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Toddler Beauty Pagents for Babies…or Babes?


Beauty pageants have been around for decades and in most cases the tradition is passed down from mothers to their daughters.  In some families this is an honor and a dream for most little girls to compete in a pageant based on their beauty -  to win crowns that barely fit on their tiny little heads. Televised adult pageants are watched by millions of viewers every year, and the winners are portrayed as beautiful, talented, and graceful women that little girls watching dream to become one day.  Some never actually enter in any pageants, just dream to be that women on stage one day.  Then there are some that pursue that dream, as young as 6 months – without their consent.  Their mothers put them in pageants before they can walk and are trained to become beauty queens.

In recent years this trend has gotten mass media coverage from reality shows like “Toddlers & Tiaras” on TLC, and Vh1′s “Little Beauties”.   From “natural” pageants to the infamous “Glitz” pageants they film from behind the scenes and the actual pageant. Focusing on particular toddlers or young girls with larger than life personalities, the shows exploit them at their worst moments, and show their mothers being too pushy and sometimes down right cruel all for the  crown.  When they don’t win (or get what they want), some little girls verbally and physically abuse their parents and other contestants.  Some mothers go as far as feeding their toddlers “pixie stix”  all day long, or even actual coffee to “hype them up” during the pageant. These parents will go through extreme lengths to get that crown, and nothing will get in the way of winning it. Some think the parents of these little girls are using them to live vicariously through them, somehow fulfilling their own childhood fantasies.

Mackenzie (pictured above) is one of the shows most popular tots.  She’s clearly not shy when it comes to speaking her mind, and knows who’s boss in her home -  she is.  Her mother seems to roll her eyes anytime her daughter basically walks all over her, demanding respect and to treat her like the “princess she is”.  Some question the show, and not the parents…are they exploiting these children? Or are the parents, who sign off their rights to air all their dirty laundry on national television show?

The shows include “natural” pageants which feature infants to teens competing without any enhancements.  They also follow the “glitz” competitors, which even as infants wear dresses that cost over $800, flippers that start at $200, make-up and hair $150-250 (not including the hair piece which can go anywhere from $30 to $3,000) and spray tanning.  Some even have their toddler or child wax their eyebrows while they scream and cry in pain.

What is your opinion on this?  Would you consider it child abuse? Or just another sport, as most mothers in this “sport” would like to call it.  Don’t get me wrong, some of these infants and toddlers clearly love competing in these events, and actually show true excitement during the entire process.  They are ecstatic to show off their talents and wear “princess” like dresses.  However, those particular little girls usually win every time and who doesn’t like winning?

My other question is… the heavy make up they cake onto these toddlers faces, making them look like 20 year old women with a toddlers body.  Does this disturb you? Or do you think it’s adorable and just another “sport”.   Thinking back on stories like Joan Bennett Ramsey, the infamous murder of a child beauty pageant contestant, murdered with allegations it was a pedophile that watched her at her pageants. True or untrue, doesn’t that scare these mothers?

Should these “glitz” pageants be illegal?  Is this encouraging pedophilia? Or is it all in just good fun? Exploiting our babies to the world in what most would say “stripper” like outfits and more make up than I personally would wear to a club?  Are we saying it’s OK to turn our babies in to “hot babes” as infants? I’d say so.

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9 Responses to “Toddler Beauty Pagents for Babies…or Babes?”

  1. GDK says:

    I find these shows totally disturbing and completely exploitive. These kids aren’t given a choice and they are not given a chance to be kids. There’s nothing childlike about makeup, spraytans and waxing.

  2. birdie says:

    the things these mothers do to put their children in pageants, is so horrible. 3 yr olds should not be made up to look like they’re in their mid twenties. they’re way too young to decide this on their own. and half the time they grow up being pretentious and rude bc from a young age they were pushed to fit a certain mold. blah.

    love u ginger <3

  3. Jessica says:

    i love how little girls do pageants but i do think the fake teeth and spray tans are alittle much

  4. antonia says:

    Even as a teenager, I never thought “beauty pageants” were valid. I always felt that its just another way to exploit girls (and women), and place sex and looks over substance and character. Now that very young children are being forced to behave as grown women, I am horrified. However, I have watched Toddlers and Tiaras; its like watching a train wreck. Its so bizarre, I can’t turn the channel until I see the smart little precocious preschooler have a meltdown and throw a huge tantrum. The thing that bothers me the most is encouraging young girls to behave in “mature” sexy ways, even in a talent contest. Come to think of it, the boys that are put on display do not seem to be expected to shake their butts and blow kisses.
    When my daughter was pre-teen, she tried to talk me into letting her enter a pageant, and she didn’t understand my philosophy then, but now that she is a grown mother herself, I think she gets it.

  5. Joan says:

    Excellent article! The adults vicariously living out their own fantasies through their children is well supported in this post. Innocent children are victims of a hyper sexualized pop culture…and children will do anything to get their parents’ love. Females as sex objects, create fleeting positive emotions and inner emptiness…

  6. nancy says:

    I think that these children are being exploited and these pagents should not be allowed! Sure every little girl likes to play dress up and who hasn’t gotten into their mothers make-up! BUT, when it becomes the parents need for them to win and the child becomes violent towards others then they both need help.

  7. Joolz says:

    I personally don’t get it… How can parents treat their babies like they do dressing them as adults. Thank goodness it’s not an obsession here in Australia like it is in America. Here we have baby contests where babies are naturally presented for their best smiles or their cutest look, not made up barbie dolls prancing around stages. Congratulations on a well written article..

  8. Claris Louise says:

    This push to make children look like adults has been around a long time. Remeber the suit, and necktie on the two year old boy back in the 50′s? What is that all about?

  9. Mark says:

    It is unreasonable to expect children to know right from wrong when a parent would DO this to their own.

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