Toddlers & Tiaras....does anyone understand?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by DDD, Apr 4, 2010.

  1. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    For lack of anything else I watched another episode of that show. I can't believe what goes on! People of limited means spend $30,000 a year for their three and four years old to wear custom (miniature adult) clothes and travel for the kid to compete for a $5.00 crown?

    Some of the parents seem to be normal, lol, but I really don't understand. Today
    the Moms and a Grandma got to "dress up" and twirl on stage too. Yikes. Spray tans
    and manicured nails and fake teeth???? :sick: I don't get it. DDD
  2. Marcie Mac

    Marcie Mac Just Plain Ole Tired

    I watched one or two episodes only because there was nothing else on and I don't get it either and have to ask what kind of lesson its teaching to a three year old cept girl cept fake is a much preferred virtue, and when you lose, even your fake self isnt good enough to cut it.

    I think the moms, who I am so not impressed with from what I have seen, have something sadly lacking when they make their baby girls do this kind of stuff. It creeps me out.

  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I had a server who did this when I worked as a restaurant manager. The first pageant, which she said her baby "LOVED!!!!" had pictures that said differently to me. Every time they put her in that scratchy dress she cried and cried. I commented that the dress looked itchy (it had about 6 layers of very cheap scratchy netting to make it pouf, and when you touched it, yowie!) and she said I had lost my mind. By 1 yr the girl had won about 4 pageants and was regularly put into her tiara and sash to go out with Mom. I felt bad for the kid. She seemed to accept it, but it is sad to me when her pictures from 9 months old on have makeup on her. They can say it is tasteful all they want, but there is little I can see that is tasteful about making your infant child wear makeup that I would be ashamed to wear. Poor girl looked like a baby streetwalker.

    I can only imagine the risky situations that might open a little girl up to. Premature sexualization is NOT a good thing.

    on the other hand, I knew a woman in college who was first runner-up for our state in the Miss USA pageant heirarchy. She paid for college that way. Smart as all get out, engineering whiz who worked over 25 hrs a week while doing pageants and taking more than a full load - and getting straight As. She said that she expected some female witchiness, but everyone was really sweet, more like in the Miss Congeniality movie. At her first few, and her first really big one, they even did her hair and makeup for her while teaching her tips (like using spray glue to hold a swimsuit in place). She said she felt closer to some of those women from the pageants that year than she did to her other female friends.

    I am not sure I would discourage a teen who wanted to do it for scholarship money or some other goal, but toddlers? NO WAY. NONE. I don't care how much the child says she likes it. Children are children, not little adults.
  4. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    It creeps me out too! And these people that spend thousands every year on the fake tans, fake teeth, and thousand dollar dresses ... I can't help think how much better off that kid would be if the parents put that money into a college fund for them instead of blowing it on frilly dresses and pageant coaches! Besides the fact that it teaches the kids that beauty is everything and the winner is who ever can fake it the most, has the biggest plastered on smile or can make the most cutsey faces at the judges ... horrible!
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2010
  5. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    Even the pictures of the children give me the creeps. At the same time, I think of what a turn-on this has to be for pedophiles.
  6. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member

    Do I understand it? No. However, I am fascinated by it. So, I have to admit, I watch it. That does NOT mean, that I approve of it or think it is a good thing.

    I also noticed that different regions of the country have different ways of doing things and awarding crowns. What is most puzzling is how in the south the parents don't want to win their division because that means they're "pulled out" for a "higher" crown. Then, you see the poor little thing crying because they don't understand why didn't win anything and the Mom is trying to explain that it's GOOD she didn't win anything because now she's going to get a "supreme" title. Of course, in the end, it's ALL meaningless. I also HATE that they sometimes give away animals as prizes.

    I also get a chuckle out of the Moms in the audience doing the gestures and facial expressions along with their kids.

    Then there's term "total package" as in "she's the 'total package' ". Everyone wants their kid to be the "total package" in those pageants.

    I agree with instead of spending the money on those outrageously priced dresses, costumes, and "flippers" (fake teeth), they should be putting that money in a college fund. Reminds me of parents that spend tens of thousands of dollars on sports related things (lessons, equipment, coaching) so that their kid can get a scholarship for college.
  7. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I watch the show regularly, because the pageant parents fascinate me. Spending all that money, all that time, in order to get some kind of validation that your child (and by extension, you) are pretty enough, good enough, talented enough to win a crown is really sad. I agree that the hair, makeup, acrylics, flippers, and spray tans would give the message that what you look like in real life isn't good enough.

