Thursday, July 15, 2010

Am I the only one who's completely freaked out by child beauty pageants?

I have to ask this question: am I the only one who's completely freaked out by child beauty pageants? I mean, whenever I'm flipping through our 900 channels (887 of which are useless) and happen across the show Toddlers & Tiaras, I can't help but watch it. I just sit there with this overall dumb look on my face because I am both mesmerized and horrified by these strange, nightmare-like creatures that are some people's idea of "beauty."

I don't care what the message was in Miss Congeniality, beauty pageants are messed up. Having full grown women prance around in bikinis to prove their self-confidence is degrading enough, but watching little 5-year-old girls do the same seems borderline abusive. These are tiny, tiny girls. Babies. Yet their coaches - who am I kidding, their mothers - are forcing them to adhere to "mature" standards of beauty, like wearing short, revealing dresses, (ten pounds of) makeup, big, bouncy hair, fake tans, and even fake teeth.

Is it just me, or is the damage really obvious here? These mothers are basically telling their daughters that they are not good enough - that they won't even have a shot at winning a pageant, let alone succeed in life - if they're not tan enough, skinny enough, peppy enough, or pretty enough. Because as we all know, girls can never be good enough.

You can cut the whole "beauty pageants are good for self-esteem" crap right now, 'cause I ain't buying it. Beauty pageants are exactly that - dehumanizing contests to see which girl looks best in a swimsuit and/or frilly dress. And don't even try to justify it with "well, the girls are encouraged to be themselves during the talent competitions!" Because if these little girls were truly given license to be themselves, their moms wouldn't be in the corner screaming "smile wider, honey! Remember that smile we practiced?"

How I detest that smile.

Believe it or not, beauty pageant moms are ten times scarier than their little demo-- I mean angels. Not only do many of them yell at their daughters when they make teeny-weeny mistakes, these women usually fit the same mold. Without spelling out every detail, you can guess that most of these women weren't treated as well as they should have as children. Maybe they never felt pretty, wanted, loved. Maybe they were told they were too "this" or too "that" to enter a pageant; maybe they got picked on in school. Whatever the case, most of these moms (I'd say 99%) are living through their daughters to create the childhood, fame, and success they wanted as children.

Beauty pageants teach little girls that looks and dresses and smiles and competition and prize money are everything in life. In other words, we need to be picture perfect. From the way we walk, to the way we talk, to the way we flirtatiously smile at others - we will always be judged. If you let your guard down even a little, you can't win in life.

What a load of bull-crap!

I would never want my daughter (please note that I'm thinking 15 years down the road here) to be a part of something like that. I can't even fathom sitting back while watching my 5-year-old being picked apart in front of a panel of judges (and other whacked-out mothers). How could any parent stand to watch that? Internal beauty my ass, confidence my ass . . .

Now you're probably thinking: Danielle, what if your daughter comes to you one day and says she wants to be in a beauty pageant? Simple. I'll say: "Who wants to sit in a stinky old chair for 6 hours getting their makeup done when they could be chopping this in half?!" That's when I'll whip out a 2-by-4.

Yes, my daughter will be joining karate.

Want to see some real heartbreak? Watch this video all the way 'till the end:


  1. Thank. You. I honestly thought that I was the only person that was deeply disturbed by these shows! I honestly cannot believe that these "mothers" think it's okay for their daughters to be objectified AT AGE 5. I mean, jesus tap dancing christ! Were they deprived of oxygen at birth?!

    p.s My kids will be doing Karate as well...

  2. I know!!! Moms should protect and (positively) encourage their kids, not put extra stress on them or push them to be fake, smiling androids! So not cool! And unfortunately, it seems like the little girls who go through this crap come out worse for wear. Many of them, following in their parents' footsteps, seem arrogant and materialistic. And I'm also afraid they're going to grow up with serious issues because they're constantly pressured to "measure up" >,<

  3. But yeah, I'm glad SOMEONE agrees with me!

  4. These pageants are just awful. These little girls would look so much better without layers of make-up and fake nails and teeth. Plus, beauty pageants just scream female stereotypes. Personally, I'd rather not teach my child that looks are everything.

  5. There is definitely something wrong with child beauty pagents. When I watched that video, I saw all types of terrible role models and examples for these little girls (who should be out climbing trees and playing make-believe, not living in this stereotyped and far too grown up world of beauty). I also saw something that scared me... Little girls that look like women... to me it's almost like asking pedophilia on these girls. It's scary and wrong.

    Makes me think of the movie "Little miss sunshine" though.... Which is an interesting watch, if you've never seen it. An Indy/Art movie about a young girl who wants to perform in the "little miss sunshine" pageant, and who is encouraged/trained by her grandfather to be different. I wouldn't say that it's the best movie in the world, and you could get mixed messages from it. But it does give a bit of a different take on the whole pageant thing.

  6. Hey Kanadra,

    You make an awesome point. Kids SHOULD be climbing trees and playing make-believe, not worrying about how they look, how they dress, etc.

    That actually reminds me of my whole beef with "kid's shows" these days. I grew up watching Hey Arnold, Rugrats, Cat-Dog, Rocko's Modern Life, and other cartoons that were just SILLY. But now kids watch these ridiculous teen dramas that seem to focus on dating, fashion, looks, shopping, etc. etc.

    Poor kids today, they AREN'T kids! They're being forced to grow up too fast :(

    And I also agree with your point about these little pageant girls looking like full-grown women. They have tiny, underdeveloped bodies and womens' faces. A disturbing combination.

    I've actually seen bits and pieces of Little Miss Sunshine, but not enough to write a full-blown commentary on it. But I DO think the main little girl - in all her sweatband-and-dorky-glasses glory - was ten times cuter than any of the other pageant contestants.

  7. I am from the Uk so even pagents for fully grown women cause a bit of as stir, but this. This is just wrong


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...