Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Of Course You're Pretty, Tiffany, Now Shut Up and Put in Your Fake Teeth

I need to find a doctor who can give me a quick brain-scrub, because my mind, or what passes for it, has been polluted beyond all hope.  A few nights ago I walked into the bedroom, where Theresa was watching a reality show entitled Toddlers and Tiaras.  On this show, girls between the ages of three and fifteen dress up like cheap Vegas prostitutes, prance around the stage, and are evaluated by a panel of judges who proclaim one child as the "Most Beautiful."  I thought about including a few pictures to help make the point, but I figured it's a bad idea to have little girls in evening gowns and swimwear on my computer.

I have a lot of problems with these "pageants", but the main one is that the kids are distorted beyond all recognition.  First of all, it isn't just girls dressing up in fancy clothes.  This is serious competition, so the parents pull out all stops to ensure that their little princess won't be dubbed a pathetic loser.  This includes applying a coat of "spray-on tan" because some girls have pale skin and freckles, and that just won't do.

I was watching one of the contestants, an eleven year old girl who looked about nineteen, and I noticed that in addition to her burnt sienna complexion, her smile looked a bit wonky.  Theresa explained to me that the girls sometimes wear "flippers", which are fake teeth that they stick in front of their real ones.  Well, this girl must've gotten a set that was a few sizes too big, because the overall effect was "The Joker in drag."

This must do wonders for the kids' self-image.  Nothing emphasizes "inner beauty" like fake teeth and a coat of paint.

Oh, but it gets worse.  The kids don't just march across the stage, they're encouraged to (and I think this is an official pageant instruction), "work it, girl."  A four-year old, mimicking her mother who stood off-stage, actually licked her finger and then touched her butt with it, as if to say, "Ooooh, that's sizzlin'!"  SHE'S NOT EVEN IN KINDERGARTEN YET!  Other toddlers, always copying Mom, engaged in shaking the booty, riding the pony, and other decidedly un-toddler-like gesticulations.  It looked like they were auditioning for "Honey, I Shrunk the Stripper." 

One mother, in a fleeting moment of common sense, mentioned that she wasn't comfortable with her four-year old "going on stage in a bikini, because you don't know who's looking."  Well, how about that, the voice of reason.  She discussed it with her husband and friends, and after a few minutes they made a sadly predictable decision.  Precious Tiffany wore the bikini.  I guess they discovered that one of her opponents was taking the stage in an OshKosh thong and a set of "Baby's First Hooters". 

None of the parents on Toddlers and Tiaras seem like they're playing with a full set of Tinker Toys.  Generally speaking, there are two types of pageant-parents.  First, you have the stage moms who competed in beauty pageants themselves, but have now reached the age where no one wants to see them in a bikini any longer.  Liposuction, plastic surgery, botox, none of it has worked.  So now they focus on destroying their daughters.  At the other end of the spectrum, there are the redneck parents who are just trying to convince themselves that Betty Sue with the hunchback has a lucrative modeling career ahead of her. 

And the things these parents say.  "We gotta get 'Most Beautiful' this time.  Are you sure you put on enough eye shadow?" 

"Flippers!  Where are her flippers?!  We can't let her go on stage with her own teeth!" 

"Work it, Betty Sue!  Shake that fanny!"

These idiots make Balloon Boy's folks look like Mike and Carol Brady.

Lest you think the competition is all about looks, there is also a talent component.  Some girls dance, some girls sing, but once again, there are limits. I'm willing to concede that pole dancing is a talent, but NOT WHEN YOU'RE SIX!

Pageants are just creepy and in my opinion, damaging to kids.  No three- or four-year old ASKS to participate in these things, they're just being put on display so Mom and Dad feel better about themselves.  Pageants should be illegal, like dog-fighting.  Of course, parents would probably take the show underground, and hold pageants in abandoned warehouses or the basement of Chuck E. Cheese.  Brad Pitt and Edward Norton could host.  "The first rule of Pageant Club is you DO NOT talk about Pageant Club."

Until then, we're stuck with Toddlers in Tiaras, working to build a future generation of Hooters waitresses, Vegas showgirls, and trailer-park floozies.


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35 comments:

Christine Gram said...

Yuck. Sounds exactly as sick as dog fighting. Worse actually. Poor kids.

Kathy said...

Amen. It should be illegal. The one time I got sucked into it, like a car wreck. One fair-skinned girl was made to go back to the tanning sprayer about six times. Mother kept saying "Again." over and over. Ugh. That's some disgusting "entertainment" show, right there.

M.J. said...

I somehow feel like a less well adjusted woman even just knowing that show exists. Disgusting.

Grumpy, M.D. said...

Good post. I think this shit is just child abuse, and should be banned. It's not about the kids at all, but just selfish parents.

Moooooog35 said...

Parents are supposed to torture their children.

It's OUR JOB.

Eric said...

This is criminally hilarious. It really shouldn't be funny I guess, since it's so true. But if you ever wonder where idiotic parents come from, there's your answer. Poor kids growing up in a warped household to become warped idiotic adults.

Christine said...

I am with you. It isn't cute. It is sick and disturbing.

Michelle H. said...

I've seen some of that show. It's disgusting. But what's worse is the mothers' justifications for their own actions. They are too quick to point out that they're not dressing up their girls to fulfill their own dreams of stardom. They say their daughters WANT to do this.

Yeah... right. Tell it to the little girl who wasn't old enough to be in grade school yet. She didn't know what the crud was going on. Ugh! Completely agree with you on this one.

