Hilary Levey, a member of the Harvard College Class of ’02, studied child beauty pageants. “With the death of JonBenet Ramsey, there’s been a barrage of interest in beauty pageants but no sociological studies,” she said. Levey decide to rectify that. She found that there is a high financial cost to competing in beauty pageants. Parents typically spend between $100-$200 on pageant clothing, although some pay as much as $1,000 for a gown. Pageant fees cost another $100-$200 per contest, and 41 mothers who Levey interviewed had their children compete in an average of five pageants a year. But parents believe the costs are worth it because their children gain poise and confidence. “She learns skills such as going out in a crowd, not to be shy, and to be herself while people are watching and focusing on her,” one mother noted.
The whys and woes of child beauty pageants
Undergraduate researcher inspired to understand behavior