Controversial: child pageants

Toddlers & Tiaras

Toddlers & Tiaras: kids (or moms) gone crazy?

Recently I became rather absorbed with the subject of child pageants. “Absorbed” would be too big a word however, so let’s just call it incensed, shocked and bewildered for semantics’ sake.

Last month, a pageant for babies, toddlers and teens was supposed to take place in Ireland. “What?! In Ireland?!” was my first thought. Again, for semantics’ sake, let’s say I nearly yelped at the idea because I believe pageants exist for two reasons only: overbearing moms and paedophiles looking for a quick fix.

The Dublin pageant, organised by US company Universal Royalty, was to take place at the four-star Bracken Court hotel in Balbriggan. A lot of pros and cons were written about it, and eventually the pageant was called off. Oh yes, it was one of those rare moments when Ireland was quick to take action, and the “let’s use my child as bait for paedophiles” show was cancelled.

For now.

According to the Irish Times, “a statement released by the hotel said Universal Royalty “did not identify the true nature of the event” which was “not in keeping” with the family ethos of the business.” (If you check the About Us webpage of Universal Royalty however, you will find it hard to miss what the true nature of the event would be: “Wanting a pageant to be a positive learning experience for contestants to learn Competition, Positive Self Confidence & Striving To Be The Very Best“)

Politicians also became involved and Independent senator and children’s rights activist Jillian Van Turnhout claimed the contest should be cancelled as events like it ‘sexually exploit’ children at a young age. Mrs. Van Turnhout told the government Ireland should follow France’s lead who, two days before the Irish pageant, made contests like this illegal for children until 16 and would enforce up to two years in prison if the law was broken.

After reading about the Irish pageant in newspapers, I felt this might be a good thing to write about so I started watching what I call ‘brainless TV’ on TLC. Why brainless? You only need a couple of living brain cells to either digest what is happening, to turn up the volume or even better, to switch television channels. Brainless so.

TLC does not stand for ‘Tender, Loving Care’ (because its programs are definitely female-oriented), so think again please…

TLC stands for “The Learning Channel, a place for learning minds.”

Gulp.

Really?! The Learning Channel? If I have to place this television channel near National Geographic, the Discovery Channel and the History Channel, then TLC is nursery-school-antics where well… the rest is high school. Or college. Really.

Toddlers and Tiaras is the brainchild of some… no actually, I don’t even want to know who created the show. Why on earth, however, did they find it reasonably OK for small girls to dress up looking like tarts, feeding paedophiles’ brains with horrific thoughts?

Toddlers and Tiaras - Tot Wears Pretty Woman Prostitute Costume

Toddlers and Tiaras – Tot Wears Pretty Woman Prostitute Costume

Take Maddy for example, a four-year-old girl dressed up like Dolly Parton, boobs and all.

Paisley, a three-year-old girl dressed in a Pretty Woman prostitute costume.

Laci, eight years old, has a Lady Gaga routine while Mia, a two-year-old, is dressed in a baby-Madonna eye piercing 80’s cone bra faux-pas.

Or take Ava’s parents on the other hand, who let their 5 y/o mingle with the strippers (real ones!) from their business, and lock her into a cage for her own strippers’ routine during her child pageant performance (mom calls it “a ferocious lion routine… yeah… right!)

If the costumes aren’t enough drama for you yet, then why not add teeth bleaching, Botox injections, tight corsets, fake eyelashes, false teeth and whatnot to small children?

Dysfunctional.

Toxic.

Perplexing.

Ghastly.

About ten other words fill my mind to describe the sickening idea of child pageants, but I will refrain from writing them. I totally understand that each parent thinks their child is the most beautiful child in the world, but this is beyond believing this.