    However, I see nothing wrong with natural pageants, where the kids are dressed up, but still look like kids. It's a great forum for the ones who love to perform, especially when there isn't a junior theater group or something similar. It really boils down whether the child is performing because they truly want to, or because Mom is pushing.
  8. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I've seen some moms get down right's sad but also like watching a train wreck at the same time.

  9. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    The natural ones aren't so bad. But I admit some of the regular ones can get way out of hand.

    I think it often starts off in good fun........and then parents get carried away far too often. They let their competitiveness take over.

    And yeah, big attraction for pedophiles unfortunately.

    Plus I worry about that whole Pretty aspect of it........there is so much more to life than that, and it's so easy to send a child the wrong message even when you don't mean to.

    My brother's wife tried to do it for a while. I love my neices very much, don't get me wrong. But they both looked like frogs. (not kidding) Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) To top it off they also had no on stage type talent either. But even after consistent losing my bro's wife kept putting them through it until bro put his foot down when he caught the oldest vomiting to loss weight because she thought she was fat. (the girl was already 10 lbs under weight!) Both girls have self esteem issues. Can't for sure know this was the cause, but it surely didn't help. And bro was out a small fortune as well. He discovered his wife had put them into hock up to their eyebrows.
  10. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Did anyone else see the one (last season, I think) with the woman with the two little boys? It was absolutely nauseating! This dingy woman had two boys, one about 3 or 4 and the other was eleven DAYS old! I didn't even take mine out in public that young much less enter them in pageants! She had them both duded up in little tuxedos! She had to have entered that poor baby in the pageant and ordered his tuxedo before he was even born! And just where do you find newborn size tuxedos anyway???? When it was his turn she strutted across the stage smiling and holding this tiny little tuxedo'd infant out in front of her - I think he was asleep. Then when she got off the stage with him, she was gushing about well he had done! That poor baby doesn't stand a chance.

    But the one that really got me was the woman with the two little girls about a year apart in age who made it very clear that she considers the older one to be much prettier than the younger one - and she said it right in front of them! She said the older one was prettier because she looked a lot more like HER, and the younger one didn't have as cute a nose as the older one, and both kids were standing right there! I wanted to just slap her silly! To me both little girls looked very much alike, both equally as pretty. The little one actually seemed a lot prettier because when she smiled, it was genuine, not that toothy fake stuff. The older one won a lot of pageants because she had that fake smile down and was very confident on stage, where the younger one was more shy and self conscious - and who could blame her! I felt so sorry for that poor little kid! She didn't even seem to resent the older one, just sadly accepted herself as second rate. She was telling the camera people that she didn't win as much because she wasn't as pretty but her sister won all the time! She seemed to be genuinely happy for her!

    I can see a lot of therapy in the future for this family!
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2010
  11. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    If a child wants to be in a natural pageant, well, some kids really do enjoy it. Those are few and far between, from what I have seen.

    There are MANY children put into pageants because the Mom thinks it will pay for college (some of the kids do win astonishing amounts of $$ in the form of scholarships). Usually the winnings are far less than the outlays though. The cost in self esteem and loss of childhood would be higher than any amount of scholarship money, at least in my opinion.

    I HATE things like the lady with the two girls you described, Donna. I want to do more than slap mom silly though!

    Have you ever met someone you know did pageants during much of childhood? The ones I have know almost all wanted to be models or actors. Until they learned that they had such fake smiles that they had very little chance of winning any real jobs, except playing someone in a pageant. One server I worked with had the creepiest smile. It was clear it was learned as a child and that it was just NOT real. Even when it was real. That "pageant smile" just seems to lend a fakeness to so many contestants. And their mothers.

    This is NOT universal. SOme people who are or have been in pageants are wonderful, lovely, warm, REAL people. Usually not the ones who were in it to the degree of those shown in the tv shows.

    For a REAL pageant, try the little kid version of our county fair pageant. It is a RIOT! Esp with the little ones under about first grade age. They are as likely to run over to look at a horse getting ready for the next event as to wait in line for their turn, LOL!!!A couple of years ago the little girl who won ran over, in her dress, and hugged and kissed her pet calf right in front of everyone. It was adorable - and very natural.

