Yes, pageants are objectifying. Participants look like CGI creations in a smelly and muggy basement. It doesn't matter what age. And yet right wingers defend them as money makers, libertarians as "it's voluntary" (which for children is not, and for adults it is questionable if they're at least self fooled and sometimes outright exploited. In both cases psychological and sexual abuse, while not happening every time, have been proven to happen and to usually be concealed) and progressives as a way to have the participants repeat in public their discourse and "see that? we all think the same!"
It is one of the few cases where I would like to toughen laws about them, and more so for children.
Like with many businesses which make enough money to buy off political systems regardless of morality, places which have attempted to ban or even limit them have failed against lobbying. Or are super fundie like Afghanistan.