I’m sitting here watching Toddlers & Tiara’s on TLC. A child of 7 has just come off the stage after her bathing suit section of the pageant, she’s crying, in tears crying because she ‘messed up’. She is walking through the hotel where the pageant is being held, in her 2 piece swimsuit, complete with hair extensions, full make up & kids heels as if it’s a normal thing to do. Her 2 piece bathing suit looks like something you’d see a Las Vegas showgirl wearing. Actually, her whole look is that of a Las Vegas showgirl.
Her mother is trying to console her by reassuring her that she did well enough in other parts of the competition that this won’t count against her. Her father is telling her not to get upset because her hairy thingy fell out. His actual words, ‘hairy thingy’. I’m assuming he’s referring to her extensions.
I find these pageants really creepy. They’re creepy in The Shining twins kind of way, if the twins in The Shining wore too much make up, hair pieces, fake teeth (called ‘flippers’) & had a very strange walk (you know the one: skipping while bouncing imaginary basketballs in each hand). The episode I am watching shows these 6, 7 & 8 year old’s getting spray tans in the days leading up to the events. On the actual day, these kids were getting prepared at 5 am. I don’t have kids, but I remember being one & getting up at 5 am was not something I would have ever signed up for…unless of course it was Christmas morning.
The thing I noticed the most about the episode was the parents, erm, the mothers, saying how much their kids ‘enjoyed’ doing pageants. These were the mothers of the 6 – 8 year old’s. There were also babies entered into the competition, yes, babies, as in under 12 months old. These babies were dressed in clothes like the older kids, but without the hair, make up & flippers. I really would have loved to see those mothers tell us ‘oh they love it!’ too – like they have any choice.
You know these are the kids who will eventually end up as that 7 year old, running off through the hotel lobby and crying because her ‘hairy thingy’ fell out. It’s rare you’ll find a little girl who really wants to be judged on her looks, heck, you’ll rarely find a grown woman who wants to be judged on her looks either, but this is all these pageants do. They don’t build confidence, they don’t make the child a better person, they just make these kids aware at a younger age that they will be judged so you best hide all your flaws & you best do it quick. Good job moms!
*Click Here to read Kathy Ward’s pro-pageant interview