Monday, February 7, 2011

Toddlers, Tiaras and Tyrannical mommies

My hub would testify in court that he thinks I am a reality TV junkie. In my defense, I do enjoy the Office, The Middle, Law and Order, etc. But TLC and Bravo tend to be my go-to stations. I don't watch or follow soap operas, but The Real Housewives are close to the "soap opera" type category. One show that is particularly similar to a nine-car pile up during rush hour traffic is the show Toddlers and Tiaras. If you're unfamiliar, the show chronicles tiny tot beauty pageants. It follows the plight of the stage mommies, as their little girls, from birth (yes, BIRTH) to 10, 11, 12 years of age practice their routines, get spray tans, don veneers, endure the application of fake eyelashes, and cavort around in costumes that resemble lingerie I received at my bachelorette party. TLC had a marathon of the show on yesterday, and I caught some snippets. Now, I realize that many, many, many of these little girls WANT to do these pageants and enjoy it. I am by no means saying that all of these little girls are forced to be a part of this against their will. There are two sides to this coin, but I take issue with both sides. Let's start with the easy one- the poor, tiny little girls who don't truly want to participate or are too young to let their opinion be known. One mother entered her 2 year old in a pageant. This beautiful little girl endured extensive make up application-specifically, bright blue glitter eyeshadow for her "Little Boy Blue" talent performance. Then, her mama walked her on stage, positioned her for her talent performance. Music started, baby girl just sat there. Mom proceeded to holler "encouragement" from the audience, "Get up! Stand up! Come on!" Then, baby girl started to cry. What does mama do? She gets up on stage, talks to her daughter, then leaves her daughter on stage, still crying, in hopes that she'll get it together and start performing. Did I mention this girl is 2??? Finally, the mama took the girl off the stage. It was painful to see, and it hurt my heart to watch. I'm not proud of watching, but like I said, it was like a car wreck- hard to look away. I don't need to say much more about what's wrong with that picture, do I?
Now let's talk about the little girls who want to be a part of the pageants. That is a different story, but one I still find fault with. I have two nieces, one of whom is the ultimate princess lover, the other who is the ultimate shoe lover. Shoe-lover is not even two- and my sister is NOT one to push gender stereotypes on her kids. Her girls are who they are, and they like what they like. I get that. But something seems terribly wrong with 5,6,7 year olds dressed up to look as if they are in their late teens- from how their hair is done, to their make up, their costumes, and don't get me started on their "dances". Something is terribly wrong with these little girls focused on "winning" trophies based.on.their.looks. Something is terribly wrong with the way these little girls are treated like superstars, or mini-goddesses by their parents. Something is terribly wrong with little girls being sexualized. And that is the crux of these little girl pageants. Five year olds aren't supposed to have perfect teeth, even tans, and voluptuously luxurious eyelashes. There are already too many pressures on girls today- we know that. What happened to balance? What happened to letting little girls play dress up, without teaching them that they main thing they have to offer the world is how they look? (after adjusting, squeezing, tweezing, and lacquering over their natural beauty of course.) I could go on and on, but the heart of the matter is this- I wish for a world in which all little girls, teenagers and young women are focused more on how they can work to improve our world and improve their hearts, rather than be preoccupied from the tender preschool age with shaking their recently potty trained tooshies on stage for trophies.

No comments:

Post a Comment