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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Taking The Tiaras Away From The Toddlers - A Rant

Anyone who has checked into this blog at least a few times since I began writing it knows that for the most part, the entries are mostly positive in nature. That's not to say that all of them are lighthearted and goofy in nature. In fact, there are probably some that have had some very serious topics of discussion, and some that have had a darker tone than other entries. And, there's a few entries that I have done on subjects that I have either A) never seen before, or B) am not the biggest fan of, and yet, I've found that I can still find at least one positive to bring out of it.

So it is here that I offer this disclaimer. I doubt that this will be one of those pieces that will have a whole lot of positivity within it. In fact, I reckon that I will likely find myself getting quite angry within certain parts of this entry today. I'll still mind my P's and Q's though, as I really dislike profanity, and only really use it when I end up injuring myself. But, if you're looking for a light and fluffy piece with sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows, this isn't the place to find it. Maybe when I choose Lesley Gore as the subject, it will have all those things, but not today.

In fact, the more and more I think about today's subject, the more and more disgusted I feel.

Today's blog topic is about a particular television show that currently airs on the TLC network. At one point, TLC was once a reputable channel, where TLC stood for 'The Learning Channel', but lately, I find myself asking what the heck that channel is supposed to be teaching us these days.

Seriously. Most of those shows are horrible. Take a look at the show 18, 19, 20, whatever number of child the Duggar family happens to be producing now. I mean, really? There was once a show that aired years ago called Eight Is Enough, and I can't help but wonder if they ever watched that show. Heck, as far as I'm concerned, even eight is too much!

You hearing me, Kate Gosselin? Eight is too much!

Even shows that actually do teach you something on that channel can be filled with some questionable moments. I mean, yeah, Stacy and Clinton have been teaching women all across America what not to wear for the better part of a decade, but I caught a couple of episodes where they were trashing their old wardrobes, and let's just say that some of their comments were just mean-spirited and unnecessary. They could have been a lot more diplomatic towards them with their comments, but I suppose that even they have to be mean for the cameras to get the ratings.

But that's not even scratching the surface of this once proud network.

There is one show that the network airs that is currently in its fourth season. A show that has been the subject of much criticism, verbal backlash, and is accused of exploiting its very subjects.

And, I proudly admit to being one of those people who have and will criticize the show for however long it airs.

The subject for today's blog is the TLC reality show program 'Toddlers & Tiaras', a program that I make no secret in openly despising with all of my heart and soul. But why that is the case, well...that's coming up later.

Toddlers & Tiaras debuted on TLC in January 2009, and the show is basically a behind the scenes look at child beauty pageants. I have my own opinions about child beauty pageants, and for the most part, I really don't like them all that much. Maybe it was the tragic 1996 unsolved murder of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey that may have shaped my view of them that did it. Or, maybe it's the fact that I'm not typically a fan of beauty pageants to begin with, as I think there's more to a person than whether they have a perfect complexion, perfect smile, or perfect anything else that is semi-important at best.

But you know, child beauty pageants, whether I like them or not, are here to stay. And, I digress that there are circumstances in which I guess they could be a good thing. Some prizes that are offered are savings bonds and college scholarships, which given the economy can be worth their weight in gold. And I suppose if the people participating in the pageants really want to do them, and find great joy in it, then that's fine.

But I take a lot of issue with this program. A lot.

I think I've probably only seen about two and a half episodes of the program in total, and that was likely two episodes too many. Because the little that I have seen of the show was enough to completely sicken me from it forever, and never watch it again.

And yet, I have to show video clips to prove my point. Oh, the quandary!!!

The biggest problem that I have with this show is the fact that some of these pageant moms are willing to do whatever it takes to help their little darlings win prize after prize.

Whatever it takes.

Regardless of whether it hurts their child or not.

Ah,'s a perfect example right here.

Okay, let's dissect this, shall we? This mother has decided to give her child an edge by putting a swimsuit on her, shoving her into a spray-tan booth and colour her a shade of brown that's similar to that of Snooki from Jersey Shore, all the while she's crying because she doesn't like having this spray-tan done.

And, I mean, how old is this girl anyway? She can't be much older than five or six! When I was five, I didn't even know what spray tanning was! I don't even know if spray tanning existed back in 1987! But, that's not the point. The point is that when you're artificially tanning your child, and she's obviously uncomfortable with it to the point where she is crying and not liking it very much, isn't that the cue for you to STOP IT?

Oh, and she makes her child wear fake teeth. Not because she has a terrible smile...heck, the mom goes on and on about how beautiful her teeth is. She just wants to make her child's smile a little MORE beautiful. And, hey, if it helps the child win more pageants, it has to be good, right?

