THIS WEEK, US company Universal Royalty announced that it would be returning to Ireland for a further series of controversial child beauty pageants.
Confirming the news on its Facebook and Twitter feeds, Universal Royalty said it would run the ‘Toddlers and Tiaras’-style events in Dublin, Belfast and Cork in 2014.
According to the Universal Royalty website, the Irish events are provisionally scheduled for September 20 this year.
They have already requested the services of a hair and makeup artist for the dates.
The pageants sparked controversy last year, with one event having to be moved several times as venues backed out of hosting the contest.
However, organisers claim they have also received considerable support. Universal Royalty posted on Facebook this week:
Ireland contestants, I am getting your emails, messages and tweets. Thanks for the LOVE!
Residents in Belfast have now begun a Facebook campaign in an attempt to prevent the pageant taking place.
Organisers write: “We will be taking a firm stand and will be aiming to make sure it does not come to our city.” Launched three days ago, the page has reached almost a thousand likes.
Others posting on the page have accused the pageants of being sexist and exploitative. One wrote:
As an American living here, I hang my head in shame. I *hate* “beauty pageants” enough, it’s just disturbing when they involve children.
Annette Hill of Universal Royalty has previously rejected accusations of sexualising children, and said that organisers discourage any makeup on the youngest participants.
Others might have just enough hair and makeup “to accentuate their natural beauty”, she added.
This video shows a Universal Royalty pageant in Texas in 2012: