Toddlers and tiaras

For the record, I don’t normally wander the back roads of pay TV to view dodgy reality shows which expose people as total freaks. But when I’m spending 6 hours a day feeding a newborn, the preferred viewing options quickly run dry.

And so I found myself watching Toddlers and Tiaras.  To paraphrase one of the Dads who was watching his daughter in a child beauty pageant for the first time, “it’s like watching midget prostitutes”.  At the ripe old age of 4 years, Meadow was wearing fake nails/spray tan/false eyelashes/hairpiece and a frilly bikini.  She looked like a doll with makeup by Barbara Cartland.

I could almost convince myself that despite my aversion to pernicious pinkification of little girls, this was just kiddies’ dress-ups on steroids*.  What really left me perplexed were the pageant parents.

Whilst the little girls were obsessively groomed to achieve a ‘baby Barbie’ beauty ideal, the parents were almost all obese, and resplendent in leisure wear. Plenty of the Western world is overweight, nothing unusual there, but these parents are beauty pageant devotees.  They focus obsessively on the looks of their little darlings, make their 3 year olds sit still whilst they pluck their little eyebrows, but are apparently entirely blind to their own appearance.

If they believe it is OK for their much cherished children to compete based on their looks, and suffer through their beauty routines to achieve a certain look, how do they not see their own appearance as an anomaly?  Bit of a blind spot?

*I’m trying to be understanding of other people’s hobbies here, but coaching a child to look and act like a crazy seductress  desperate to be liked just isn’t my bag.


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