What's the Deal?
Since their creation in the nineteenth century, beauty pageants have always been under a great deal of criticism. Though they have become very popular, Beauty pageants did not become a cultural norm until the 1920's (Fedwa Malti-Douglas). Beauty Pageants reached a new high during World War II when the women in the pageants were recruited to sell bonds and entertain military troops (Gary S. Cross). A huge controversy swept the pageant world in 1855 when the first official child's pageant was recorded. This first show was attended by nearly 61,000 patrons and was geared towards "beautiful babies" (Fedwa Malti-Douglas). As pageants became even more useful for advertisement purposes, their popularity continued to increase over the years. Consequently, current day child beauty pageants have adapted. With the years, more categories and types of contestants began to emerge. Hilary Levey Friedman, a writer from the Huffington Post, describes the craze these child Beauty Pageants caused in Coney Island, New York. "Coney Island's parade continued to thrive into the 1920s. The 1923 and 1928 events boasted around 400 entrants who won in a variety of get-ups. A three-year-old girl won in a harem costume, a two-year-old won as a "Vanity Girl," and a six-year-old won dressed like a "Show Girl." Clearly, children dressing up like sexual adults started long before the twenty-first century. And in spite of, or perhaps because of, these little nymphs, audiences turned out in large numbers. The reported that the 1929 Coney Island Baby Parade had 500,000 spectators (Friedman, Hilary Levey)." Just like that, the pageant industry went from beautiful babies to the innapropriately glitzy and glamourous four-year-olds. Now, shows such as "Toddlers and Tiaras" and "Eden's World" depict the horrifying new image associated with these pageants.