What kind of normal-thinking, loving, caring and protective mother would ever allow her little girl to dress sluttier than Lady Gaga or Madonna, filling their daughters’ faces with layers of fake tan and make up? Paedophiles would love to get their hands on those girls because sure, the girls are all out there for everyone to see, aren’t they? And if mothers weren’t bad enough, fathers are now also drawn into the whole child pageant “oh isn’t she so lovely and cute?” dramatics.

We all know why moms push their children into shows like this. They never had the chance when they were small, or they weren’t pretty enough or their parents were against it. Many a psychologist can tell you why, but if you see a little girl screaming because the preparations hurt, or she doesn’t want to partake, and you push her as a parent, then you’re projecting your own dreams onto your child. One wise thought so: grow up mom!

But on I went so, staring aimlessly at TLC while my brain ached for National Geographic, James Joyce’s collected works and intelligent talk. I was flabbergasted when I noticed a trailer of a new spin-off show to Toddlers & Tiaras: “Here comes Honey Boo Boo!” The name itself was enough to make me cringe, the contents even more. I think I can safely say, with added honesty and despair, that HCHBB is the lowest of the lowest on TV. Redneck, low IQs and a family totally unaware of the outside world. Aaaargh!!!

Miss Boo Boo is overweight, five years old, cannot talk without me having the urge of wanting it all subtitled, and probably was never taught manners at all. Alana Thompson, AKA Honey Boo Boo, is a cute all toddlers and even more tiaras kind of girl. Her magic drinking potion called Go Go Juice is to wake her up and is as infamous as Thompson herself and is made of Red Bull and Mountain Dew. Eating habits are just as shameful: things I wouldn’t even give my dog of fear it might lead to spontaneous combustion. They also don’t seem to visit a butcher much because they basically scrape their meat off the road. Literally.

Alana Thompson

Please believe me when I tell you that a) I have never ever seen a family as maladapted to society as they are, b) they seem to think it’s all OK to burp, fart and use bad language in public and c) let Alana dance on top of a table in a bar, at the age of 5. No wonder so Child Protective Services ended up at their doorstep.

I therefore find it utterly incredulous that a television channel still calls itself The Learning Channel while using the Thompson family as some kind of research project or as a valid reason to learn from. The Thompsons can learn from us, not us from the Learning Channel.

Poor, poor world.

Sure, the Boo Boo kid is funny at a rate of perhaps once every show, but when girls cry and stamp themselves out of getting their eyebrows plucked – because you know, eyebrow plucking really does hurt – and out of being spray tanned, you can kind of guess the little one does not always love being in child pageants.

What I can also say in all honesty, and with even more disgust, is how blatantly outrageous children are pushed by their parents to win child pageants after watching so many videos on YouTube and on TLC. If an adult like myself feels upset and annoyed by watching grownups pushing their children to essentially make the dreams of the parents come true, what on earth is going on in the minds of children themselves?

What kind of mother cries right in front of a stage because her three-year-old daughter just won third place in the pageant instead of first place? What kind of message does that send to the girl? “Mom thinks I’m not good enough?” Low self-esteem guaranteed as she grows older.

What mother picks up her little girl from the stage and immediately tells her off for not doing her routine correctly? Give the kid a break, she wants to play with Barbie dolls instead of being a Barbie doll, and she wants to go home because she’s tired.

What I also noticed was the sad faces on still images of the girls before or after they go on stage. They look tired and in need of a cuddle instead of getting layers of make-up plastered on.

My heart aches because these young children are facing an uncertain future being in the spotlight like this, and will have enough peer pressure as they grow older. Why not let kids be kids and let them play around with dolls, or run through mud or whatever they love doing most. Stop conditioning them to suit your needs, parents. You should live for your kid, not your kid making all your child dreams of making it big come true.

Another shocking thing is how far some parents go to get their child famous. I am not sure what Honey Boo Boo’s academic career looks like right now, but I’m sure she has to be at least a little more intelligent than Eden Wood, now the owner of her own show on brainless TV channels. Eden’s World is not about Eden as such, but in my view, more about her mom Mickie, manager Heather Ryan and publicist Andrew Sullivan fighting.

