In the News: Toddlers and Tiaras

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Maybe everyone has heard by now–a mother on “Toddlers and Tiaras” dressed her kid up as Julia Roberts character from Pretty Woman. The beginning of Pretty Woman. You know, when the character was working as a prostitute. And Richard Gere picked her up and took her to the Beverly Wilshire hotel and hired her to be his, um, friend for a week. Yeah, some mom dressed her kid like THAT character (see the picture above) for the ‘Celebrities’ portion of a beauty contest. Did I mention the kid is only four years old?

So, here’s the problem: the mom thought the whole thing was innocent and just for fun because Julia Roberts is her favorite celebrity, but other people–including parenting groups–are saying that this outfit is in poor taste and just downright WRONG for a child to be wearing. Do I agree? Well, yeah. No child should be wearing an outfit like that when they’re that young–not even for Halloween. In a world full of child molesters and just yucky people, why put your child on display like that?

Let me be clear–it’s not that the outfit is revealing. The mother said she even made the skirt longer than the one Julia Roberts wore. The mom is totally missing the point of the controversy. The whole problem is that the outfit portrays something very specific, something no child should know anything about. The child’s mother would probably argue that the child is too young to understand what the outfit means anyway, but someday she’ll know. Someday she’ll be looking at pictures or see her name online (most likely because of this controversy) and say, “Wait. So…you dressed me as a prostitute?”

But I don’t just blame the mom. These beauty pageants are horrific because they seem to spawn overzealous mothers, who try very hard to change their daughter into the perfect little doll, complete with flippers (re: fake teeth), manicured nails and spray tans. And some of these girls are only babies when they first start. But that doesn’t stop the moms from insisting this is something the kids want to do. Really? You sure you aren’t just overcompensating for not getting enough love when you were a child or not making the cheerleading squad in high school or something like that? I’m sorry, but I have a hard time believing that the child WANTS her mom to scream at her for not getting the crown.

Most kids just want love, affection and acceptance from their parents. What a lot of these moms teach their children (through their actions) is that if the child doesn’t win the highest crown, she will be letting Mommy down. That puts way, way, way too much pressure on a child, whose only concern should be what cartoon to watch on TV.

I’ll be honest–I used to watch “Toddlers and Tiaras” because it was like watching a train wreck. It was commonplace for me to feel shocked at some of the things the parents–or even the kids–said or did, but I still watched every once in a while because I couldn’t believe people could be so stupid. And yet I kept coming back for more because I was fascinated. Now that I have Zoey, it just makes me sad that these kids are pushed into dressing up in uncomfortable outfits and taking ‘glamour’ shots that make them look like adults just to make their parents happy. Children should NEVER be judged based on their beauty. ALL children are beautiful. Objectifying them like that takes away their childhood. It’s not right.

Do I think all pageant contestants and parents are like this? No. I’m sure there are plenty that really are doing it just for fun. Those families aren’t the ones I’m referring to here.

But let’s get back to that picture above. The mom in question said that she has seen worse outfits during the swimsuit portion of competitions. Although I agree with her and am vehemently against a swimsuit competition for little girls (because ew), she needs to understand that deflecting attention from the outfit she put her kid in doesn’t suddenly make the outfit okay. She dressed her kid as a prostitute. It’s as simple as that.

The child wore the outfit and walked back and forth in front of a cardboard backdrop that was supposed to represent the front of the Beverly Wilshire hotel. Granted, she was just walking in front of the ‘hotel’, but she was in that outfit, which made it look a lot like she was, yeah, hooking.

Now, to be fair, the mom said that what ‘Toddlers’ didn’t show was the end of the routine when the little girl comes out from the back of the hotel in a different costume–the dress that Julia Roberts character wore when she and Richard Gere’s character went to the hours raise. The mom said that maybe if people had seen the whole routine, they would have been more accepting of the first outfit. Um, no. It doesn’t matter if she was dressed up as an Eskimo at the end of the routine. She was dressed up in an outfit that clearly represents (because of the movie) being a prostitute. And no matter what excuses the mom gives, the point doesn’t change–it was a very, very bad choice and unfortunately, the little girl has to live with the consequences.

Way to go, mom. Total parenting fail.

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About cdhoose

I'm a mom to an amazing little girl and have another little one on the way. I live in Upstate New York with my fiance and daughter, 2 big, crazy dogs and a 3-legged cat (who has an attitude). I hate know-it-alls, Lindsay Lohan and socks with holes in them. I always seem to get myself into trouble (which entertains my fiance to no end), but I try hard to be a good parent. Also, I occasionally work on scrapbooking the fifty billion pictures I've taken of my kid. And I like ice cream. The end.

2 responses »

  1. That child does not even look real! What has this society done? Do we not get enough beauty pageants from grown women that we have to include children? They need to experience their childhood because it only happens once and then it’s gone. I know. I had alcoholic parents and never had one because I had to protect my baby brothers. I would come home from school (2nd grade up) and mom woudl be passed out and my little brother was just a baby wondering all over the carpet with a messy diaper smearing poop everywhere. I had to clean him up, get the carpet clean and the apartment before dad came home or there would be fighting and I did whatever I coudl to not have that happen. My father at least only drank on the weekend but still it was not pretty. So, I know more than anyone that children need their time! I am a new follower thru Facebook and Twitter and would love a follow back on both of those also when you get a chance. I did not see GFC or RSS Feed so if I missed those let me know and I can come back and follow those also.Thanks so much for your help and have a great day!

    Mary@http://www.mmbearcupoftea.com

    • Thanks for the follow. I added an RSS feed ( I think that’s what it is that I added) to the blog. Let me know if that’s not what you’re looking for–it’s on the right hands side of the screen. I can’t find a way to do a GFC through wordpress with the theme I have. if you have any input on that, let me know. 🙂 Also, as soon as Twitter starts behaving for me, I’ll totally follow you back. Thanks again! P.S.–Charlie is cute. 🙂

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