Little girls, beauty pageants

I generally try to refrain from posting about hot-button topics. I love posting about current events, but they must be relatively obscure current events.

It has to do with my committment originality.

But tonight as I prepared my daughter’s lunch for her third day of second grade, one of those Dr. Phil-type shows came over the TV I keep on only to break the silence of the house after Kalista’s gone to bed. I found myself intrigued by the discussion about little girls and beauty pageants.

I know, I know. It’s a cliché topic everyone’s talked, farted and blogged about since that little girl with three names disappeared or was murdered (I can’t remember the details).

The show still got to me, somehow, and I ran a Google search of this Honey Boo Boo child guests on the show were discussing. Here’s a clip for those unfamiliar with this gem:

Welcome to America, folks. We love car wrecks. We patronize TV channels devoted entirely to domestic abuse resulting in murders the perpetrator(s) almost pulled off without punishment. We look at these things, say they’re terrible, think about them, talk about them and watch them – again and again.

Reality shows aren’t much different. Honey Boo Boo Child has her own reality show because folks say it’s terrible, think about it, talk about it and watch it.

THAT IS PROBABLY the real tragedy. There will always be parents who push their children to be in pageants. Probably, there always have been, in some shape or form. And, probably, these pageants have always led little girls to believe confidence can be attained through showgirl-like behavior.

But if you have a problem with it …

… don’t watch the show.

Honey Boo Boo Child’s mother calls herself an “extreme couponer” when someone inquires as to her occupation. Of course she’s after easy money – even if that means making her 6-year-old child chubby, loading her with sugar and dispatching her on stage where she is to strut like a hooker.

Frankly, I don’t think this right should be taken away from her. Discouraged, maybe – but not taken away. We have hungry children in immediate danger – no supervision, clothing, access to a bath at night – who aren’t being rescued in this country. Worry about them first. Honey Boo Boo Child is obviously well fed and, since her mother is clearly a moron, probably wouldn’t be on the path for a Noble Peace Prize no matter what her mom does or doesn’t do.

STILL, I AM BAFFLED by her mother’s – or any parent’s – decision to enter the world of child pageantry. When I moved South for college, I was nearly speechless the day someone told me young girls are still part of debutante societies, but I guess Miss Americas have to start somewhere. These pageants are nationwide, debutante or not.

I guess it’s just never crossed my mind to subject my child to that weird culture.

It must be exhausting to live life on stage. Why force an early start to that on a child? But, again, to each his or her own.

It just isn’t my own.

Who knows how my opinion would change if it were obvious my daughter were meant for the stage. She took dance for a couple of years, but I don’t think she liked it. She’s too reserved and prefers to hang out with her thoughts. (Gee – I wonder where she gets that.) I know I’d support her in whatever endeavor she chose, though.

WRAPPING IT UP, from what I see, pageants in general are degrading to women, mindless and terribly boring. Child pageants are even worse because they are all of these things at a young, impressionable age. I know I would rather watch a Youtube video of my own autopsy than a pageant of any kind.

But that’s my opinion. I’m outsider to this culture. What do I know?

Thanks to America being America, parents have just as much right to enter the world of pageantry as I do to express how stupid it is.

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5 Responses to Little girls, beauty pageants

  1. Scary and sad at the same time. Makes me glad I cancelled my cable.

  2. Katherine says:

    Pageantry is a part of our history. And while I agree with most of what you have to say about Here Comes Honey Boo Boo (I am ashamed to admit I’ve watched the show), and how parents are exploiting their children, you do have some facts confused.

    Miss America is the largest provider of scholarships for women in America. To compete in Miss America, a girl must be between 17-24. Therefore, no children participate in Miss America. Miss America is a very honorable organization. Girls under 17 can compete in Miss America’s Outstanding Teen competition. They gain entry by writing an essay (Miss girls also write essays). All competitors have to raise money for Children’s Miracle Network (a network of hospitals that provide health services and operations to kids at no cost to their families) as well as take an active role in their communities.

