Brits are pointing an angry finger at American parents for championing child beauty pageants for little boys. When discussing the psychological effects of child beauty pageants, it is always assumed that only little girls are involved. Not anymore.
UK Blames US for Pageant Craze Involving Tom, Dick and Harry
“He won just because he was cute. He didn’t show any talent and had no ability on the catwalk whatsoever,” quotes the Daily Mail a losing contestant’s mom. Begrudging a six year old boy his win over her 11 or 12-year old son, she has a lot of criticism for the child beauty pageants judges. The magazine is not nearly as concerned with her son’s future modeling chances it is with the idea that beauty pageants for little boys are – in their words – a “disturbing trend” from the U.S.
Beauty Pageants for Little Boys
Promising every participant a “crown and trophy,” Sunburst entices parents to have the future model they are raising discovered. In this case, parents of boys from zero to three years of age are welcome to apply. Although the promoters “prefer no makeup on 6 years and under,” it is not prohibited.
The All American Girl & Boy Pageant is open to boys aged two to 19, with the 13 to 19 years old going into the teen boys group. The carrot dangled before an eager parent is the suggestion that “many contestants have appeared on National TV Commercials.” Add to this the idea that New York’s major talent agencies also show an interest in contestants, and it makes sense to the average stage mom to let junior compete for titles such as ‘grand supreme baby prince.’
Boys or Girls Who Compete in a Sport Traditionally Associated with the Opposite Sex are … normal!
While the adverse psychological effects of child beauty pageants have been discussed for many years – and have been ignored by stage moms and dads for roughly the same period of time – there is no reason to assume that boys are unsuited for the catwalk. Kaplan & Sadock’s Concise Textbook of Clinical Psychiatry points out that it is not as unusual as a parent may believe for a boy to decline participation in traditionally male activities.
He may choose (instead) to participate in “non-athletic activities or to occasionally to role play as a girl … or dress up in girl’s or women’s costumes.” This is not indicative of a gender identity disorder.
Thus, our British friends might be caught up in their own gender stereotyping. In the alternative, they may simply find something fundamentally distasteful about a little boy prancing on stage with highlights in his hair and a hip bump that would do a rapper from the ‘hood proud, which we in the U.S. may have simply grown accustomed to.