Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Little Miss Pet Peeve

I recently got into a little online spat with an old friend from high school over this issue and I'm sure tonight's post isn't going to help matters, but this post on Towleroad today got me all worked up about the subject again. And that subject? Child Beauty Pageants and the early sexualization and exploitation of children.

Personally, I have no problem with a young lady aged 16, 17 or older entering and competing in beauty pageants. I still think such pageants are chauvinistic and sexist relics of what should be our past, but by that age most young women know what they're getting into and can be held responsible for their own actions.

My real problem is with the mothers of children 10 and under, who enter them into similar events; living vicariously through their children, trying to make amends for their own lost youths or even their own lack of self-esteem. Get over yourself, already. So, you weren't the Prom Queen. Big deal. 99% of us weren't, either.

A 5, 6 or even 10 year-old does what Mommy tells her, because Mommy says so. If Mommy says "wear this dress, put on this makeup and put in these false veneers to cover your naturally toothless grin," the youngster does it, because she wants to make Mommy happy. Have you ever seen the 'reality' shows "Little Miss Perfect" or "Toddlers & Tiaras?" You and I both know that every one of those kids would rather be out playing with their friends, than prancing in front of a bunch of strangers in overtly sexual costumes, wigs and makeup. When they complain they don't like it, or they're tired and cranky after hours of being forced to practice their strutting, Mommy admonishes them and tells them how bad they are for not doing what Mommy wants them to do. Disgusting.

The sexualization of children is something which angers and sickens your Uncle P to no end. Children shouldn't worry about being the prettiest, or the best dancer/singer/baton-twirler in their age group. They shouldn't have to wear provocative clothing, wigs, false eyelashes and fake smiles. Children should be outside in the fresh air, running around and carrying-on and being children, not spending their time looking like an extra from Showgirls.

When I complained about this issue on Facebook, my friend quickly admonished me: "My daughter grew up in the pageant system and she is a well-adjusted adult." Well, good for her. She's one of the lucky ones - if, in fact, that is true. I can't imagine having this kind of world-view as a child and growing up to be a "well-adjusted" adult. When children are rewarded for being beautiful rather than for being intelligent, sensitive and truly talented, we reinforce the message that Madison Avenue and the Fashion Industry have been selling for years: "Beauty is the only thing to value." Is it any wonder that young women suffer from anorexia, bulimia and other eating disorders? And its not only girls that are being subjected to this objectification. Plenty of young boys are entered in such pageants every year. There are even infant and toddler categories! Revolting!

And I won't even get into the issue of pedophiles and the fuel such images must feed the fires of their diseased passions.

If you can stomach them (I couldn't get through more than a few seconds of each clip), watch these clips and tell me I'm wrong:

Honestly, were I to meet Michael, the plastic-faced 'coach' featured on "Little Miss Perfect," I would punch him in his surgically-enhanced nose and tell the bitch to burn in hell. How sad and scary is it that a grown man (whether he's gay - which he obviously is - or straight), should make a career out of exploiting children? A 6 year-old should NOT be learning how to "sell it." The whole thing makes me sick and angry.

And I know I may have ranted about this topic before, but nothing makes my blood boil more than the exploitation of children, no matter what the context. Okay, I'm done. Sorry about the rant, but as I am sure you can tell, this is a subject that enrages me to no end.

Tomorrow night, I'm seeing The Crazies with Matty and I'll feel a whole lot better after the exploitation of adults in what is essentially an anti-military zombie movie. Zombies have such a soothing effect on me... The fictional ones - not the brain-washed child-zombies in the clips above.

Okay. Really. Rant over. I promise. My review of The Crazies, next post.

More, anon.

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