Burnley mum hits back at pageants claims

Tia Neve Wilkinson

Tia Neve Wilkinson

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A BURNLEY mum, whose little girl swept the board at a beauty pageant, has hit back at critics who are claiming the competitions “oversexualise’’youngsters.

Becky Wilkinson, whose daughter Tia Neve (3) won three titles at the Miss Glitz Sparkle 2012 pageant last weekend, said: “The critics make me laugh because they are totally missing the point of what these competitions are. It is about the children having lots of fun, enjoying themselves in a great atmosphere where everyone is really supportive of each other.

“To say they are are being oversexualised is ridiculous to me. Tia has a fantastic time, she loves every aspect of it and the day she stops enjoying it is when we stop.”

Mums were criticised in a story featured in national newspaper “The Sun” on Monday for dressing tots as young as 20 months old in bikinis for the contest that saw youngsters compete in a series of different rounds.

Claude Knights, who is the Director of children’s charity Kidscape, said he was concerned at how the children entering the beauty contests seemed to be getting younger each year and were being “oversexualised”.

But Becky, of Higher Tentre, said that the youngest children wore one-piece swimming costumes, adding: “My Tia wore a bikini that was pink and sparkly with fish on it, there was nothing grown up about it.

“And it was a bikini not a thong.”

Talented Tia, who has entered 14 competitions in the last 18 months, won the Best Smile, Overall Miss Glitz Photo and Mini Supreme sections of the competition that is recognised as one of the major pageants in the UK. Becky added that only family and friends were able to watch the youngsters as they competed on stage.

She told the Express: “Everyone who was there had to register and wear a wristband, it wasn’t just open to anyone to come along and watch.

“So I believe that ‘The Sun’ is in the wrong for publishing all the photos from the competition. And a big part of the pageants is the fund-raising for charity that the children have to do but no mention is ever made of that which is very annoying.”