    Are there disgraceful pageant systems out there? Heck yes. Especially in the south. But to say “pageants in general are degrading to women, mindless and terribly boring” is completely discrimination, ignorant uncalled for. Miss America develops strong, confident leaders in the country who follow the 4 Points: Service, Success, Style and Scholarship. The girls are extremely smart. Theresa Scanlan, Miss America 2010 won at age 17, and won enough in scholarships that she will not pay a penny for her college career. Kaitlin Monte, Miss New York 2011, 2nd Runner Up at Miss America was able to go pay off all her loans and afford to go back to school. And you know it is boring because you have been to so many? It is not boring. Miss America anyways. The audience gets to see 10-20 talented girls perform, as well as community performers, past titleholders. There are raffles, and photo montages. It’s a blast, for everyone.

    Oh, and I wasn’t brainwashed from birth. I competed in my first pageant at 20 years old.

    • Katherine,

      Thanks for the comment! I truly, sincerely and utterly value your feedback. Seriously.

      I’m sorry you were (seemingly so, at least) offended by my opinion of pageants. I knew when I wrote the post I was taking a chance lumping Miss America in with pageants; my first job after college was as a community news writer and the Junior Miss, etc. leaders would become irate if I made this “error.” But the hog farmers in the Carolinas would become irate if we called swine flu “swine flue” … they declared one day it should be called “H1N1” and demanded such. While I respect your position (as well as the hog farmers’), swine flu is swine flu and Miss America is a pageant. It actually saves quite a bit of time when we just go with the proper name for things.

      Please view this link, as it sounds like you forgot about it:

      Okay, okay. That’s one example of awfulness versus all of the scholarships Miss America participants win. (I think “largest provider” of scholarships is a bit misleading, by the way – the average scholarship is less than $500, which might buy four textbooks.) I acknowledge a difference in the structure of Miss America vs. pageants like Miss Honey Boo Boo’s but haven not found any variation in the premise. Name one obese, unattractive or skin-tagged Miss America winner. You can’t. Fact is, you HAVE to be attractive to win these things.

      Meanwhile, men can be as physically unappealing as me and win all kinds of things that garner rewards comparable to that of Miss America. Denying there’s a double standard – and denying Miss America does not embrace this double standard – is a waste of time. As a parent, that is not the message I want my daughter to hear. You may or may not be able to relate. I actually hope you cannot, for if you have a daughter and you’re teaching her a major component to her success is how she looks … never mind. I just don’t agree with that. Women are just as capable of leading a company as men. Women can write; women can be doctors. And they can look hideous while doing these things.

      (And, no, there’s nothing wrong with my daughter’s physical appearance.)

      I actually have attended pageants (including Miss America) as part of the newspaper business. My opinion is based on these experiences. I realize these young ladies are devoted, passionate and ambitious, but I maintain my position that it’s a fallacy to teach them service, success, style and scholarship are learned and applied through something they do on a stage.

      That said, would you like to go out on a date sometime?

  3. Katherine says:

    That link is Teen USA. They are NOT Miss America. I would never compete in USA. I know about maps.

    Miss America is the largest provider or scholarships in America, officially. I wasn’t exaggerating. It doesn’t mean individuals earn the most, but rather 4 girls per pageant win $1000, 500, 250, 200 (or more. My friend won $8,000 at her local) by placing. Also a Miss Congeniality and People’s Choice, sometimes Marketing award, Miracle Maker award, all earn 100+. There are 20+ locals per state. At State level, those award are doubled. Then nationals are multiplied.

    As for a winner having to be beautiful, in Miss America, this is not the case. Beauty comes from within. No, honey boo Boo’s mom would not win. Because she is not a role model. But being tall and blond with long hair doesn’t make you a winner. Look at Miss Alaska 2012. She shaved her head for cancer. Internally beautiful. Outside, maybe not so much.

    That said, I invite you to my upcoming pageants. 🙂

    • I had not heard about Miss Alaska – that sounds compelling. I admit I’ve never attempted to decipher a difference among these events. I probably should; sorry.
      The next time I have a reason to attend one of these events, I will.

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