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Beauty Pageants Are Not Child-Friendly

Beauty Pageants Are Not Child-Friendly

Family First NZ says that the protection of our children must come before the commercial exploitation of them, and are calling for proposed child beauty modelling competitions and pageants to be scrapped, and parents to boycott any companies associated with them.

“Catwalk training, photo-posing, and modelling are for adults. Children competing will know that the chief thing they’re being judged on is their body and appearance compared with other children. We want better for our kids. Let children be children and enjoy childhood as much as possible,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“There are no redeeming factors about the proposed child modelling and beauty pageants where little girls and boys compete and are judged using adult measures of so-called ‘beauty’, and where they receive the message that their value is in their appearance and associated with sexualised standards.”

Research points to the dangers when sexualisation leads to girls viewing themselves as objects and having an unhealthy preoccupation with appearance. The pressure can lead to depression, self-harm, anxiety, eating disorders, and poor academic performance, and is harmful to children’s cognitive functioning, physical and mental health, sexuality and beliefs.

“A premature interest in a sexy appearance, an obsession about body image for a five-year-old, and an undermining of the social prohibition against seeing children as sexual objects and sexually attractive, are all huge warning flags that child beauty pageants or modelling competitions are more important than protecting the wellbeing of our children. We must do much more to protect our children from ‘corporate paedophilia’.”

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists’ Faculty of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry said: ”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.”

(The website asks for full body shots, has sections 4-7 and 7-11, and has provocative poses shown for children - unzipping, back against the wall looking up. It also asks for height, chest, waist, and hip size.)

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