What most of us know from the world of little girl beauty pageants is what we’ve seen on the reality TV show, “Toddlers and Tiaras”. What I learned in talking with pageant mothers, and Contessa, an 8 year old contestant from Salina, is that not all pageants are alike.
The television reality show presents the “glitz” side of pageants that shows little girls being prompted and promoted by overly involved “helicopter” mothers. The sense is that the mother’s themselves are sometimes more invested in the whole ordeal surrounding pageants than their daughters.
There are the fake tans, fake nails, fake hair and even fake teeth called flappers that cover up the age-appropriate toothless smiles. All things fake cost money, and that’s not adding in the cost of ball gowns reaching price tags in the thousands of dollars. Money spent by some families, as depicted in the show, who can barely afford these excesses.
Has all of this gone too far? Recently, a little pageant girl’s mother was criticized for dressing her daughter in a streetwalker outfit taken from the short skirt, long black boots and platinum blonde wig worn by Julia Roberts in the movie “Pretty Woman”. Would you dress your 3 year old daughter as a streetwalker for a competition? Then there was the 2 year old shimmying on stage in her glitter gold Madonna cone-bra costume.
Do these events sexualize young girls and turn them in to entitled little “princesses”? Possibly, yet while we criticize the world of little girl “glitz” pageants as seen on TV, my interview guests talk about a refreshing, positive approach to pageants called “natural”. I was surprised by what they had to say and you will be too.
The Joan Jerkovich Show, this Saturday 11/26/11 at 9am on 910 KINA.