The Thursday Blog: Your Six Year Old Is A Whore Edition

Lena made me watch Toddlers and Tiaras a few days ago. (Will her Birthday Month never end?) The show is about the child beauty pageant scene and is creepier than a furry-NAMBLA yiffing convention. The basic idea is to take some formally innocent children who know no better, convince them that Mommy won’t love them unless they’re beautiful, and make them fight against one another onstage for everyone’s amusement. (The fighting is mostly metaphorical. The competition is not.)

These tiny children (the first age category is 0-12 months) are drilled for hours a day in dance routines, coached on how to respond to judges, dressed like trollops, and accoutred with enough fake body parts to make Pamela Anderson wince. Fake eyelashes, fake teeth, fake hair… although no one ever showed it I’m certain there must be a black market for five and six year olds’ padded bras. The mothers all say that their daughters look like perfect little china dolls, the fathers all say they look like midget hookers. (While I am certain one exists somewhere, I have never seen a china doll made up in garish face paint and dressed like a stripper.)

Rationalizations abound as to why this activity is healthy and good for the children, as if it were somehow not in fact all about the mothers and the occasional stray gay dad. Social time with BFF mom, (because dance class with your mother is so much more important than having same-age friends) learning the meaning of a dollar by winning your own money, (although I am not certain that spending $3,000 on a dress you’ll wear once on the gamble that you’ll take home the $1,000 grand prize send exactly the message most of these moms think it does) and my favorite, building self esteem. Allow me to paint a picture of the self esteem building at the end of a child beauty pageant. Thirty children standing on a stage looking like Tijuana whores that fell into a paint mixer, twenty-nine of which are bawling their eyes out because they’re losers and they have to drive home with the woman who has been telling them them for the last month that their total worth is tied up in succeeding in what they just failed at, and one manically grinning Hooker Barbie desperately scanning the crowd for approval and love in her mother’s eyes. And matching this are twenty nine sets of parents/grandparents sullenly bitching about how the winner cried during her swimsuit and never should have won, and one crazed mother for whom the entire room has disappeared except for the colored child-shaped bauble onstage glowing with the reflected glory of the Supermom who put her there.

Sure. That sounds like a confidence building exercise to me.

Although to a mom, all parents claim they would never force their child to do anything they didn’t want to do, (a prime part of parenting, which should give you an indication of where these kids’ lives are headed) and that they would yank their child out of competition the instant the little brat indicated they didn’t want to be there. And when every one of these children pitch fits, wail, cry, scream, and yell that they’d rather be anywhere else doing anything else, those self same parents dodge their kids feet and fists and shrug, chalking it up to performance anxiety. Or a missed nap. Or sugar. Or anything at all other than what the child is actually trying to communicate.

The judges seem to come in two flavors; the Bored Grandmother who hates the fakeness of it all, and the Combover Pedophile. These correspond to the two types of contestants, the vastly outnumbered “Natural”, who basically just wears a nice dress and can sing Annie, and the harlequin-slattern miasma of the “Full Glitz”. How each type of contestant does in the show depends on how the deck is stacked beforehand in Grandmothers vs. Pedophiles.

Toddlers and Tiaras (we’re back to the show now) is an amazing dance of unintentional comedy, as you watch parents and ersatz dolls perform and provide commentary completely un-ironically. The show itself has no voice, (other than editorial cuts, which are often hysterical) and remains passive and neutral throughout. The participants tell their own gaudy, pathetic stories, illustrating the imitation fullness of their merry-go-round lives.

Personally, I thought it was great.

63 Responses to The Thursday Blog: Your Six Year Old Is A Whore Edition

  1. The League of Gentlemen once did a sketch about it during their 3rd season that showed all this beautifully.

    Well, I don’t really have anything to say you haven’t already mentioned up there.

  2. This sounds like seventy different kinds of horrifying.

    I really wonder how the people who make things like this possible sleep at night. I really do.

  3. I was in full agreement with you up until your last line – “I thought it was great”. Personally, I find the show just as disgusting as the actual activity itself. These attention-starved moms are putting their kids through hell just so they can be a beauty queen vicariously. Making a TV show (yes, my wife has made me sit through a few episodes too) about it just feeds the attention and encourages the behavior. A 20-20 or Frontline series on the whole mess would be great (imho), but this show is just horrible.

    my 2 cents

    • No prob, Kro. For my money, I saw a bunch of people who deserve to be miserable making themselves miserable. It was like the self-serve line at the instant karma stand. It made me glow inside. Added to that the fact that 90% of those kids will HATE their parents for “all they did for them” by the time they hit 30… Well, it’s the same itch that Bully Beatdown scratches.

