Girls as young as five years old are made to undergo 'beauty' treatments like waxing, tanning, even botox. They're told to 'flirt' with the judges and be sexy.
That's the world of US "Universal Royalty Child Beauty Pageant" – and on August 2nd they want to bring their 'show' to Australia.
Child beauty pageants are harmful, and exploitative. That's what psychologists, child development experts, numerous government reports, and even former pageant contestants all say:
"I never thought it was terribly sinister that I was in beauty pageants as a kid… But there was a darker side: The old men scratching their crotches while I performed in skimpy costumes. The latent and confusing fear of being looked at sexually, which continued even into adulthood. And the haunting sense that I had no face when it was not made up for the stage."
The pageants teach girls from a very early age that their worth is based on their appearance. Research shows that reinforcing an emphasis on looks and attractiveness leads to negative body image, disordered eating, depression, anxiety and low self-esteem. A psychologist has spoken out saying they transformed children into "peadophiliac fantasies".
This is wrong, and has to be stopped. I have a five year old niece myself, and I think that our government shouldn't be condoning an organisation that treats girls like this – that blatantly exploits children and spreads a disturbing culture of sexism.
Last year France outlawed child beauty pageants for children under 16 to protect them from being prematurely sexualised. Pageant organisers face jail time and substantial fines for harming children in this way – Denis Napthine should take the lead and do the same.
Please sign my petition asking Premier Denis Napthine to step in and ban damaging US-style "child beauty pageants" from happening in Melbourne.