And you thought Toddlers & Tiaras was a real-life (or at least, reality TV) nightmare ... What about a beauty pageant taking place in your kid's elementary school?! Sure, races for prom queen and king in high school tend to be a popularity contest (and you don't have to be Carrie White to know looks frequently determine or at least contribute to popularity), but we're talking about a totally in-your-face competition in which elementary school-aged "contestants will be judged on facial beauty, personality, and overall appeal." Huh?!
Somehow, this was actually set to happen at a school called Indian Land Elementary School in South Carolina, where organizers were baiting kids with a shot at "represent[ing] your school all year long during school events" if they were to win the title of "Warrior King or Warrior Queen." But wait, that's not all!
Prizes were also to be awarded for "Best Eyes," "Best Hair," "Best Smile," "Best Dressed," and "Most Beautiful," which would be "based upon the contestant's facial beauty score only." Boys and girls could also submit photos to win additional awards, and could collect signatures to vie for the "Sweetheart" title. Aaaand, if you aren't already sick to your stomach by now, here's the icing: The flier included instructions on how to walk, turn, and pose for the judges. Thank goodness angry parents (the ones who have a clue!) had the event shut down, but still -- what. the. hell?
We tend to think of peer pressure striking later on when kids hit puberty, but between grades K-5, of course there's still seriously BRUTAL teasing stemming from appearance. Kids are more and more aware of image and, as a result, are getting more and more stressed about what to wear, how to do their hair, if they're "fat," or if they'll be called a bevy of cruel names because they wear glasses or have acne or braces earlier and earlier. At the same time, I have to wonder if the organizers behind this completely forget what it's like to be a kid ... Playground cruelty isn't exactly a new phenomenon. Sadly, kids have been calling one another "Four-Eyes" or "Thunder Thighs" for eons.
And yet, someone had the audacity to propose an official beauty pageant at school. To seriously pit kids against each other for the titles of "Best Hair" and "Most Beautiful." Damn! As a kid, it's hard enough going to school and facing your peers' judgment ... let alone official pageant judges! It's totally nuts. Not to mention completely contrary and a ridiculous distraction from the real goals kids should be focused on: Learning and getting ahead based on their brains, not their beauty.
How crazy is this? Would you want your son or daughter being ranked on their appearance in a school beauty pageant?