    You don't often see many pageants held in a fair arena, do you?
  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Susie, I think you're right about the 'bad habits' a kid can get into, when it comes to the fake smiles and other mannerisms that they're taught to put on. I remember seeing a documentary about Shirley Temple in her role as an ambassador for the UN. She was talking to an old man from Ghana, I think it was, and I saw the character she used to portray as a little girl, coming out in her voice and other facial mannerisms. It was so ingrained in her form so young, that she had never lost the habit.

    Similarly, Jerry Mathers, who played "Leave it to Beaver", was back on TV as an adult in a sort of "Return to the Beaver" storyline. The trouble was, his acting was still the same, so there he was, a grown man, "acting" like the child he used to be on TV. Perhaps in his mind he was acting and that is what he remembered the craft of acting to be, that exaggerated turn of the head, the "aw, gee," regret in his voice as he looks at his feet... the poor bloke had been totally ruined as an actor.

    This doesn't always happen to child actors - only those ones who are trained to be cutesy and who never learn anything more than this. But in pageants (from what I've seen on TV when it occasionally impinges on the Aussie consciousness) these pageant kids never learn anything BUT cutesy.

    We have child actors here. We don't have much in the way of pageants, I don't think. I'm sure there are some, but I think a country has to have a "critical mass" of pageants in order to make it worth people's while to get involved. You seem to do best when you go form one pageant to another, otherwise the expense and the hassle just isn't worth it. Plus we're a big country here with a smaller population, you have to travel further to get to the next pageant and there aren't the same numbers of people involved to justify it all.

    What seems to be the big thing here, is dance lessons, acting classes, especially those agencies which sign kids up technically as agents for them to get paying jobs on TV, but in reality the kids have to attend classes in order to remain on the books - only they have so many kids registered, that the chances of getting a break in paid work is miniscule.

    The fashion when I was a kid, was elocution lessons. "Speech and drama", mostly because back then Australia had a collective inferiority complex about our own national identity. It was embarrassing to seem to be Australian, it was seen as lower class, somehow. The British class system seemed to prevail and the announcers on the radio as well as our political leaders, all sounded British. In my parents' day, an English accent got you places. By the time I came along it had been modified somewhat, a very English accent was not so desirable. So of course we were all trained to speak what was called "educated Australian" which I guess is similar to the way Cate Blanchett sounds. It's the accent you need on an Aussie stage if you're doing Shakespeare. It was only a few years later that a broader Aussie accent became publicly acceptable - that is, acceptable in public life (radio/TV presenters and in parliament). That's how we get the broader accents in people like Russell Crowe and Paul HOgan, although Paul Hogan especially talks the way he does because he was always, proudly, "working class".

    These days we don't really have a class system in Australia, but increasingly parents want the fast buck for their kids and try to get them into some form of paid performance. I admit I'm no exception - we succeeded to a certain extent with easy child 2/difficult child 2. However, she's not as driven to it as she used to be. Ironic really, considering we've just been told that she now has a second entry in IMDB, for her role in "The Black Balloon". She's also in there for a short film called "Eve". In that short film, she doesn't even appear until after the final credits.

    There is danger in any kind of training for kids, that teaches them that you have to be false to succeed. To a certain extent my childhood elocution lessons did this, but it was still happening on a very broad scale. Maybe it was easier on me because I was so darn good at it - so good, that although I've trained myself to speak with a much broader accent than when I was a kid, I still sound "posh" when tired. I actually have to bung on an Aussie accent!

    The dance classes the kids did, taught them to smile while performing even if their feet hurt or they've just missed a step. Almost the same as a false pageant smile, but not quite. easy child 2/difficult child 2 is darn good at the performing smile, I've seen her really tired at the end of a long stiltwalking gig, feet hurting and shins blistered, ready to get down off her stilts - then along comes a kid wanting a balloon, and easy child 2/difficult child 2 just dazzles with that smile. She's marvellous with kids. We used to think ti was because she was a kid herself, or looked so much like a kid the same age that other kids warmed to her. But now she's older, little kids still love her and want to sit on her when she's running a party. I think she's going to make a very popular teacher when she's finished her training.

    It's funny where you can end up when you do this sort of thing - I did speech and drama, and I also did a lot of acting up until I had kids. Then I worked in science, finally left when I became disabled and only recently have I begun getting back into acting work, especially anything using my voice. Back to my training.

    easy child 2/difficult child 2 did a lot of dance training, then learned her circus skills when she was 8. She's worked professionally in various ways since she was about 11 years old, took a break for a few years and now is getting back into it (with me at the moment, it seems) but is adapting all this to take her into teaching and working with kids. The play we're both involved in is to be presented as a teaching aid for schools. So we meet in the middle...

