Break Out the Glitz: Toddlers and Tiaras Comes to Canada
Some people discount extremists like the Human Barbie mom who gave her daughter a credit for liposuction for Christmas. But I am more apt to see those people as a sign of our cultural times.
I don't think it is normal to give a child a credit for a future plastic surgery, but the fact that the story is dominating our news cycle is a clue to what we hold dear in our society. It's gross, and yet we want to hear more.
It's the same with Toddlers and Tiaras. We love to hate it.
We enjoy judging all of those terrible parents who exploit their kids and force them into toxic spray tan booths and over-the-top, itchy costumes. All for a shiny, heavy crown and a trophy bigger than their child teetering in high heels.
And yet, for as much ink has been spilled over how horrible Toddlers and Tiaras is, there are 500 glitz pageants in the U.S., and they are starting up here in Canada too. For $139, I can enroll my daughter in a Toronto semi-natural pageant (all the fun, minus the spray tan and fake teeth). All she needs is a "cupcake dress" for Beauty Wear, a "Casualwear" ensemble and a "Dreamboat Dolls" dress where she dresses like one of her dolls! CBC ran a 10-minute documentary on the phenomenon (go watch, I'll wait) which was enlightening and disturbing all at once.
One mother says that she considers pageants a sport; and she is just doing the same thing as the parents who pay extra for training and equipment for hockey. Another mother says she thinks it is good training for her once-shy daughter to get up on stage and show herself and be proud.
But the part she is missing is that she is showing herself to be judged on her looks. The girls are learning that their looks, their bling and the put-upon sexiness is what wins them pageants, crowns and accolades. Their appearance is what matters, and as much as that mother sounded like she wants to be doing the right thing, she isn't.
The world of glitz pageants seems worlds apart from my little girl's life. But the more I know about teen culture and how important it is to be "the smartest, the funniest and look hot while you are doing it" (according to my teen cousin), the more I wonder if Toddlers and Tiaras and Barbie Mom are just a more extreme example of what goes on everyday but on a smaller, less televised scale.
What do you think?
Want more chaos? Last year, I wondered why every kid is in some kind of competitive extra-curricular, except mine. (Hmmm, kind of like the competitive world of beauty pageants)