      • See? That’s what I mean about being happy when I hear about stupid people dying or suffering! Of course my definition of “stupid” or “deserving” is rather broad.
        And not a word from that “but think of the children!!!!” crowd about this exploitation, or how the girls are obviously sexualized(if you’re into overly-powdered 5 y-o’s), probably coupled with crazy exercise and eating regimes and a whole lot of other psychological problems.

  4. Maybe they should change the name to “Who wants to raise a psychopath?” – I can’t think of any activity better callibrated to generate massive emotional scars that will twist the minds of the participants…

    • Err…I’m not sure if “psychopath” is the right term. While they might end up with some serious damage, I don’t think most of them will develop ASPD or become homicidal over it(well, maybe towards their parents 😛 ), however awesome such a prospect might be.

  5. I think I’ve seen parts of that show twice.

    Once they were complaining the kid wasn’t tan enough. So, they covered the hotel bathroom with plastic and hired some one hundreds of to come spray her that sun tan ‘paint’. She was coughing and wheezing, but the mother was happy with her orange glow.

    • If these kid were dogs, some animal protection agency would already have intervened.
      But in regard to children, society accepts that the parents are allowed to treat them like toys.

      Those faces… those horrible faces… most of those pictures look like someone photoshopped the faces of 30-year-olds with a a two hour make-up job onto pre-teen girl bodies.

    • I wonder… why is “tan” still in fashion among people who don’t have that much natural melanin? This aint the 1970s anymore. I thought ever since the danger of “too much sun = sun burn risk = skin cancer risk”, entered the public awareness, this would have ceased? Not to mention too much UV will cause wrinkles. Here in Germany, even tanning booths especially cheap tanning booths with high UV radiation exposure (especially those with UV-A and UV-B) have come under controversy; health organisations warning people not to use them excessively.

  6. Just so you know I have, at one time or another, read every post on this site, and this one is the most disturbing of them all.

    In the UK, paedophiles are openly reviled, but it is things like this ‘program’ which promote the oversexualisation of children which are promoting it.

    *******Shudder*********

    Not to mention the message that it sends – that the only thing which matters is looks etc.

    ********More shuddering********

    I HOPE YOU ARE HAPPY…

      • This makes me wonder, (not that I can stomach these shows…they make me distinctly uncomfortable) Surely the U.S. isn’t unique as far as the “Turn the cameras on and let people be morons” -type television format. Please tell me we’re not alone in this.

  7. My wife and I watched about eight or twelve minutes of an episode once. Our jaws were hanging open the entire time. The most disturbing moment for me was when one mother completely unselfconsciously stated that this was the entire reason she wanted and had a daughter.

    That’s when we started yelling at the screen…

    • Yeah, gotta love those moms who only wanted to have a daughter so they could have a life-sized Barbie to play with.

      Sick freakazoids, is what they are!

    • On the one I saw a mother with two sons completely un-ironically said that she had really wanted girls, so she would just turn her boys into girls. Lena’s favorite line was a woman who stated that she guessed she could understand how some people might think what they were doing was bad if they had ugly kids.

      • “…said that she had really wanted girls, so she would just turn her boys into girls.”

        I am SO picturing that guy dancing in front of the mirror in Silence of The Lambs right now. 😆

  8. Gee, I feel bad cuz after seeing these what these parents put their own kids through, I can no longer consider myself a pervert. I would never do anything like that to a child, I guess I am only slightly abnormal afterall, sigh.

    • Wouldn’t falling out of the sky and hitting the ground cause “blunt-force trauma”?

      While the article attributes the trauma to being hit by cars, no evidence for that is cited, merely evidence of blunt-force injuries.

  9. Just for the records, those pictures are scary!

    Especially that second picture with the entity in green. She looks about as human as a t-1000 terminator… 😯

  10. Diane Rheme had a show with the author of Cinderella stole my daughter. The author does not feel that the influence of Disney Princess is confusing small girls that the only thing they have to offer is being pretty. The author had watched Toddlers and tiaras. I hate pink.

  11. Kevin, let me be very clear on this: Never…post…baby….whores…again. Now please excuse while I go go wash by brain with bleach to try to remove these images.

  12. Kevin, I always love your social and/or religious commentaries, and this whole micro-essay (especially the third paragraph) was so full of win and biting wit, I hope that one day I will see the best of your blog posts collected and printed somewhere. Hey, I’ve seen it happen with other blogs. (Stephen Jay Gould’s, Wil Wheaton’s, etc.)

  13. Excuse me while my brain claws its way out of my skull and runs away screaming. Those pictures are the most disturbing thing I have seen in far too long, and I look up medical pictures out of curiosity. I know this is long after this was posted but my God, that is terrifying.