    What life skills or future employment prospects can come out of the training for pageants?

  13. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Knowing I'm not alone makes me feel better, lol. I always think of Jon Benet when I see the beautiful little blonde girls. So sad.

    Yesterday there was a cute (not beautiful) little girl who was shown practicing and repracting the Michael Jackson forward hip thrust as part of her "entertainment". Give me a break! That's flat out sick.

    One pretty and articulate "Stage Mom" has a professional promoter. The promoter come up with the idea of having dolls made in the image of the little girl...and named after her, too, of course. The Mother was totally
    excited that children around the world could play with dolls in the image of her "world class beauty".

    Personally I think they should sign their kids up for a local sport or dance group and let the children learn how to get along with others while having fun. DDD
  14. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Last edited: Apr 5, 2010
  15. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    The whole thing makes me ill. Whatever happened to kids being kids? We overschedule them and then wonder why they are stressed out.

    OK, that's a generalization. But my personal opinion is... Kid wants to play football? Sure. Mommy or Daddy wants kid to play football? NOT. This is how Jett ended up in football - BM signed him up. He hated it. Then the court ordered us to keep him in it when husband took over residential. So we did... and now Jett loves it - but NOT on the former team! LOL... I was in gymnastics as a small child. I adored it. Then I got the measles and... Sigh. They closed, I turned into a bookworm. Mom and Dad never pushed sports.

    Onyxx was in soccer, softball, cheerleading and BM wanted her in basketball, plus pageants. The only one she really wanted to do was soccer, and now she's not interested at all. However - she goes nuts for Jett's team. She loves the games. Loves cheering her brother on. It's cute.

    But wow - let's teach our kids to be fake, and then wonder why they have no self-esteem... Everyone is rewarded (trophies at the end of the season)... Why should they try hard? They're getting a trophy anyway. And then at the other end of the spectrum are the parents who actuall SCREAM at the children for a fumble. (Um - the kid in question was TEN, not NFL...)

    Like the natural stuff better too. Let the little girl play dress up and record them. This is much better...
  16. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    The thing of it is, when they show those little girls at home or before the pageants, they just look like ordinary little girls, cute but then most kids that age are cute. But then they get all that makeup, fake teeth, and poofy hair on them and those ridiculous dresses ... To me it's just creepy to see what looks like the face of a 20 year old on a five year old's body!

    And apparently the pageants DID attract a lot of perverts and that is why they said they usually restrict attendance to just the families of the contestants, no other 'audience'. If you look, when the pageants are going on, virtually no one is there except for the families.
  17. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    True, Donna. on the other hand the show tells the audience which small town (usually darn small) the family calls home.
    The show shows the exterior of the home. The show often shows the interior of the home. The show always
    shows the name of the child and I have seen the last name included. If you are sicko it would not be too hard to follow up. Yuck! DDD

    Oh yeah, they also show the salons, promoters offices etc. Cripes!
  18. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    The whole pageant thing is bizarre to me. The children all seem so pushed, as though they had to be adults in small bodies. To put in all those hours of classes, driving sometimes 2 hours each way for a lesson several times a week, to have very little contact with siblings/parents not heavily involved in pageants, well, in my opinion it is wrong. The child has no chance to just go an be a kid. Not in the shows I have watched. Far too many hours spent getting tans, dentures, hair, makeup, etc.... time spent learning intricate routines of highly sexualized movements that would get them in MAJOR trouble in most elementary schools and even in many high schools. All for an end result of a child who may not know how not to be fake, often has low self esteem and has spent so much time focused on competition that they have troubles in any non-competitive arena. You know, like marriage. Or parenting.

    And the pics, from the show, from various facebook and other online places, are the stuff of dreams for pedophiles all over the world.

