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Murder has suddenly thrust the world of childrens beauty pageants into the spotlight Since 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey was found strangled in her Boulder Colo basement last month national magazines and TV shows have run photographs and videotapes of the bleached-blonde woman-child vamping across stages in showgirl costumes and heavy makeup There are thousands of children like JonBenet Charles Dunn publisher of Pageantry magazine estimates that every year beauty pageants show off 100000 children under the age of 12 Its a subculture of bleached hair blue contact lenses and false eyelashes Little girls sashay in sequined gowns and swimsuits sometimes adding a touch of striptease by removing wraparound skirts Parents pay entry fees of up to 500 and buy thousand-dollar gowns so their girls can compete for 10-inch crowns 6-foot trophies and 10000 savings bonds Some of the children travel with an entourage of makeup artists hairdressers and talent coaches It pays to start young Jo-Ann Guerin director of All Star Kids USA Pageants once got two entry forms from a woman with only one child When Guerin asked why the woman explained she was pregnant Babies too young to walk are paraded down pageant runways their mothers holding the confused children out in front of
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