Should young girls' pageants have a swim wear section?
We were discussing the Caroline Bay Carnival in the office yesterday morning, and mention was made of the beauty pageants.
Among them are the Queen of the Carnival, Miss Caroline Bay, Princess of the Sands and Junior Miss Caroline Bay.
Some in the team, females it should be said, were quite animated.
Their issues were around the wearing of bikinis by young girls and young women during such events, and whether that was necessary/right these days.
I took "these days" to mean a time when females are not supposed to be judged on their looks and a time when there seems to be more sleazy males about.
We put the topic on our Facebook page, and got some good comments.
A couple of past entrants said the pageants were a lot of fun and didn't compare with the American versions with their excessive make-up and expensive hairdos.
One person said that, if well organised, pageants were a great tool for children to gain confidence. Only one person was outright opposed to them.
We contacted Bay association entertainment manager Kevin Fahey, and he said the events were still popular and no-one was forcing the entrants to sign up.
Fair enough, and maybe the pageants are even part of the charm of the carnival here. There aren't too many beauty pageants around.
It's valid, too, that the wearing of bikinis at any age isn't illegal, and can be done by anyone just a couple of hundred metres away on the beach. And it's natural for young girls to want to copy their role models, and some of them might be on music videos that are far raunchier than anything you see at the carnival.
But for all that, I could still see where my colleagues were coming from.
Somehow it just doesn't seem right for 10- and 11-year-olds to be in bikinis. On stage.
Or is that just old-fashioned?
But I suppose if there was strong opposition to older girls parading in swimsuits, we'd have heard more loudly by now.
So maybe in Timaru, it is just part of the fun of the carnival.
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- The Timaru Herald