Yeah, perfect example to show your kid...that one has to change how they look about themselves to be declared beautiful by a bunch of people who they probably don't even know. Yeah, great life lesson there, Mom.

Oh, but this next mother doesn't even need fake teeth to impress the pageant crowd. No way! Because according to her, fake teeth is the equivalent of altering what God gave them. So, why use fake teeth when you can just bleach the ones that the girl already has! They love it! The mom says they do, so it has to be true, right?

Judge for yourself.

Now, you ask YOU think that Alaska liked the process of bleaching her teeth as white as...well...Alaskan snow? All signs point to probably not. Even Dad was shocked at the admission that Mom coats her children's teeth with some teeth whitening solution, but by the end of the clip was magically okay with it.

Which leads me to wonder whether the teeth were the only body parts that sustained bleaching.

Sometimes I wonder if maybe the thrill of competing in these pageants causes some parents to become addicted to them, as the case of this mother below.

Okay...first off...she spent fifteen to twenty THOUSAND dollars on pageants? Seriously? I mean, yeah, there's the chance that you could win cash prizes by winning a pageant, but what if she came in second, or third, or eighty-fourth? Wouldn't that $20,000 be better used for something else instead? And going to pageants every weekend? Did you see those sashes on that girl's wall? Does she even have a life outside of school and pageants? Do I even want to know the answer? Probably not, because it could make me even angrier than I am now.

And what happens when the child doesn't end up winning? I would think that in a lot of events (whether it be sporting events, getting the lead in a play, or yes, even pageantry), the parents would be very supportive, and would end up doing their best to tell their child that they still did a great job, and that they are still proud of them regardless of whether they win a trophy or not, right? Well, watch this.

Hmmm...okay, so let's look at this. This kid was expecting to be named the best of the show, and her parents were counting on her winning a high title. Despite the fact that she had won the title of Queen and several other smaller prizes, the girl still isn't happy, and actually kind of acts bratty by not wanting to wear the crown she received. Kind of makes one wonder where she got that attitude from, doesn't it?

The show's recently caused a lot of controversy in recent weeks. Does everyone remember the 1990 movie Pretty Woman? The movie starring Julia Roberts? The movie where Julia Roberts plays a prostitute wearing a rather revealing outfit in the first few minutes?

Whatever would possess this mom to even THINK of dressing her child in an outfit like that? Like, seriously...just what the hell was she thinking? Did she not even watch the movie? Did she just act on impulse not realizing that she was dressing her toddler like a fictional prostitute? I mean, HELLO?!?

And you wonder why I'm reacting like this to a television show.  But, then again, with gossipy shows like Entertainment Tonight (another show on my do not watch list) reporting about the controversy as if it was the most important event going on in the world, is it any wonder why the program is one of TLC's most watched?  Not by me, but by others.

My honest assessment of the show is such that I find it absolutely deplorable to put these children through all that just to win a stupid trophy and a crown bedazzled with fake gems.

I don't know about any of you, but when I was six or seven, the girls who went to my school were NOT involved in pageants at all. I think the only pageants that were available for children to enter was the one that was held at our summer festival in town, and not even those participants were THAT glammed up...or, so I've heard, as I never bothered with them much.

Back in those days, girls looked like girls. In fact, I think most of the girls at my school were kind of the tomboy type during grade school. They liked playing sports, or running around the schoolyard, and other things like that. The only time they ever really dressed up was for school picture day. I don't think most girls really started caring about fashion and makeup until the middle school years, which to me was quite common.

So, to see these parents basically turning their children into toddler size Barbie dolls...I don't know. Am I wrong in feeling that this is making children grow up way too fast? Am I wrong in being disgusted by parents who force their children to do things that most adults don't even need to do to look beautiful? Am I wrong for feeling the way I feel about Toddlers & Tiaras?

Hell no. And I bet a lot of you reading this note will agree with me. There's some of you who won't, and that's fine.

Why are these moms and dads so intent on making their children into little junior sized adults?

Why does a toddler need a tiara to feel special when all they really need is the chance to be a regular kid?

Okay, now that my rant about Toddlers & Tiaras is over, I can breathe again, and I get to retreat into my cocoon of tranquility once more. And I can finally stop watching clips of this dreadful show for research purposes, as the process really made me want to vomit. But sometimes you just have to talk about something you hate to prove a point, and in this case, this was one of those times.

In fact, let's see what else happens to be on television...maybe I can get a show that DOESN'T have shrieking harpy mothers whining about what they feel is best for their child when they really don't have a clue.

Oh, here's an interesting show called Dance Moms...


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