(I normally try to post pictures with posts but the idea of searching for one for this totally gave me the heebiest of jeebies so I couldn’t do it. Sorry.)
Okay so on Friday night, Boy and I were both tuckered out from the week, so we ended up staying in. As is usually the case on those kinds of nights, I flipped over to TLC.
TLC is a fvourite of mine on lazy Fridays because it can usually be counted on for things like What Not To Wear or Say Yes to the Dress, just easy to watch shows with colourful little plots you don’t have to think about so much about.
That was until this Friday when I caught part of the show Toddlers and Tiaras and was heartily creeped out.
Aside from the fact that these parents slather their not-even-teenaged children in makeup, fit them with hair extensions and dress them up like they’re in the sex trade, the show bothered me the most because of what I heard the parents say.
One father, Perez, said in an interview that when he found out his wife was pregnant, the first thing he thought about was entering the kid in a pageant. The first thing. Not ‘Wow this is so amazing and I can’t believe how lucky I am’ or ‘Holy friggin’ crap this is simulataneously the most awesome and terrifying thing that has ever happened to me’, but ‘Gee, I wonder how I can make a buck off my not-even-born-yet kid?’
He also went on to say that they try to save the money for his two-year-old little girl, but he just likes to treat/spoil himself so he sometimes uses her prize money for that. Should there not be some sort of Coogan’s Law situation in play for the money here? I mean if you’re forcing your two year old to parade around twirling batons and whatnot, and someone out there is willing to give them thousands of dollars in prize money for it, is that money not rightfully the child’s and not yours?
It’s situations like this that make me think that, if underage children are being pushed into competing, their parents should be forced to undergo some sort of evaluation too. In this case, a mental evaluation.
Are you using your child as your primary source of income? You’re out.
Are you using your child to validate your own missed dreams of stardom? You’re out.
Are you dressing your child in outfits that would be risque looking on a Vegas showgirl? You’re out.
Are you demeaning your child when they don’t come home with a chintzy looking trophy? You’re out.
The concept of child beauty pageaents is, at best, is incredibly creepy, but I think that since they’re not going to stop anytime soon, there should at least be more careful screening of the contestants and the parents as a unit. Because if what I saw was any indication (I could only bring myself to watch half), there are going to be a lot of child beauty pageant contestants that are going to need a lot of therapy in the next ten-to-twenty years.