Monday, November 19, 2007

Little beauties

I hurried home for lunch today for about 40 minutes to eat a Lean Cuisine and numb my brain with a little daytime television. When I turned on the TV to find last night's decision to watch VH1, I found one of the most disturbing shows I've seen in a long time: Little Beauties-- Ultimate Kiddie Queen Showdown. Of course, I couldn't take my eyes off the train wreck of a show, I had to watch it until I finally went back to work.

This show lets viewers delve into the seedy underbelly of child beauty pageants, and actually made me a little sick to my stomach. These little girls are six-years-old, yet their stagemothers are hell-bent on hairspraying them straight into painted adulthood. I don't have kids, but judging from the looks of many of these little girls, they'd probably rather be playing with Barbie than acting like her on stage.

Not only do many of these little girls sport dyed hair, and faces spackled with troweled-on makeup, but since some are losing their baby teeth, they also rock fake teeth retainers called "flippers" which give them that Colgate grin. A phony little smile costs the parents a pretty penny too, as they willingly shell out $200-$300 to temporarily fill in any gaps.

The costs don't stop there, a wardrobe can cost thousands of dollars while each individual pageant charges a hefty fee just for putting a tap shoe on the stage. (Many girls attend five to ten pageants a year.) Don't forget the essential spray-on tan and pageant coach to get the extra edge over the rest of the competition. (One article I later read quotes a woman revealing "I know people who have spent so much on pageants, they lost their trailers.") Are the judges looking for natural beauty or the biggest bank account to build a beauty?

I won't even discuss the swimsuit competition. Swimsuit competition!? These girls are six-years-old, do these pageants really build their confidence or do they set them on an early fast-track to lifelong disappointment? 

Far be it for me to speak out against something a little girl would genuinely aspire to do, I started dancing at three-years-old and still haven't stopped, but how can these girls be encouraged to display the same behaviors that often get grown women ridiculed? Clearly I've been mulling this over in my head for the better part of the afternoon and have come to the conclusion these pageants aren't glittery, they're gruesome.


dolt said...

Watch Little Miss Sunshine.

NinjasOfLoretto said...

i've seen this...or part of it. it is truly frightening...even more frightening than Little Miss Sunshine, because there is nobody on this show that DOESN'T get that it's insane...


Holly said...

There's another one that shows on A&E or something like that, and it's just as bad.

On a lighter note, if you haven't checked out the Little Miss Sunshine soundtrack, do. It features DevotchKa, a band with whom I'm thoroughly obsessed.

dolt said...

Will listen to that again as a palate cleanser. Those pageants creep me out. Cannot even imagine allowing anything like that get near my daughter when she was younger.

Although the adults involved are not much more extreme than `the local PTA'.