UPDATE: Pageant organisers re-brand to avoid criticism
It had been reported that a child beauty pageant scheduled to take place in Melbourne on August 2nd, was cancelled due to a lack of interest. Universal Royalty refused to confirm whether or not the event took place.
It now appears that rather than being cancelled, the event was simply re-branded. Australia based beauty pageants Follow your Dreams promotional material seems to indicate a co-branding arrangement between Follow your Dreams and Universal Royalty. The Melbourne event was listed as "FYD/UR" on the events calendar.
As recently as 2013, Follow your dreams pageant director Kylie Drew claimed she was a leader in establishing pageants in Australia, citing her years of experience learning from pageant directors in the US, even appearing as a 'guest judge' on Toddlers and Tiaras.
But during her appearance on Today Tonight, Drew distanced her Australian pageants from "US style" beauty pageants and 'didn't appreciate' the comparison between the two.
No re-brand or deceptive use of language will make beauty competitions for children acceptable. A child beauty pageant by any other name is still child exploitation.
More than 27,000 people signed the petition started by Collective Shout's Coralie Alison, sending a strong message that this form of child exploitation is not acceptable. Collective Shout's Felicity Langton appeared on Today Tonight to discuss why Collective Shout opposes child beauty pageants.
Take Action against Child Beauty Pageants
Girls as young as five years old are made to undergo ‘beauty’ treatments like waxing, tanning, even botox. They’re told to ‘flirt’ with the judges and be sexy.
That’s the world of US “Universal Royalty Child Beauty Pageant” – and on August 2nd they want to bring their child exploitation event to Australia.
Child beauty pageants are harmful, and exploitative. That’s what psychologists, child development experts, numerous government reports, and even former pageant contestants all say:
“I never thought it was terribly sinister that I was in beauty pageants as a kid… But there was a darker side: The old men scratching their crotches while I performed in skimpy costumes. The latent and confusing fear of being looked at sexually, which continued even into adulthood. And the haunting sense that I had no face when it was not made up for the stage.”
The pageants teach girls from a very early age that their worth is based on their appearance. Research shows that reinforcing an emphasis on looks and attractiveness leads to negative body image, disordered eating, depression, anxiety and low self-esteem.
We’re petitioning Victorian Premier Dennis Naphine to put a stop to this form of child exploitation. Click here to add your name to the petition.
Spread the word by sharing the petition on social media – copy and paste this link: http://www.change.org/en-AU/petitions/denis-napthine-denis-napthine-don-t-allow-harmful-us-child-beauty-pageants-to-go-ahead
Further reading: Collective Shout’s Coralie Allison and Melinda Tankard Reist were quoted in the Daily Telegraph today.