also a good show. Apparently.