Pros and Cons of Infant Pageants

Infant girl wearing a pageant tiara
Dress your baby for a pageant.

Is entering the glamorous world of infant pageants the right choice for your baby? While every mother thinks her baby is adorable, some want the trophy to prove it.

The Appeal of Infant Pageants

Infant beauty pageants are undoubtedly controversial. Some people see them as harmless fun, while others are appalled by the very concept. If you're considering entering your baby in one of these events, it's helpful to understand both points of view.

Arguments for infant pageants include:

  • It's a fun bonding experience. Assuming both you and your baby are naturally outgoing, participating in a pageant with your child can be a good way to enjoy spending time together while meeting other families with similar interests.
  • Pageants help teach poise and self confidence. Although this is hard to quantify, many parents of children who have participated in pageants say the experience has helped their kids become more comfortable in a variety of social situations.
  • It's a good way to get exposure for a modeling or acting career. Not all pageant contestants end up with careers in show business, but talent scouts have been known to look for babies to appear in magazine advertisements and TV commercials at these events.
  • You can win money for your child's education. Pageant winners often receive cash prizes and collage scholarships. If your baby wins several major pageants, this can be a great way to contribute to her future educational expenses.

Arguments against participating in this type of event include:

  • It's sexist. Although there are pageants that accept male participants, the majority of pageant contestants are still female.
  • It's encouraging an unhealthy focus on physical appearance. Pageants for older children and teenagers have talent competitions, but obviously this isn't possible for an infant.
  • It's too expensive. There are ways to keep the cost of pageants down, such as buying a used dress for your daughter. However, between entry fees, photos, and travel expenses, pageants can easily become a very expensive hobby that diverts funds from other activities.
  • It's too time consuming. Participating in pageants is a big time commitment, especially if you travel to national competitions or plan to allow your child to compete once she's older. If you have other children, they may be jealous of the time devoted to this hobby.

Entering Infant Beauty Pageants

If you've decided that the advantages of infant pageants outweigh any potential drawbacks, the Pageant Center Web site is a good place to begin your search for competitions to enter. You can sign up for a free newsletter with information about the types of pageants you are interested in, as well as some general competition tips. Your local newspaper and any parenting magazines that you subscribe to can also be good sources of information about pageant opportunities.

As far as clothing is concerned, pageant dresses are definitely much more formal than the outfits your baby wears on a daily basis. Brand new pageant dresses can be very expensive, but keep in mind that it's perfectly acceptable to purchase a used dress from another pageant contestant. Because babies grow so fast, infant pageant dresses are usually only worn once or twice. If you are a talented seamstress or know someone who is, sewing a custom dress is another money-saving option to consider as well.

Many pageants for infants will require a portfolio of pictures. If you get serious about pageant competitions, you'll probably want professional photos. However, this is not necessary at the very beginning stages. Practice taking pictures of your baby with your digital camera, or hire a talented photography student to take some portraits.

Additional LoveToKnow Resources

If you're interested in learning more about the world of child beauty pageants, here are some articles from other LoveToKnow channels that may be useful:

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Pros and Cons of Infant Pageants