I've found that there is a high level of Christian & generally nice, well-accomplished girls involved in pageants, not just self-centered girls who only care about their looks. I've actually been really impressed with the caliber of the girls I've met, along with the directors of the pageants. Yes, there are always those few girls who are "in it to win it" and are very self-centered and focused on their "beauty", but they have been in the minority, and this attitude is greatly discouraged by the pageant directors. My daughters have made some really nice friends, and have found a real "sisterhood" with most of the "pageant girls".
Pageants aren't just about beauty and looking good & beautiful, but rather being involved in your community and in helping others. It is greatly encouraged to find a charitable cause you can stand behind and then make it your platform. Learning to eat right and become more fit is also encouraged rather then just being "skinny at all costs." College scholarships are what many of the winners and runners up receive which encourages the girls to further their education and gives them opportunities to go to college that they might otherwise not have had. And Sarah recently had to research her ancestry as well as write an essay as part of her entry process.
Pageants get a bad rap a lot, because people don't understand what pageants are and what they are not. Pageants ARE an avenue for growth and character building. My daughters are learning more about giving back to our community and to be involved in things that help others. It is helping them learn a confidence in themselves and how to be assertive when necessary, like when they are contacting businesses to secure sponsors. It is teaching them the importance of physical fitness and taking care of themselves in order to remain healthy. Pageants are NOT about exploiting women. At least not the ones my daughters are involved in. Yes, beautiful girls are usually the ones in pageants, but that doesn't mean that is the only thing it's about or that they are being exploited. I can tell you one thing, pageants are NOT the same as the ones portrayed on TV in "Toddlers and Tiaras" or even movies like "Miss Congeniality", funny as that movie was. I actually would love to see the toddler and little girl pageants banned like the ones portrayed on "Toddlers & Tiaras"! VERY different "world" then the pageants my daughters are involved in.
I've seen good changes in my daughters as they've been involved in pageants. Neither of them have won anything, and yet they have lost gracefully and are genuinely happy for those who do win. I watched Hannah, this weekend, practically jump up and down for joy when SHE lost, but one of her new friends won in the most recent pageant she just competed in. I was SO proud of her at that moment! :)
I don't know if my daughters will ever win one of the pageants they enter. As their mom, I really do hope they do, but even if they never do, I know God has a plan in all of this for them, and I am glad they are going through these experiences that are growing them in a way that nothing else will.
Here are some pictures from the latest pageants Sarah and Hannah have been involved in. No they haven't won a title, but what I see them "winning" is much more important then a title. :)
|Hannah - Miss Jr Teen Queen Creek, Arizona United States Pageant|
|Sarah - Colleen & Rose Irish Pageant|