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Child beauty pageants, introduced into U.S. popular culture in the 1920s, had developed by the 1960s into high-stakes competitions based on notions of glamor. The ostensible purpose of beauty contests is to provide an opportunity for children to showcase their performing talents and abilities. The downside of the pageant industry, however, is that it focuses less on the talents of the children than on cultivation of a glamorous physical appearance, leading many young girls to develop perfectionistic tendencies and to give performances that exhibit a hypersexualized personality. The purpose of this entry is to give an overview of the research on child beauty pageants, highlighting findings on both the positive and negative side of young children participating in these events.

Television shows such as Toddlers and ...

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