3 News 10 Aug 2011
It caused a furore in Melbourne, and now it seems American-style child beauty pageants are heading to New Zealand. The Texas-based organisers are considering bringing their pageant to Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch, along with its star, six-year-old American beauty princess Eden Wood, star of TV show Toddlers and Tiaras. Wood travelled to Melbourne for the show last month, but was forced to pull out after protests erupted over the sexualisation of children. About 80 contestants had paid $366 each to enter. Organisers expect to hold the New Zealand event next June. Pageant owner Annette Hill says criticism of the event is “absurd”. “If you’re looking at a kid in that type of way then something is wrong with you,” she says. “What we saw was kids playing dress-up for a day – you should have seen the smiles. It was wonderful to see kids happy.” Ms Hill says the New Zealand show would not have kids wearing fake teeth and spray tans, which are common in the US.
Family First, a conservative lobby group, says the pageant has no place in New Zealand. “There are no redeeming factors about the proposed child beauty pageants where little girls are judged using adult measures of so-called ‘beauty’, and where they receive the message that their value is in their appearance and sexualised standards,” says Bob McCoskrie. He is encouraging Kiwi parents to boycott companies that support the event.