What I can never, ever deem okay is the sickening weirdness of child pageantry. Parents (mostly mothers) who paint hooker makeup on their 6 year old, give her giant fake curls and extensions, slap on some fake teeth, put her in a bikini and shove her out on a stage to be judged by a bunch of weirdos - when did this become a standard practice? Who was the first person to say, “You know what might be fun? Exploiting little gals and making em dance around for us!” I am far too lazy to do research into the history of child pageants, but suffice it to say it’s probably nauseating.
These shows like Toddlers in Tiaras show the ins and outs of this strange strange world, and the few episodes I’ve managed to stomach are just too disturbing to make me a consistent fan. I don’t judge those who do watch - I happily view many other train wreck shows (Intervention, Hoarders…god bless you A&E), but for some reason seeing these little brats prance around and do awkward dances or singing is just too horrifying for me. I’m not sure why it affects me so - maybe because they feature parents who are supposed to help and guide their children through life, and instead they’re instilling body image issues onto these little kids? Maybe because they’re proudly spending thousands of dollars to dress these girls in slutty costumes?
To the parents who say it’s good for them, builds skills, it’s a positive social experience…I say, what in the fuck are you talking about? Throwing your daughter up on a stage, pitting her against other girls, forcing her to directly compare her self worth and beauty to the others around her, and having the outcome tied directly to a fucking prize? Are you kidding? They’re jumping on the lady oppression bandwagon really early in life, and it’s weird and sad to watch these baby girls be turned into competing women way too soon. And to all the parents who say, “She wants to do it! I just can’t stop her, she loves it!” Here’s a tip for you: Just. Fucking. Say. No. You. Can’t. Be. In. A. Pageant. I. Am. The. Parent. The. End.
Because she can't afford these trashy ruffles, orange earrings, self-tanner, lip liner, lipstick, eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara, fake lashes, and fake teeth on her own. I promise.
Not to make any sweeping generalizations about certain parts of the country, but I’ve never seen a baby pageant queen from non-Bible-belt territory. The Midwest and South really seem to have the edge on this trashy business. I guess it’s naïve to think that these pageants don’t occur in the Northeast or West Coast as well, but I just don’t think they’re as big of a deal. It is a bona fide industry in these good ol’ homegrown red states. It’s funny that the people who are sexualizing their daughters extremely young and letting them prance around in glitzy skank outfits - outfits sometimes identical to those of a Vegas showgirl - are the same ones voting to diminish women’s rights over their bodies. (Okay, I’m sure there are a few liberal pageant moms here and there, but…come on.) It makes perfect sense, really - these people have already determined that girls are just objects for you to stare at, not to think about as actual human beings who may have rights and values. Bleh.
And so I urge you, all 10 people reading this, to never allow a daughter of yours to enter a child beauty pageant. Don’t worry. She’ll learn that pretty people win and that hating other women is a part of life soon enough.