Just say no

I came home late the other day and found my husband Eric and son Matt watching a TV show about building really big bridges. I sat down to watch, but just then a commercial for the show “Toddlers & Tiaras” came on.

I’ve never purposefully watched the show, but just seeing the commercial makes me want to smack each and every parent involved with it. Why would any loving parent want to dress their child in provocative clothing, plaster them with a ton of makeup and parade them on a stage to be stared at and judged? Are the parents unfulfilled in their own lives? Trying to reverse not being picked as prom queen by turning their 6-year-old into a plastic person? Or just pathetic and sad?

Seriously, people. Just say no to the pageant.

Toddlers should not be portrayed as sexy, and flashy adult faces should not be painted on little kids.

Out of curiosity, I hit a few comment sites on the web to see how others feel about the show and the world of toddler pageantry. I found one woman who said the pageants her daughter had entered taught her poise and confidence. I could respect that until I read the end of the entry, which said, “In life, facial beauty does count – it’s just a fact of life.”

Wow, I’d hate to be that woman’s daughter as the awkward stages of life come and go.

An entry from a man said the pageants teach the kids poise and grace. Again, the word poise. I’ve never met a toddler and thought to myself, “Wow, this kid lacks poise.” I didn’t realize what a highly sought-out commodity it is these days in a child.

Most of the entries I found were from people who disliked the show, but if everyone disliked the show, another season wouldn’t be rolling out now, would it?

A few people said being in a pageant increased their kid’s self-confidence, but apparently studies have shown just the opposite. It actually makes kids feel worse about themselves, and also leads to eating disorders and depression.

The comments I found called the show “disturbing,” and many people stated a program like “Toddlers & Tiaras” was a pedophile’s dream show.  Others said it gave young girls a head-start on being conscious of their bodies and being judged for what they are, not who they are.

One man wrote, “I don’t believe these children are being spoiled. They are being horribly manipulated, pimped and emotionally molested.”

“Quite honestly, this is one of the creepiest shows I have ever seen,” one woman added. “You’re parading small kids dressed like some sort of weird dolls for the gratification of a bunch of adults.”

I watched a few of the videos on the TLC website, and was appalled at the things the parents said about their children. One mom, who had twins on the pageant circuit, stated one daughter was much better at it than the other.

“Brianna looks like her momma,” she said of the favored child. “She’s outgoing and pretty and funny. Ashton is just Ashton.”

What kind of parent does that? I guess the same kind of parent that doesn’t notice her daughter just ate 11 Pixie Stix and can’t figure out why she won’t settle down and go into ‘pageant mode.’ Or one who dresses her 2-year-old child in a Madonna outfit, complete with cone-shaped boobies.

Really?

Parents, unless your 3- to 10-year-old eloquently expresses a desire to be dressed like a cross between a prostitute and a doll and be stared at by a big group of mean, nitpicky adults, to be paraded in front of strangers who are watching her closely for any variety of scary reasons, or to be spoiled and manipulated until she doesn’t know fantasy from reality, just say no to the pageant.

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