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 in Favor of Infant Pageants
Many parents make solid arguments in favor of entering their babies into pageants.
Baby Pageants Are 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 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.
Your Baby May 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.
Money Is Available 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 Baby Pageants
There are also a number of arguments against entering your baby in a pageant.
Pageants Are Sexist
Although there are pageants that accept boys, the majority of pageant contestants are still girls.
Baby Pageants Encourage Unhealthy Focus on Physical Appearance
Pageants for older children and teenagers have talent competitions, but obviously this isn't possible for an infant. Baby pageants are judged solely on looks.
Pageants Are 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.
Infant Pageants Are 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.
Expenses Associated With Entering Infant Beauty Pageants
You can find infant pageant opportunities near you on the internet. There are many local, regional, and national pageants available for infants.
Pageant Entry Fee - $50 to $500
Most require pre-registration and payment of an entry fee, which can range from $50 upward to several hundred dollars.
Pageant Clothing - $50 to Hundreds of Dollars
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 or a discount dress. 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. Each outfit will cost anywhere from about $50 up to several hundred dollars, and your baby may need more than one pageant outfit.
Portfolio Photos - $0 to Hundreds of Dollars
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. Pageant photos cost will range anywhere from just the cost of your camera to hundreds of dollars.
Additional Expenses - $0 to Hundreds of Dollars
Along with standard expenses, parents often drop money on other items and services including tanning, makeup, hairstyling, travel, and more. This is true even in the baby pageant world, which can be quite competitive and therefore quite costly.
Understand the Pros and Cons of the Pageant World
Infant pageants aren't for everyone, but for some parents and their babies, they offer unique opportunities and experiences they can't get anywhere else. Make an informed decision based on the benefits and drawbacks of infant pageants in order to make the best choice for your family.