Quirkyloon said...

*thud*

Suldog said...

This show is, without even a shadow of a doubt, the most despicable program on American television.

(I used to think WIFE SWAP held that title, but... well, OK, maybe a shadow of a doubt exists.)

Anyway, you showed admirable restraint. I would have had to have broken out an arsenal of obscenities the like of which would have made a longshoreman blush crimson. The audience is women and pedophiles. And I don't understand the women, not even a tiny little bit. De Gustibus Non Est Disputadum, as my grandfather used to say whenever he was arrested for shaving the neighbor's hamsters, but not in this case.

Just hideous.

Jeff said...

I think it might not be so bad if they incorporate some of the aspects of the Westminster Dog Show, such as dressing the kids up like toy poodles. That way, at least, the kids will have a little dignity left.

Expat From Hell said...

Something about reading your excellent take on this latest perversion of reality television, then following Suldog and Jeff in the commentary. Kind of like following Ruth, Mantle, and DiMaggio. This is what blogging is for, and you are doing your part in exposing the dirty underpants of this society. As my "down under" friends used to say, good on you. EFH

Grumpy Old Ken said...

I'd like to think were not so soft in the head over here but you never know. Excellent blog.

IT said...

Shaved Hamsters WBAGNFARB

The ol' squirrel cage is spinning 98.6 MPH, but I may get a complete thought out here.
Ever since so-called adults started meddling in kids fun and started organizing the play of children, it has ceased to be fun... for the kids. If you really want to get to the source of this evil, "follow the money."

It is really a cryin' shame that we can't do something constructive for kids instead of the crap we allow to happen. If we could be as passionate about the treatment of children as were are about defenseless animals wouldn't this be a better world?

rena said...

There are a lot of things that are "girly" that I hate on principle, probably because I can't do any of them. I am bitter, lonely bitch.

Child pageants, though, are another thing entirely. I know my opinions on this are thoroughly condescending. They're going to remain so. I judge this phenomenon and the adults involved. I judge harshly.

ReformingGeek said...

Pathetic.

Eva Gallant said...

I totally agree; I watched Toddlers and Tiaras a couple of times and could not believe those parents!!! Dr. Phil did a segment about them, and the moms were in complete denial. "Oh, Chelsea just LOVES to compete in pagents. It's what she's wanted to do since she was two!" yeah, right.

Happy Vegemite said...

Not living in the US, I have, thankfully, never seen the show in question.

To add to the notion that your child is not beautiful enough as they are, you can have your child's beauty pageant photo retouched. I guess it is supposed to be a good thing if your child looks like a plastic doll instead of a real child? http://www.photoretouchinglab.com/miss-teen-usa-pageant-photo-retouch-online-glitz.html

screwdestiny said...

Definitely agree that it should be illegal. Everything you described was disgusting. I also think you should have to pass some kind of test to be a parent.

Beth said...

I've only seen the previews to this show... but it seems twisted. And sad.

Brndoutw8ress said...

Ok I know I'm a day late but I had to comment on this post. I have watched this show on several occasions; it's like a train wreck I have to watch it even though it disgusts me to no end. I'm all for having competition for kids to improve self-esteem but this pagent business is nuts! These little girls are being paraded around like strippers 3 times their age. It is sickening how some of these parents act and don't even get me started on the amount of money they spend on these things. It is just plain crazy; and I think they should just let kids be kids, crooked toothless kids!

Jenn Thorson said...

It does make you wonder what's happened to us. Pressure to be a knockout at three, washed up by 20, and thinking every social car accident is the perfect idea for a highly-viewed reality program.

unfinishedrambler said...

One of the many reasons my wife and I don't have cable...

...we only have the Internet, which, in comparison is much better. ;)

Actually we do read some, watch movies from Netflix, mostly classics, and, even once in a while play board games or cards.

Christy said...

Isn't that show sick?? I always see them make fun of it on The Soup. It's just creepy.

Jen said...

Just like Dog Fighting.

Fake teeth? Geez.

Jules said...

My husband and I are at a crossroads. We do not know whether to laugh or weep, but "Honey I Shrunk the Stripper" wins. We laugh. And we thank you for that!

Mary@Holy Mackerel said...

I admit that I have watched this show, but when I do (which is rarely), I feel sick to my stomach. Those poor poor kids.

Jenn said...

I'm all for Pageant Club but I think it should be the parents in the ring and not the poor kids. I mean after all someone has to parade around with the Round Number sign right?

The very existence of this show makes me question humanity. Seriously.

Chrissy said...

I can't get enough of this show. The parents are so frightening.

Phillipia said...

Little Miss Sunshine:)

Phillipia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MikeWJ at Too Many Mornings said...

Our society is schizo. We treat kids like porn stars, and porn stars like saints.

Mariann Simms said...

I just always wondered if some pedophile invented this pageant. I mean, c'mon, someone needs to find out who hosted the first one...guaranteed he's got some kiddie porn on his computer.

I've never seen this show - but I'm sure it's like the whole JonBenet Ramsey thing...which I found repulsively deplorable.

And it is like they are little tarts...anyone who dolls up their kids like that and has them sashaying around like they're on a street corner in LA need to be whisked off to a couch somewhere in some therapist's office. I can't even stand it when people put nail polish on their toddler's fingernails...so you can imagine how this whole concept just irks the hell outta me.

Raven said...

It's sickening, damaging to young girls, and should be banned. Those parents should be ashamed of themselves.

Blogger said...

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