  19. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    easy child 2/difficult child 2 had an agent for a few years. Well, she's had two, really. But her first agency was small and exclusive, connected to a well-known Aussie showbiz family. They never did anything inappropriate when it came to sexual abuse, but in their own way they were exploiting the kids in their agency by not paying them. The agency would get paid, but the money (which legally was supposed to flow on to the kids) never turned up. And if you began to get stroppy about it, the serious concern was, your kid wouldn't get any more work. The way this exclusive place was set up, too - with only about 50 clients in total, plus the promise tat we'd never be sent on cattle calls or open auditions, we rarely if ever got the chance to meet other clients of the same agency. So it was almost impossible to compare notes. Plus the agency kept saying, "We've taken care of this for you," or that, which meant that contact with various regulatory bodies as well as direct contact between the performer and the client, was nonexistent. all contact had to be via the agency. So parents of kids said nothing and hoped that the money would eventually show up; their kids enjoyed the chance to perform, and the money was secondary. But it was still exploitation.

    We finally had to make a fuss, easy child 2/difficult child 2 was fed up and refusing to go to any more auditions; the agency began to say she was becoming a problem and if she continued to "act up" she wouldn't get any work. A direct threat - so we had nothing left to lose. Besides, they had made the mistake of sending her to a couple of open auditions which gave us the chance to meet other clients, who all had the same story - work, but no payment.

    We eventually got the money, but easy child 2/difficult child 2 was 'blacklisted' by most agencies for a few years because she had to take her former agency to court for non-payment. I represented her for a while, getting her the work she most anted anyway - circus work, locally. Plus she did a few acting courses. Her next agent actually headhunted her, he was a person like me, a father who was fed up with his daughter being exploited. She had been with a different agency, so this sort of skulduggery is unfortunately not an isolated case.

    The thing is - we felt pressured to put up with stuff we shouldn't have had to put up with. About the time we were making a fuss, there was a story hitting the media of a young boy who had starred in a well-known ad on TV and who hadn't been paid. The current affairs were all over the story, the kid clearly hoped the media attention would get him paid, AND get him a bit more exposure. But we've not seen him on our TVs since. So yes, the pressure to shut up and put up with the problems is intense.

    So if you think about it - the sort of people that pageant moms rely on - the promoters, the various hangers-on along the way - it would be so easy for a pedophile to set themselves up in such a position, and get access to these kids. "If you make a fuss, I'll stop providing my services." "They all let me do this." "Don't you want to be a star?"

    It is just too easy.

    Of course there are checks on people in those positions, but pedophilia is like an iceberg - the ones you know about are just the tip of the iceberg, most pedophiles have never been caught and therefore are not on any register.

    The law for us here where easy child 2/difficult child 2 was concerned, stated tat while she was under-age, I had to be with her at all times. But one job she did (a TV soapie) would not allow me on the premises. wouldn't allow any parent on the premises. PLus they didn't provide lunch for her (which should have been either automatic, it's in the rules, or we should have been given advance notice). Luckily for my girl, I had parked the car down the rod from the studio and found a local convenience store. She rang my mobile phone, I grabbed some food, headed up to meet her at the gates.

    I could have insisted, but they could then have said, "Then we don't want her working for us today."

    It's a dirty business, really. I wasn't too concerned for easy child 2/difficult child 2 that day, however, since I knew she would be in the company of other people including other girls her age (they were playing schoolgirls, extras in various scenes) plus she had by then a lot of self-protection built in. And had her phone with her. She was 15 at the time. But the law is the law, that was one time her (first) agency got angry on our behalf and had harsh words with the TV studio about their not following the rules. At least they earned their commission that day!

    easy child 2/difficult child 2 was studying drama at school, so this was invaluable experience for her. But it was what SHE wanted to do. She also kept quiet about it at school as well, it was rather funny. There was one time when she was waiting for me to collect her, she had an audition to go to, and a rather nasty girl in her class, a bully, walked past and said to her, "What are you doing hanging around here? Waiting to be discovered? Forget it, you're a lousy actress, nobody would want you!" (there had been some jealousy about easy child 2/difficult child 2 getting an important role in the school play, and bully girl had missed out).
    easy child 2/difficult child 2 said nothing, merely smiled. Because her permission note to leave school had simply said, "easy child 2/difficult child 2 has an appointment." The school did not approve of kids being out of class merely to attend an audition, or even for filming. Bully girl would have dobbed if she had known, but easy child 2/difficult child 2 didn't feel a need to tell anybody. SHE knew; that was all that mattered.

    But I do worry about kids being exposed to possible exploitation. I did my best to avoid it, but we still got burned.

  20. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Oh, dear.
    No, I do not understand.
    If I had that much money to play with, I'd build a new wing onto the local animal shelter, or pay for my b-i-l's Parkinson's drugs.
    I just don't get it.