December 18, 2017

The Only Thing To Like about Toddlers and Tiaras

When the controversy sparked recently about a little girl on the TLC show Toddlers and Tiaras being dressed up as Julia Roberts’s prostitute character on Pretty Woman, I had to tune in to see what it is all about. And then just this week the show made headlines again when one mom confessed to giving her daughter large quantities of caffeine and sugar, calling it “Go-go Juice” and “pageant crack,” to keep her little daughter awake and competitive at pageants.


My other impression before ever watching Toddlers and Tiaras was to think of the Jon Benet Ramsey case- the little 6-year-old Denver girl whose mysterious 1996 unsolved murder on Christmas Day captivated the attention of the nation (and pageant photos of Jon Benet were flashed on screens and magazines more than any other photos.)


Jon Benet’s parents were harangued over those photos- as though having Jon Benet compete in little girl beauty pageants made her more susceptible to being killed by some lecherous monster. Her parents seemed like nice, normal people, too; so there had to be something about the pageant world I’d been missing.


Toddlers and Tiaras should really be called Tweens & Tiaras, as the episodes I saw mostly had 10 and 11-year-olds as the stars.  Each 60-minute episode follows 3 different girls and their families as the girls compete in American beauty contests. Some families showcase the stereotypical stage moms hooting and hollering from the back of the room, their eyes brimming with tears when their daughters don’t claim the top prize, their candid confessionals caught on camera.


There are also plenty of girls that don’t seem to be enjoying the pageant process, despite their moms hiring independent talent “coaches” and vowing repeatedly that their daughters “love competing in pageants.” One little girl, 6-year-old Paige, turned her back on the coach, never smiling once, even while on stage. Yet her mom, with the same dull expression as her daughter, declared, “Paige is really excited to be here.”


I expected to watch Toddlers and Tiaras and see a bunch of show moms living through their daughters.  I did see that, but I also saw much more of the pageant world spectrum. And surprisingly, there are aspects of the pageant world and the families featured on the show I actually like.


Toddlers & Tiaras

At a time in America when kids are left alone with the TV or game console as their main companion, there is a lot of female bonding and attention the girls are getting from their moms and mother figures on Toddlers and Tiaras.


In one episode a 10-year-old girl named Madi has a pageant “Aunt” and “Grandma” with her every step of the way.  These are women who don’t have daughters or granddaughters of their own, so they’ve taken their friend’s little girl as their own to introduce to the pageant world.


There are mothers and daughters that pray together; they laugh and share inside jokes. Many of the moms are likable, not annoying, shallow moms like I’ve seen on the Lifetime show, Dance Moms.


What I don’t like about the premise of the pageant world, and the show, though, is that at best these little girls may grow up to be self-indulgent, expecting an entourage to cater to them at every turn.  One little 3-year-old (the only real toddler I saw in the episodes I saw) barked commands at her mom and coaches.  Without knowing what she was saying, she’d mantra like a robot, “I’m going to get the crown and money.”


It is definitely all played up for the cameras.  This little girl’s cheeks are so adorable, and she did end up winning the Grand Prize with her sassy attitude, but I kept flashing forward10 years in my mind to the self-indulgent, Veruca Salt character that I can just see in the making. Do we really need more shallow, self-centered people in the world?


None of the families look like they have the money to be competing in these pricey pageants, which consist of costumes, coaching and travel, either.  This just adds to the argument that decadent beings are being raised instead of kind, altruistic ones.


I also worry about the way these little girls will feel when they’re older, when their looks fade and they look around to see what else they have to offer. In one heartbreaking scene it was obvious a little girl, Desiree, thought twice about the enhancements that were thrust upon her.  The message was clear her own brown eyes weren’t good enough as her entourage struggled to get flashy green contacts to cover her own eyes instead.


When she asked her mother, “Maybe I should just use my own teeth,” which were typically crooked of many 10-year-olds, her mother snapped, “No,” and glued the broken mouth piece of perfectly fake white, straight teeth (flippers) in place.


The personalities, charisma and family dynamics outshine any of the sparkly costumes on Toddlers and Tiaras, though.  And because of these winning combinations, I’d much rather see mom and daughter teams working for something really helpful to society, like walking to fight breast cancer or forging relationships with others to build schools in Africa…something that would actually add value to the world.


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  1. Ann Van De Water says:

    Go on Youtube to see Tom Hanks’ and Ron Howards’ spoof on Toddler and Tiaras. It is HILARIOUS!!

  2. Ann Van De Water says:

    Check out Youtube to see Tom Hanks’ and Ron Howards’ spoof on Toddler and Tiaras. It is HILARIOUS!!

  3. anonymous says:

    I just watched the show on tlc and i saw a mother having a fit when her daughter didnt win it all. Clearly a homely woman lving through her daughter and teaching the poor child to throw fits!!!!! Poor child going to grow up to be so ful of herself!!!

  4. OMG I just watched the TV preview for tonights show. i can’t beleive how dirty the parents are dressing their little girls like porn stars. How foolish and low parents can go just to get famous they don’t care that they are thousands of perverts watching their kids modeling like prostitutes. TV show producer is happy he is probablaby a child molester because no one in their right mind will dress their kids like hookers and have them appear on TV shows. People like that make me sick…. they probably all worship the devil….

  5. I agree only perverts can dress their kids like hookers. I don’t doubt if all the parents are child molesters since they like to dress their kids liek hookers and hoes. I feel sad for the inocent children they are only learnning to became the worse in life…

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