Alright. It started with Dharma and Greg on WE. WE also has a show called Little Miss Perfect, about girls who are in beauty pageants. The ads that showed during Dharma and Greg sucked me in. Then I discovered Toddlers and Tiaras from TLC, which I’ve watched On Demand. There is apparently another show called Painted Babies, which I do not watch.
I’ll say, the shows have really changed my view of pageants. For good and for bad.
I typically would have thought of ALL children’s pagents to be similar to the pictures we saw of Jon-Binet Ramsey after she was murdered. You know – tons of makeup, fake eyelashes, etc.
But, as it turns out, there are all types of kids (really, parents) involved in pageants. There are parents who put their kids in fake hair, fake lashes, fake teeth, fake tans, and they just look overly made up and fake. They prance around in these unnatural walks and wear these ludicrous dresses that cost more than my mortgage payment. I disagree wholeheartedly with the decision to dress little kids up like this.
Then there are girls, at least portrayed by the shows as the majority, who look like little girls. Little girls who are all dressed up, yes, but still little girls. With some makeup.
And there are some girls (and parents) who get their dresses from Goodwill or Target, who don’t wear makeup, and who look like maybe they’re going to just any dress-up occasion.
It’s been interesting, watching these shows.
But I will say, I am struggling with whether I agree with the idea. If it’s appealing to the kids, then I guess it’s not that much different from any other competitive venture… yes, they’re being judged on their looks, but also on stage presence, etc. The girls who are strong stand to gain self-confidence, poise, stage presence, the ability to calm nerves, speak before a crowd, prepare for an event, set goals and achieve them, etc. My neices do dance, and they bare more and shake more at recitals than the girls in these pagents.
I know the general thinking is that it’s the mothers pushing their daughters into pageants… but, at least on the shows, that does not seem to be the case. In the heat of competition, I will say the camera recorded moments those mothers are probably embarrassed about. But no worse than things I have done when under pressure. One mom even went against the advice of the pageant director regarding her daughter’s outfit, because her daughter wanted to wear something the director did not like. He was pretty mean about it (“no, I will not negotiate with a five year old”), but the mother chose to view her daughter as a human with her own thoughts and opinions, and let her wear what she wanted. (They got 4th, girl was thrilled.)
But it just rubs me wrong… perhaps part of it is that, growing up here in the midwest, the pagean thing is pretty foreign. Or maybe it really is just wrong and I am being swayed by the siren song of the shows.