Can Beauty Contests Hurt Your Child's Mental Health?

First published: 18 September 2022 @ 6:00 pm

Beauty contests and mental health, unfortunately, rarely go hand in hand.

There are many examples of children being raised in a narcissistic environment where people value beauty above all else.

They encourage these children to view themselves as the best looking and prettiest, which can have an extremely negative impact on their mental health.

This is one reason why so many adults suffer from eating disorders, depression, and other psychological disorders.

Why Beauty Contest May Cause Problems

Beauty contests have become a prominent part of our culture.

Not only do they occur at regular intervals during the year, but they are also becoming more and more popular with younger girls and boys.

There are many reasons this may be problematic. Here are just a few:

1. Low Self-Esteem

Many children who take part in beauty contests suffer from low self-esteem. This is especially true if they are taking part in pageants that are highly critical of their appearance.

They may have been criticized by family members and peers, who have told them they aren’t pretty enough or thin enough to be beautiful.

This can cause a tremendous amount of psychological distress and lead to low self-esteem, which can ultimately result in anxiety and depression.

2. Negative Body Image

Some girls enter beauty contests to obtain a new wardrobe or to feel better about themselves after being bullied at school or home.

They may use the contest as an opportunity to express their femininity and learn how to act like a “girl.”

Unfortunately, this doesn’t always go well for them. In fact, it can lead to low self-esteem and anxiety about body image issues.

This can also cause emotional problems, including depression, eating disorders, and even suicide attempts.

Can Beauty Contest Hurt Your Child's Mental Health?

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3. Loneliness and Social Isolation

Many young girls will enter beauty contests in order to make friends with other contestants. However, this is often not the case, as they spend most of their time in isolation.

People often criticize beauty contestants for their appearance and compare them to each other.

As a result, participants don’t feel comfortable making friends with other girls, as they see them as “competitors”.

This can lead to loneliness and isolation, which can cause anxiety and depression.

4. Eating Disorders

Many young girls will enter beauty contests in order to lose weight or appear thinner than they really are.

This is a very common problem in this industry.

Parents often pressure their daughters to lose weight for the sake of winning the contest or getting closer to being crowned Miss America or Miss Universe.

This can lead to eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia.

Adults pressure these young girls into thinking that food has become a form of control over their lives rather than a means of enjoyment.

5. Self-Harm

Many young girls will engage in self-harm in order to achieve the appearance that they are seeking.

This is often the result of low self-esteem and the pressure of living up to their parents’ expectations.

People may have teased them at school and at home for being too fat or too thin, which can lead to low self-esteem and feelings of shame.

Self-harm can also be a way for these young women to relieve their emotional pain.

6. Depression

Many young girls will engage in severe depression after entering beauty contests.

They feel that they have failed at being beautiful and achieving what they had hoped for.

This may also lead to eating disorders and other mental health problems, including anxiety, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

These disorders can cause extreme anxiety and lead to depression, which can eventually result in suicide attempts.

Can Beauty Contest Hurt Your Child's Mental Health?

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.

7. Sexualized Objectification

Child pageants are not just about physical appearance but also about being the prettiest, most popular, and winning.

These contests teach young girls that other people only value them for their looks.

Many of these girls will grow up feeling dissatisfied with themselves and their appearance and end up developing eating disorders, poor self-esteem, and body image issues.

Young girls can also be victims of sexualization and objectification by adults in the pageant world.

Many pageant coaches and agents have inappropriate sexual behavior with their young charges.

Being a Beauty Queen: The Double-Edged Sword

These are just a few of the many reasons beauty contests can be extremely damaging to young girls and boys.

Although these contests may be an entertainment, they can also cause severe psychological damage to the participants.

Parents need to be aware of this issue and should consider the negative impact that beauty contests may have on their children’s mental health.

Our blog, Mature Parent, will provide parents with information on how to help their children avoid the negative effects of beauty contests.

We will also provide tips on how to keep your children safe so that they can grow up to be happy, healthy adults.