Eden Wood

Cue mom sitting with a casting bureau but is told that, if Eden wants to be an actress, she will need to learn how to read after mom says she can’t yet. I almost fell out of my bed of utter shock… Eden is 7 years old but her mom has been more concerned with Eden winning pageants and being an actress, instead of getting Eden formal education. It is honestly enough to make your stomach churn. Apparently, Eden also cannot remember more than one friend’s name. I fear that her college fund will need extra money so.

If these kids are our future, I sincerely fear for that future.  In some European countries pageants have never really been popular and are now seeing pageants cancelled for various reasons. Aside from the Dublin one being scrapped, the Miss Ulster pageant was cancelled in Belfast just days ago because of limitations set on the girls’ height and dress size.

Children “performing” at merely two months old in pageants isn’t entertainment, it is child neglect. Parents failing to provide a safe environment and emotional care amounts to neglect. It is also child neglect when parents show a reckless disregard for the child’s well-being. No matter how much spray tan you put on a girl against her will, no matter how many eyebrows you pluck while your child screams of pain, it is child neglect. Seeing girls having meltdowns just before going on stage, despite giving them a litre of soda is not in their best interest. It is quite wrongly in the parents best interest.

This here is a video of two girls interviewed in the Late Late Show on Irish television ahead of the pageant that was eventually cancelled. If it looks fake to you, then it probably is fake. You can hear mom laughing at what her little girl says, but funnily enough the crowd stays silent. Ireland just doesn’t do pageants very well.

Thank god for that!

To end, please watch this 7-minute video called Controversy of Child Beauty Pageants. If the statistics don’t scare you, perhaps the sad look on the faces of these girls will. 

Sexualization of Our Youth: Toddlers & Tiaras

© WVE and Ireland, MS and Me, 2011-2013. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to WVE and Ireland, MS and Me with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

11 Comments

  1. Robert says:

    I am from USA, and this is sooooooo wrong! Those kids are suppose to be innocent. They are not adults! This show must shut down! TLC (The Learning Channel) used to be education channel when I was about 12 years old in 1991. But now…. TLC is just a sh*t!

    Like

    • Billie says:

      So true Robert! That’s what I wrote in the post itself also, how can a television channel go from the Learning Channel to what it is today? Plus parading small kids like… it’s morally wrong.

      Like

  2. Roy McCarthy says:

    You speak for us all Billie. I despair that there is any demand at all for this utter crap never mind audiences that make these things commercially viable. You’d hope the human race by now would have evolved above demanding this sort of entertainment. The parents of these kids ought to be locked up to give their offspring a chance in life.

    Like

    • Billie says:

      When it’s part of a country’s culture I’m afraid it will be around for a very long time. I also despair, in fact watching all those videos about pageants really made me feel uncomfortable. I am glad I finished writing the post because it was on my mind how much those kids suffer at the hands of their overbearing parents. Anyone who calls it “love” must have very weird standards alright!

      Like

  3. We can only hope that those of us who think this is an abomination can keep writing letters, quit buying products that advertise on those shows and cancel subscriptions will force those shows to stop supporting them. It’s difficult when the top-rated cable shows are Honey Boo Boo and Duck Dynasty. I saw an article the other day about a teenager in a hotel that was hosting a Jane Austen convention. He asked where could he go to get her autograph….sad.

    Like

    • Billie says:

      I regards reality TV the downfall of decent television channels like the History Channel, Discovery and National Geographic. Ten years ago I only used to watch those because they had decent documentaries about history, but these days it reality TV left, right and centre. If you add TLC to that, OMG… they should pay us for watching it instead of us paying them. Take History for example: Pawn Stars, Duck Dynasty, Shipping Wars, Storage Wars etc etc etc. What about the Roman wars, the Germanic wars… REAL history? No wonder kids these days know nothing about real history anymore.

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