Truly Appalling - People Magazine Article: Gone Too Far?

I kept forgetting to get my butt online and in my blog to post about this most heinous of things: toddlers and tiaras. People Magazine did an article about it in their special double issue for 26 September entitled Gone Too Far? Skimpy costumes, temper tantrums, pushy moms: A hit TV show ignites a furor over the shocking world of child beauty pageants. Now, I have a good friend Eric who told me about this travesty of a show months prior, if not longer, but I could never bring myself to watch it. Now I know why!

This article... oh, my gods, it pushed me right over the edge! Just ask my husband. He listened to me gripe and yell and go crazy over this and when I showed him the pictures, he could not argue that this was just sick! One three-year-old was dressed like Julia Roberts as a hooker - yes, a hooker - from the movie Pretty Woman! Ye gods! How is this legal, let alone okay?! The mother, after the reaction she got on the telly, admitted that the 3-year-old Paisley's outfit "crossed the line" - you think?! Jeez, what gave you that idea? Did you not see how criminal this would be when you put it on her??

Another one was dressed as Madonna with the killer pointed bra cups! This kid was TWO years old!

Every mother has some justification for this. I can't see it. And worse, the money they are spending to turn their small fry into hookers or worse is much, much more than they make... which takes out the greed factor as the motivation for psychologically damaging your child for life. Of course, the money they spend now is nothing compared to the years of therapy they'll need to pay coming up.

And what do the mothers say? One said that her daughter really wants to do this, and what girl doesn't love to play dress up with her mommy? OK. I played dress up, too. I wore my mother's go-go dancing costumes and platform shoes when I was a little girl (quite possibly the only "girlie" thing I did, because I was always a tomboy) and I wore those because they were sequined and shiny and fun - her normal clothes were boring! Say what you want, but I never wore them outside and at five years of age, I couldn't make the connection of what go-go dancing clothes meant. To me, they were bright, shiny things. Had my mother put me in a pageant dressed like that, she would probably have been arrested, but I was a kid in the early 1970s - very different.

Now I am old enough to recall perfectly the Jon-Benét Ramsey case from 1996, which really brought the whole child pageant thing to the fore. While it did do that, it clearly did not change or improve anything. It may seem perfectly okay to put your kid in one of these because she wants to do it, but what two- or three-year-old has any judgment capabilities to make that decision? Isn't this the part where you as the parent step in and say, "No."? Is that not what it means to be a parent? Or do you let your 4-year-old go out on a play date without parental control? Walk to school by herself? Go to the movies with friends? Ummm - I'm betting no.

But this is acceptable.

One mother thought the fuss over some outfits were cultural: Her daughter's costume was 'padded to give it a little bit of an edge. "I think it's cultural, the reactions," says Jackson, whose own mother helps foot the five-figure annual bill for Maddy's many pageants. "When she wore that [Dolly Pardon costume] to a pageant in Kentucky, people loved it; in Connecticut, they didn't get it," she says. (Pageants in the south outnumber those in the rest of the country.) "Everyone acts like I am trying to sexualize my daughter, but it's ridiculous. It I put Maddy in a Jason costume for Halloween, would people think I was trying to turn her into a serial killer?"'

[Writer's note: There is no such word as "sexualize"; I just took it straight from the article.]

Well, maybe I would not think she was trying to turn her daughter into a serial killer, but I would not say okay to my toddler wanting to dress up like Jason from the Halloween movies! I would say no to dressing her like a hooker for Halloween. I certainly can see why to the outsider it looks as though mothers are pushing their little girls to not just appear like adults: tanned skin, make-up, sequin dresses, high heels, etc. But they do take it well beyond the adult trappings - they encourage an openly promiscuous look from these kids. And I don't mean, ha, ha, look at this cute little kid dressed up as beach girl doing a dance, but she doing a dance that some adults would be embarrassed to do because it was SO suggestive! Is this what you want your toddler doing?!

Here is a checklist of items and their affiliated costs, just you can see how wasteful this pageant stuff is:

1. Pageant registration: $1,000 (this is usually more that the prize money... so take out greed as the big factor)

2. Tanning: $25 (spray on tan. Only the best for your little tantrum throwing angel!)

3. White lace anklets: $8 Every little detail counts. If you want your little prize to look a 1940s poster gal, make sure you get her hose with the lines down the back of the leg and get her patent leather super-high heels. She's only 3, you say? Hey, it is never to early to start on dressing them in age-inappropriate sexually inciting clothing, which, while it might make us regular people cringe, ought to really make these kids "pop" to any pedophiles in the area!

4. Photo Session & Prints for Competitions: $350 Yowza. Can't you take them with your own backdrop in a natural setting - oh, what am I saying? There is nothing natural about this anyway!

5. Wiglet: $100. I laugh at this, because it sounds like "piglet". Little things amuse me. I guess I should be grateful they don't shave her hair clean off and put a full wig on her.

6. Earrings: $10. So what. Most of my earrings range from $7 to $50.

7. Hair & Make-up: $250 This for me is the part where the Twilight Zone music needs to be queued up - it is too bloody weird what they do. You start out with a normal 2- or 3-year-old, and after hours of sitting still (I could not sit still that long!) to have their hair pulled and puffed and added to and then sprayed to do the unthinkable; let's not even get into the fresh skin of a young child suddenly turning into the travesty that was Tammy Fay Bakker. I will stop short of saying the kids look far too adult.

You know, we are not a healthy nation. If this is what television viewing has brought us (and so many people watch it), what does this say about us? Certainly nothing good!


Patrick said…
I agree with you completely. I've seen stories about these overbearing moms who push their little girls through grueling schedules to compete.

As for the attempt at comparing these "curvy" costumes to the Jason costume, I'd tell parents this: dressing a child up as a movie serial killer character isn't likely to arouse a pedophile. Dressing a child up as an overly-veluptuous caricature might be too much for one to take. Why would a parent possibly want to risk THAT?
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