Thursday, June 30, 2011

Baby Burlesque

Skimpy little outfits with feathers and spandex.  Heavy makeup.  Fake tans, wigs, and provocative
dancing. 

No, I'm not having a baby-and-responsibility-free wild night out at a strip club.  I'm sitting on my couch watching the trainwreck that is Toddlers and Tiaras.  If you've never seen this reality television show, please check out some clips on TLC's website.

I watch this show every now and then when there isn't anything else worth seeing on TV.  It has always slightly disturbed me, but the venom didn't start to flow until recently.  A few days ago, an 11 week old baby was competing in a pageant.  11 weeks old?!?  The announcer laughed as he said, "Serenity is 11 weeks old and enjoys sleeping 18 hours a day hahahaha."  Umm...haha freaking ha.  The baby was in a ridiculously poofy and most likely uncomfortable dress, and was fast asleep as Mom paraded her across the stage.  Hey Momma, I think it's pretty clear here that you're trying to live vicariously through your baby.  Why not wait until your child can decide for herself whether or not she wants to participate?  Oh, and maybe I'm daft, but I just don't understand how you judge newborn babies in a beauty competition.  Are the fat rolls on Serenity's legs just slightly smaller than her competitor's?  Give me a break.

I try really hard not to judge these Moms because we all do what we think is best for our little ones. I have to confess, though, I'm not a saint. Saying "when she gets a $2 million Hollywood contract I won't have to work anymore!" (yes that is a direct quote) makes me want to vomit. Your child is not a mealticket. She's hysterically crying because she just lost the competition. Please stop daydreaming about the fame that she will probably never experience, and comfort your daughter.

The episode got even worse, unfortunately.  Out came spray-tanned 3 year olds with fake teeth and wigs shaking their little diaper-clad booties in mini skirts and bikini tops.  A wink here.  A blown kiss there, all as the judges furiously wrote down notes and scores.  These malleable and vulnerable toddlers need to be told that perfect makeup, glittery outfits, and the presence or absence of stray eyebrow hairs are not criteria under which they should accept being judged by! 

Our little girls cannot speak for themselves; it's our job as Moms to do that.  So Mommas, I implore you...demand that your daughters be judged by the quality of their character, not the quality of their clothes. Insist that they are valued for their ideas and creativity, not their facial symmetry or hair style.  We should not accept the fact that nearly half of girls ages 3 to 6 worry about being fat.  We need to change this; it's up to us.

What Carina thinks of poofy dresses.  I don't think she would go very far in the pageant world.

What do you think of beauty pageants?  What sorts of activities do you think are good for developing self-esteem?

Photobucket

13 words of geekdom:

Kristin {Sea Cow Circus} said...

I was flipping through channels at the gym and watched part of that episode, too - it made me want to go home and just hug my daughter and swear off pageants forever. The one mom who didn't want her daughter to smile because she'd lost some teeth? Sigh. I don't want Elle to be caught up in any of that - she'll know her beauty, talent and worth every day, not just on pageant day or by how many crowns she's won.

Nikki said...

I can't agree more on that show. It makes me sick. The fake teeth, the extensions in the hair - how does that make a little girl feel good about herself if all they do is add fake things to her? I loved sports growing up. I played softball, and there was nothing like your teammates cheering you on - made me feel great about myself.

And I love that picture of Carina - all I can think of is "It's my party and I'll cry if I want to..." lol

Sweet Jo said...

I also find it appalling. And I completely love this post. OXOXOX

B.J. Caulfield said...

This show is appalling! On a different episode there was one mom who wanted a little girl solely so she could be Miss America some day. By the time that little girl gets to be of age she will probably despise her mother and be doing everything the opposite of what a goody goody pageant girl should be doing. :P

These mothers also seem to be forgetting about something called pedophiles. They're telling their daughters to shake their booties and wearing skimpy clothes seemingly unaware of all the sickos in the world.

The whole thing is just unbelievable.

Amy said...

OMG, those "stage moms" are terrible. Truly disgusting. I think they should have to parade up on stage in ridiculous outfits/makeup and do stupid dances. UGH!

For the record, I would never ever ever do that to either of my girls. I even thing those photo contests are a little goofy.

Kristin said...

EXCELLENT post. Yeah, I would never subject my daughters to that. It just BREEDS low self esteem. It was sad when one little girl didn't get anything at all, and even the girl that got like 8 trophies was unhappy because she didn't get the "princess bed." I like when schools/churches sponsor talent shows and can showcase what's special about them and they ALL when a different type of award. Kids need to know that they are special and unique in their own way.

With love, Chrancy said...

I agree, excellent post. I really, really, really dislike beauty pageants. I remember growing up, I would always get stuff in the mail talking about trying out for beauty pageants and I hated it. My mom and dad would ask me constantly if I was sure if I wanted to do. I didn't care for it much! I would rather be outside, riding my bike and playing with my brother.

I hate that show Toddlers and Tiaras. I WILL NEVER EVER put my daughter in that situation. I will never bring myself to do it. If she asks, okay sure...I will do it because it makes her happy. Anything she wants to do, I will support her but I won't do it because I want to "live vicariously" them like some of these moms do.

Emma said...

That is so wrong. We don't really have beauty pageants in the UK so I'm really pleased my little girl won't be exposed to that kind of thing. On this subject, I read a really good article the other day (here) about how as a society we push our daughters into valuing their looks above their intelligence, creativiy etc. Really interesting reading.

Kimberly said...

I have watched this show a few times. What always amazes me is when the judges say they're looking for the "total package". Apparently that consists of a wig, fake eyelashes, fake teeth, a fake tan, and a $3,000 dress but no humility, patience, or intelligence. Knowing that this is what is expected, I don't know how the moms can make the decision to compete and instill these "values" in their daughters.

Tottums said...

That show is such a train wreck. It's AWFUL, but once you see it, you can't look away. Like the annoying smelly pile of dishes in my kitchen sink, I try to pretend it's not there.

And OMG I love Carina's dress. Even if she didn't :)

Mama G said...

@Emma, what a great article! I find it comforting that at least someone out there gets it.

anonomity said...

I totally judge those moms. But that show is such a trainwreck, I can't turn away...

Sarah :) said...

I am totally fine with legitimate pageants for adults and maybe... *maybe*... even older girls (teenagers) who want to participate.

Toddlers & Tiaras is a whole different story, though. I can't watch. It's too upsetting to me.

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