Daily Archives: January 27, 2010

The shame of child beauty pageants

Want to enter your little girl in a beauty pageant?

Top 10 List of What Every Pageant Girl Needs

By Michael Galanes

1. Good hair spray (or a personal hair and make-up artist) to create that PERFECT look.

2. An amazing photograph to sign for all her fans and ex-boyfriends to eat his heart out.

3. Beautiful gown to sparkle on stage.

4. Bright smile to out sparkle her evening gown.

5. An articulate and thoughtful interview to impress even the most impressive panel of judges.

6. Pretty casual outfit/cocktail dresses for appearances, parades and special events.

7. Develop, maintain and cherish her group of friends with whom to enjoy the pageant journey.

8. A pageant coach to keep her on her toes.

9. A collection of clear caboodles in all sizes to properly pack all that is needed for the pageant journey.

10. The proper perspective to keep her pageant involvement in tact. Pageant outcomes do not define her worth, her heart does!

You’d think this list was for older teenagers, wouldn’t you? Would you believe this is from the host of “Little Miss Perfect” on the We Channel?

Galanes continues with pageant tips:

Little girls experience the thrill of competition!

Little girls make friends that last a lifetime.

Little girls learn to win and not win in a gracious manner.

Little girls learn stage presence, communication skills and self confidence.

Little girls are able to spend quality time with family and friends.  

He is not talking about teenagers. These are LITTLE girls from about the ages of 6 to 10 give or take a year or two. If this is too old for you, there is now Toddlers and Tiaras. 

There is sooooooo much wrong with this scene it is difficult to know where to begin. #2 above is so contemptible there is nothing that can be said.  I’ve watched a couple of these programs. I’ve watched the girls have melt downs after hours  of practice. I’ve watched the mothers “play” dress up with their living dolls while the little girls complain of being hurt while their hair is being teased so high. The mother says, “You are about 98% perfect. Is that good enough?”  To which the little girls shouts “NO!”

Parents are paying for choreographers, hair stylists, manicurists for fake nails, dress makers, coaches, make-up artists, dentists, and who knows what else. They spray tans on their little girls. No one knows what that is doing to their skin and lungs. If they don’t want to use chemicals, they let them tan naturally and deliberately in the sun. This is at the time when doctors are trying to get older girls and young women to stay out of the sun. These mothers are offering their little girls to Shake and Bake!

What is this doing to the psyche of the little girls? What happens when the little girl loses? On one episode, it was the mother who sobbed. “What didn’t we do right?” The little girl was stoic.

Some of these girls have entered so many contests there is no more room in their bedrooms for all the trophies. If they place in the finals, the trophies are sometimes taller than they are. So much attention placed on them is a mighty hard burden to have to carry.

Galanes says the little girls gain self confidence. That is debateable. What happens if they lose more than they win? Seems to me like their confidence would be going down the tube very quickly. What happens to the little pageant  girls who judge every other little girl in their classes on physical appearance only? We already have an overload of young teenage girls who do that to the “B or C or NO list” girls anyway.

To pit these little girls against each other is a crime. Galanes says the girls learn to win and lose in a gracious manner. In some countries losing face (which is certainly what is happening to these girls) is enough to cause some people to commit suicide…and we are asking toddlers to teens to go month after month knowing not everyone will win.

There is the aspect of acceptance of not being perfect. During the years that little girls have missing teeth, dentists have developed something called a “flipper” which the girls wear in their mouths to show a perfect set of ADULT teeth in their undersized mouths…all pearly white and shining. Using flippers to replace a permanent tooth is one thing. These flippers cover all the teeth at a cost, according to the conversation, of around $500.00.

All the girls learn to sassy walk. That’s just a little less offensive term to describe what burlesque queens used to do on stage in front of leering men. The girls are taught how to swing their hips and wiggle their bottoms to be sassy. The dictionary does not list the most recent definition as it is used on these shows. The term now means blatantly sexy. Of course we wouldn’t use the term “sexy” to describe little girls, now would we?

There’s the question part of the show. One little girl was asked what she would do if she had all the money in the world. Her reply was “I’d go shopping for earrings and jewelry and clothes. I wouldn’t need them but I want them.” Can we say future compulsive shopper here?

The south seems to be particularly fond of beauty pageants. A show I watched yesterday featured three families from towns all within a fifteen minute to two hour drive from Fort Worth. Other families have been highlighted from Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, etc.

Little girls have been playing dress-up for years, but the important term is playing. Hours and hours of practice, strutting their “stuff” improperly, being harangued when they make mistakes, learning that the only important aspect of them is their physical artificial “beauty”….that’s not playing. That’s being subjected to child abuse with consequences too sad to even contemplate. I guess childhood is no longer considered an important phase of growing. Namaste. Attic Annie

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