Reading about the 10-year old Thylane Blondeau yesterday, I stumbled upon a few comments stating the outrageous pictures were no different than 'Toddlers and Tiaras'. That was the first time I heard of this pageant.
Here in Ukraine, or in Russia (we have lots of Russian TV channels here as well) no such shows exist. So that was something new to me. But not the pleasant kind of new, rather the disappointing "what's the world comming to" kind if new. Sad, really. I didn't think such child abuse would be on tv anywhere around the globe, but... I was wrong. Apparently theres no age limit to how early one can start wrecking their offspring's life...
And one would think a more 'puritanic' society like USA would be less prone to such aggressive sexualization of preteens, but the opposite is true. Go to church in the morning, dress your 2-year-old-daughter like a tramp in the afternoon. No problem. As long as you hang a huge cross on top of the dress. There! just what Jesus would have done!
Absolutely have to be 'the best'
I am not a supporter of competitions in general. I just don't think its the only motivator for perfection. If you like something - you will not only want, but enjoy perfecting your skills at this. And if you don't - why competing at it? Leave it alone and find your joy in life. That's my philosophy.
Instead of sending children to all sorts of competitions and pageants, I'd vote for hobbies of all sorts, different clubs where children can learn something, explore something together, play together, develop their communicative skills and find real friends, not competitors.
Yes, somebody will win a pageant, but what about the 90% of those, who won't? They've worked so hard for that and they have to hear 'you're not the best, she is better than you'. I feel sorry for those kids who have to taste the bitterness of defeat so early in life. Yes, disappointment is a part of life and your child will eventually be exposed to a great deal of it throughout their adult life, but do you have to make a 'shock treatment' for them even earlier that it would have happened naturally? Don't you want them to have a happy childhood? At least childhood.
Apparently, not. Because you have children to make your life more entertaining, their own well-being is secondary. And yes, you like saying to yourself that your kid is enjoying it. But are you being honest? A kid naturally wants to please their parents, to gain their love and approval. A kid depends on you totally, and you are abusing that dependency.
Toddlers and tiaras
What bothers me even more is what parents are doing to their children: dying their hair, shaving their legs, spray tanning them, putting a heavy make-up on their fresh young faces, applying fake long nails...
It seems like these peoples ideal of child beauty is a Barbie doll! Frankly, I wish they had dolls instead of children. Maybe advance kind of dolls, who could move and talk and 'put some moves on', but dolls - who didn't have their own wishes, dreams and inclinations, and who didn't have a childhood to loose. Dolls whose whole purpose of existence would be to let their parents live through them, to make their mommies and daddies proud of their achievements. To make their parents believe as though they've accomplished something great if their doll wins in a doll beauty pageant.
Instead of looking as little barbies, many overstyled girls end up resembling 40-year-old dwarfs. (Sorry to all people with this condition)
Fresh, cute, innocent, adorable little princesses are willfully made ugly by their own parents.
What's great about a 6-year-old styled as a 30-year-old? Have you ever seen mature women wearing teenage outfit and piggy tails, pretending to be 15? That creates a similar impression. Ugly, disgusting, disturbing, perverted, silly, and if nothing else - it's just plain tasteless!
And if with mature women we may think its sick but its their own business that they prefer to go crazy this way, with children, who can not make an informed decision themselves yet, we rightfully blame parents for imposing their twisted beauty ideals on their children, for sexualizing them and making them compete for something they would in fact want for themselves. Fame, beauty, money - if I can't get it myself, at least I'll try and maybe get it through my kid!
Little girls in underwear swimming suits
And what's with the toddlers in swimsuits? I realize teens and mature women look different in swimsuits, you can judge their hips shape, the length and shape of their legs, their waist line... What are you looking for on a 6 year old girl? What are you suppose to 'judge' on her pre-pubescent body? That a child has 2 legs, 2 arms and a head? I don't know, it's just weird, why do you even have to see little kids in swimsuits???
As long as the pageant is - supposedly - for children, why not approach it from a different standpoint rather than make little ones do the things that were initially meant for grown up contestants?
At least let children look like children
For example, I stumbled upon the pictures from one Russian pageant for kids.
It's a totally diferent story. No porcelain-doll faces, no 'dwarfs' dancing in french maid costumes, just children as they are in real life: performing in plays, dancing, reciting poems... No heavy make-up. Thats great already. In fact, maybe thats the most important thing.
Look and see for yourself. First a girl from the American show:
And now from the Russian pageant:
and more to compare. this victim of show-biz
with this normal, cute kid
and the last examples to compare these girls
to this one
If some people do not see the beauty in children the way they are, i think its not the chldren who should 'get fixed'. It's the grown ups.