Win or no candy for you

My last post dealt with the possible insanity of pushing out 8 babies at once (I’m exhausted just thinking about it). One argument is: Will she be able to provide enough emotional care that the babies grow up “normally”? The concern is that she’s got too many children and not enough love and attention to go around. I think that’s actually a valid concern.

But there’s the other end of the spectrum. The moms who have only one child and are living their lives through them. For instance, this new show on WE: Little Miss Perfect.

It’s about pageant moms and their little doll babies, er, I mean, daughters. The young girls who are dressed up like grown women and trotted from pageant to pageant and forced to perform like trained dogs1. They start these girls at as young as 18 months old with their makeup and posing and… ugh. Look at some of the responses to criticism in their forum.

Mothers of these toddlers say they do it because their children want to. Whee!! An 18 month-old child said “Mommy, I want to go be in a pageant where I can wow everyone with my grown-up style and poise. And don’t forget to do my hair.”2 What? A child still in diapers, barely off the teat, is going to decide this? Really?3

I saw previews for this show and there was a mother who declared “Anyone who doesn’t like us is just jealous because their kid isn’t as pretty as mine” (or some such similar shit). Another mother was helping her daughter learn to pose in just a swim suit. All the mothers showcased were shown standing in front of their made-up daughters coaching them on their facial expressions. These tiny little girls were being primed for the stage where they would compete with other little girls to see who was the “prettiest” (in their done-up hair, fake lashes, and adult-style makeup).

Sorry, I forgot the “talent” portion, where each one could showcase their own talents– while in “costume”. Pfft.

So, I was thinking, through my disgust and animosity, could it be true that some of these girls are really doing what they want? Maybe at 5, 6, 7 years old. I can see that. 18 months or 2 years? What the hell do babies know about this kind of shit? They want to play and pretend and learn to be preschoolers. If they do play dress-up it’s because they’re emulating their mamas, not because they want to prance around a stage looking way too grown up.

But the thing that got into my head and just won’t leave is the danger these tiny tots are facing from pedophiles. About 5 years ago I had another blog and I had written a post about people who call themselves “minor attracted adults”: pedophiles who were organizing online4. They would surf the net looking for pictures of cute little kids– some preferred that the kids be in diapers– and share them with their cohorts as if the pictures were good porn. To these fuckheads, the pics were porn. Anyway, these guys move from site to site5 and share fantasies about little kids and stories about what they’ve done to little kids and how they love pageants.

I just can’t get past that fact. These little girls are getting made up to look sexy and learning how to walk just-so and then fucking pedophiles are watching the shows. Makes my skin crawl just thinking about it. I know these guys are going to go about their sleazy business no matter if these girls are in pageants or not, but the thought of them drooling over these kids just makes me want to blow someone’s flippin’ balls off. Sorry.

Anyway, the mothers kill me when they say their toddlers were so insistent and they just wouldn’t be refused. They would rather get up early for “practice” then drive all over hell and back to compete– oftentimes losing (because there’s only one winner)– and feeling bad because they didn’t live up to their mother’s expectations. Their mothers become disappointed because they’re still not winners and then the girls have to do it all again another day. Bah!

I look at my beautiful 4 year-old and watch her trying to learn Hannah Montana dances. She does pretty good too. I could ask her if she wants to compete, but I know the minute she notices I’m watching she’s going to stop. Because she doesn’t want the audience. Maybe I should have tapped into her talent when she was just learning to walk. I’d probably be rich by now. Except Lil’lady would’ve gotten bored and I would’ve been all “Ok. Wanna learn to paint?” and that I’d still not have realized the glory I could have had if my mother would have put my sorry ass in a pageant. Ya know?

Why won’t my children become famous so I too can be famous? Don’t they know I’ve dreamed of their stardom my entire life? sob

That’s what I imagine most of these mothers are feeling. Just like the sports parent who pushes their kid to perform and aim for the big leagues. They failed, so their children mustn’t. Having dreams is good but forcing your child to have your dreams isn’t.

I think I’d feel differently about these pageants (and the sports thing) if the kids were older and actually had the time and inclination to make the decision that this is what they wanted to do with all of their free time. Kids that young want to be Tasha from the Backyardigans and Dora the Explorer, for fuck’s sake. After that they want to be fairy princesses or, in the case of Lil’lady right now, get drinks for people at a restaurant (where her sister works). The little kids in these pageants are living the dreams their mothers have forced on them. What happens when one of these girls grows up and decides she wants to be a ranch hand (or soldier or police officer)? Is mommy’s head going to implode from yet another disappointment? One can only hope, right?

I imagine that a lot of these girls are going to have extra self-esteem issues when they reach adolescence. Many of them will lose their cuteness (they’re not babies anymore, afterall) and no one will “oh” and “ah” over them anymore. They’ll be average for the first time in their lives. After years of their identity being based on how well they did in the pageants they’ll no doubt have an extra hard time finding their true selves. Until they have their own babies and start living their lost dreams through them. Ugh.6

P.S.

When I was 3 I decided I was Barry Manilow’s wife. Maybe if my mother would have pushed me a little harder…

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  1. I’m a little biased, can you tell? []
  2. Probably not. I’m exaggerating, but their mothers insist they do it for the girls and not for themselves. []
  3. This one was 8 months old when she decided she wanted to do pageants. []
  4. I didn’t migrate most of the posts from there to here. []
  5. As they get shut down at one place, they move to another []
  6. Then there’s the whole gender stereotype enforcement thing. I’m running out of time for this post, but feel free to discuss that issue in the comments. []

I like geeky stuff, politics, squirrels and monkeys.

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