Today’s society promotes unattainable beauty standards for young girls across the country creating a difficulty in the formation of self-identity. Karen Coats in her essay on “Identity” found in Keywords for Children’s Literature This defines one’s identity in many ways but the one most pertinent is the effects of external forces on the formation of identity. The budding pressures of society can be elevated by parental pressure to not only be one’s best but to be better than others as well. When parents place their hopes on their children it makes it difficult for children to form their own identities. Identity formation is especially difficult when external forces such as parental pressures and continuous scrutiny impede on children during the time essential for identity formation. This time of relationship and stunting of identity in children can be seen on the TLC show Toddlers and Tiaras.
This show follows pageant parents and their young beauty queen daughters through pageant cycles across the country. In many cases, the adults tend to be more into pageants and competition than their daughters do. It can also be seen that children don’t want to partake in pageants and the pain that accompanies it. Many tears are shed over the physical alterations that are made including spray tans, hair extensions, fake nails, false teeth, as some of the most common alterations seen. The bodily and physical changes endured by these young girls, to this caliber, can harm her identity formation and the perception of their internal self. Being forced to alter one’s external self to such a large extent seems as though it would inhibit internal-self recognition. These girls are being shaped to what their parents want them to be, but who do they want to be?