A wee bit ago I was watching TV waiting for my mum to come home and a program called Toddlers & Tiaras came on TLC. My mother arrived shortly after the show began, and we both stood there, jaws agape, for about thirty minutes or so before Mom cracked and said, "Change the fucking channel, please."
If you can't guess, this is a show about child beauty pageants, an institution that is probably responsible for a significant percentage of women walking around today that get on my last goddamned nerve.
This is a subject that I could go on and on and on for hours about, but I'll try to sum up my points and not use too much profanity (but just go ahead and come to terms with the fact that there will be a lot of it).
POINT ONE: Every mother I've ever seen involved in child beauty pageants is clearly BATSHIT
This isn't about me at all, it's all about her having fun and knowing I'm- I mean, she's a WINNER. And PRETTY. TELL ME I'M PRETTY.
You know what's a great idea? Investing thousands of dollars and hours of your time into a competition for children, and not only that, but a competition that is reliant on how cute other people find your kid.
I'm sorry, I couldn't stop laughing for about a full minute.
That's right, ladies, pin all your hopes and dreams on your snotty, high-pitched, tantrum-prone, ADD-ridden child and ride their coattails all the way to one of those competitions three counties over where the dinner buffet is free and you can take home a rhinestone crown and bouquet of flowers that cost a tenth of what you spent on gas to get there.
In the particular episode I watched, a woman stated that the only reason she had a daughter (after having three sons) was to enter her in pageants so she could become Miss America (the daughter, not the mom, just to clarify). Her daughter was fifteen months old at the time of taping, and had already learned how to send the pedophiles into a masturbatory frenzy by blowing kisses and "backin' that thang up." That baby totally is not going to grow up to be known as Cindy Swallows.
POINT TWO: Creepers abound
Child beauty pageants are catnip to pedophiles. Little girls made up to look like miniature (terrifying) adults, prancing around in little costumes and bikinis, blowing kisses and acting as coquettish as these little Lolitas can.
Because we need more reasons for pedo's to think, "She's totally asking for me to lure her with candy and puppies into my unmarked paneled van for inappropriate touchings."
Seriously, every low-level beauty pageant I've ever seen takes place in some hotel's conference hall and the only people in the audience are the kids' mothers, the judges (oddly effeminate men and pinched, sour-faced women) and a few suspiciously out-of-place gentlemen hanging out in the back.
"Mommy, are you sure Madonna is the best role model for me right now? She did go kinda nuts after getting into Kaballah and get creepy spider hands."
POINT THREE: Competition at this age is going to make that kid one neurotic bitch
One day she'll set fire to her boyfriend's jeep because he did not even NOTICE her new Prada shoes and clearly doesn't love her as much as he says he does.
This is pretty straightforward cause-and-effect: You enter a child into competitions that are solo performance-there aren't teammates to share the credit or disappointment-where their success or failure is squarely on their shoulders, they are directly competing with other children for praise and attention, the competition revolves around what girl is cuter and more talented than the other little girls, SERIOUSLY, what part of this doesn't end with an overly-competitive, self-critiquing, attention-whoring young woman with body image issues? And oh lord, the fake tanner...
You know what you end up with? Those skanks at the bar who's skin matches their hair color, laugh waaaaay too loud, and won't stop talking about what bitches their roommates are because they KEEP EATING MY LOW-CAL NONFAT YOGURT EVEN THOUGH IT CLEARLY SAYS "TONYA" ON THE CONTAINER.
POINT FOUR: Can we talk about how hard my palm hits my forehead at the thought of "beauty" pageants?
"I will cut a bitch if you don't give me that goddamned tiara."
Society has an unhealthy obsession with beauty, straight up. The average person is more concerned with which beautiful celebrity is sleeping with another beautiful celebrity (who are famous largely because they're beautiful; how often do you see Steve Buscemi on E! news?) than they are about economic policy or social strife in other countries. To an extent it's understandable: wouldn't you rather take your mind off of you own crappy life with beautiful people and gossip that has no real consequence for yourself than all the hateful crap in the world that does matter? 'Course you would.
But. Why was Susan Boyle, who has more singing talent than Britney Spears has in her entire rat-infested weave, such an overnight success? Because no one expected the frumpy fat lady to be able to do anything remotely impressive.
In America, beauty pageants were originally used as an attraction for local grand openings or celebrations. The swimsuit competitions were particularly useful to kick off the beach season. But like many things, it evolved to something much grander and has become, somehow, a major money-making venture. Coerced by potential monetary compensation and prestige, beauty pageants have become tanned, bleached, waxed, liposucked, rhinoplastied, and implanted in places I don't want to think about to give the contestants an edge over the competition. If you think that kind of masonry is restricted to older pageants, GUESS AGAIN. Like bulimia and anorexia in modeling, the dirty secrets in child beauty pageants involve plastic and dental surgery, dieting, and bizarre makeup and body enhancing tricks that would probably make you cringe. For CHILDREN.
"Mommy, that's my fucking EYEBALL."
And that's just plain cheating.
When I was little, my mother worked in a flower shop populated with your typical local southern ladies wearing the kind of makeup that Tammy Faye Baker would have been proud of. One day, watching one of the women applying MORE mascara and electric blue eyeshadow, she sighed, turned to me and said, "Honey, don't ever start wearing makeup. One day you'll wake up and realize you can't look at yourself in the mirror without it."
Besides the fact that these girls are being sentenced to two hours a day on their makeup and hair for the rest of their life, they really ought to start saving all the money they'd be spending on brazilian waxes, teeth whitening, and a billion bottles of mascara (because GODDAMMIT this one is dried out already!) on some kind of nest egg. 'Cause once all that pageant money dries up and they fail to make it to Miss America, they're going to have to have something to fall back on until they can sucker a millionaire into marrying them...oh wait...maybe they should invest ALL their money into makeup and liposuction.
ps. Sorry this took so long, I spent three days writing this, then realized it was kind of crap, and had to rewrite it. Ah, the life I lead.