Say the word “beauty pageants” and the first image that pops into most people’s heads is a little girl dolled up in gobs of whore paint, Jon Benet Ramsey-style. The last image to boot up in your mental file? A little boy.
But little boys do compete in beauty pageants: there are many contests that crown a “Little Mr.” alongside a “Little Miss.” Just like the girls in competition, beauty pageant boys strut their stuff across the stage, perform a song or dance for the “talent” portion, and bring home prizes. (Check out a clip from a TLC show — “Toddlers & Tiaras,” maybe? — above.)
As far as I’ve seen, it is mostly toddler-age boys who compete in pageants. But the Daily Mail is reporting that several young boys — like 10-year-old Max and 12-year-old Mitchell — are still competing. And they find this quite disturbing. “At best, such events teach children to be concerned only with their looks, [and] at worse, it makes them a chilling target for pedophiles.”
Boys in beauty pageants do all the creepy, you’re-too-young-do-being-doing-this things that girls do. They gel their hair. They bronze. They “gyrate on stage in a crude and alarming approximation of male sexuality.”
Beauty pageants (I’m talking about the most popular ones with women and girls) are the most disgusting aspect of our culture. Some people say they are just talent contests. Why does a talent contest need women in bikinis and high heels or five-year-old girls in lipstick? That the organization which grants the largest amount of scholarship money to young women in this country does so — in addition to their accomplishments — on the basis of a woman’s cookie cutter physical attributes is shameful.
If more boys compete in beauty pageants, that won’t be a sign of “equality.” It will only be a sign that the sexualization of young girls and the regimentation of beauty standards in pageants has desensitized us so much it is spreading to the boys. [Daily Mail UK]