This disgusts me

Watching a documentary called “Painted Babies at 17”. It’s about these young women who were in ‘beauty’ pageants when they were …well… infants. You know the kind I’m talking about. Parents and grandparents (usually mums and grandmums and aunties) tart up these gorgeous little girls and trot them out on a stage to sing and dance and trained-monkey their way into the “hearts of the people”. I’m sure they haven’t changed that much – four year old girls doing little waggly-arse dances and singing sexually suggestive songs.

They put enough makeup on these poor kids that they look like really bizarre, crushed-face twenty-five year old women. It makes my heart ache.

If there is a Hell, it is a constant beauty pageant, where you’re never pretty enough, never talented enough, you never have a permanent enough fake smile. Someone else always has a nicer dress, sparklier shoes, whiter teeth. I can’t imagine all the money that people spend on this shite.

And you know what the parents say? The parents say “oh, she loves it! She wins cars, money, cruises…”

Right. Because a FOUR YEAR OLD needs a CAR.

Oh Christ. One of these girls is singing this song: “I see people working, and it just makes me giggle/I don’t have to work; I just have to wiggle, because I’m a blonde! Don’t you wish you were me?”* My teeth are grinding. GRINDING, people. **

So let’s take a step back and reflect on what these parents are teaching their children – the women who will be …well, judging from what the young women are saying now, the women who will be married to the men who will be running the country in ten years.

Value 1) Physical looks are paramount. If you have a blemish, you’re going to lose.
Value 2) You are more valuable if you can sashay and wiggle.
Value 3) Your appearance will get you everything you need in life.
Value 4) Pretty clothes are more important than free will.
Value 5) The more sparkly crowns you have, and the bigger they are, the better a human being you are.

I’ve heard people say before that beauty pageants are child abuse. I tend to agree…not just because parents are forcing their daughters to act like sparkly blow-up sex dolls, but because they’re teaching them *horrible* things. Sure, you can make the same argument for parents who push their kids into *anything*, whether it’s hockey or swimming, or the army. And the minute I see a parent teaching their kids that the better you *look* as a hockey player (snicker), the better you’ll do, I’ll probably laugh out loud. Yes, it’s a little questionable to force or to pressure your children into anything. But seriously. Pressuring your children into this horrific bleached, tanned, manicured, taped, plastic promenade is, frankly, fucking disgusting.

My friends who have girl children are teaching their girls to be strong, intelligent, able women who value justice and morality over gorram false eyelashes. I shudder to think what becomes of these pageant girls as they become women. I shudder to think.

Anyway. I’m screaming inside. What is the matter with people who think this is okay? What’s the matter with people who don’t see how wrong this is?

No three year old should have to ever wear makeup for any reason. No four year old should have her hair bleached and backcombed and coiffed like that. No five year old should sing those songs or dance like that, and I don’t care how many people say that the only people they’re performing for are judges and parents. It’s disgusting.

Just. Stop.
___
* The full, horrifying lyrics reprinted here, for your viewing displeasure. It does please me that whoever transcribed these lyrics can’t actually spell “Blonde”:
Because I’m a blonde I don’t have to think, I talk like a baby and I never pay for drinks
Don’t have to worry if I’m getting a man if I keep this blonde and I keep these tan
Cause I’m a blonde yeah, yeah, yeah
Cause I’m a blonde yeah yeah yeah

I see people working and it just makes me giggle,
cause I don’t have to work, I just have to wiggle
Cause I’m a blonde B-L-O-N-D
Cause I’m a blond don’t you wish you were me?

I never learned to read and I never learned to cook
Why should I bother when I look like I look?
I know lots of people are smarter than me, but I have this philosophy, “So what?”
Cause I’m a blonde yeah yeah yeah

I see girls without dates and I feel so sorry for them cause whenever
I’m around, all the men ignore ’em
Cause I’m a blonde nyah nyah nyah
Cause I’m a blonde nyah nyah nyah

They say to make it you need talent and ambition, well I got a tv show, and this is my audition;
Umm. . . okay. . . what was it?. . . ummm don’t tell me. . . oh, yeah, okay “Duck Magnum, duck!”
Cause I’m a blonde yeah yeah yeah
Cause I’m a blonde yeah yeah yeah

I took an IQ test and I flunked it of course, I can’t spell BW but I got a Porsche
Cause I’m a blonde B-L-I-N-D
Cause I’m a blonde don’t you wish you were me?

I just want to say that being chosen as this month’s Miss August is
like a compliment I’ll remember for as long as I can.
Right now I’m a freshman in my fourth year at UCLA but my goal is
to become a veterinarian cause I love children
Cause I’m a blonde yeah yeah yeah
Cause I’m a blonde yeah yeah yeah

Girls think I’m snotty and maybe its true
With my hair and body, you would be too
Cause I’m a blonde B-L- . . . I don’t know!

Cause I’m a blonde yeah yeah yeah
Cause I’m a blonde yeah yeah yeah!

**As God is my witness, if I ever hear anyone singing this song in anything other than a disgusted or mocking tone, I’m going to break some teeth. Not my own.

cenobyte
cenobyte is a writer, editor, blogger, and super genius from Saskatchewan, Canada.

17 Comments

  1. And your child could be on < HREF="http://www.universalroyalty.com/daisydoesamerica.htm" REL="nofollow">Daisy Does America<>. What were they thinking when they came up with that title – just a little too close to the truth.

  2. Gasp!

    What self respecting woman would sing THAT? And what self-respecting parent would allow their little girls to sing that?

    It is sick.

    And yes, this sort of thing happens to boys in sports too. Ask me how many scouted hockey players from my home town that never made it are the town drunks now. All of their self worth put on how well they can chase a piece of rubber with a stick. At least they aren’t sexualized like these little girls though.

  3. I know!!! I can’t tell you how much I hate, hate these parents. I think my rage came to a head when the whole Jon Benie(sp?) was killed and it really became national news. I hadn’t paid much attention to it before.
    But really, shows like this http://tlc.discovery.com/tv/toddlers-tiaras/about-toddlers-and-tiaras.html are revealing the truth behind this bullshit abuse. And you are right. It is abuse.
    But I can’t seem to find any beauty contests here in Sk…well we have a winter festival queen but thats only who sells the most tickets.
    Honestly? I think its an American pheno. Seriously. At the risk of sounding racist (can you be racist against americans? is that the correct hatred terminiology?) I honestly believe it represents the very worst, and core of the country’s direction. I’m pretty, and handsome so I am beetter than you.

    Give me a granola eating, computer geek intelligent ANY day. Eye candy tends to rot more than your teeth and has no nutritional value whatsoever.
    good post.

  4. Brielle – I don’t know if it’s a particularly Yank thing or not. It certainly was in the documentary I watched (Arkansas, Kansas, and Texas were the places they were filming), but I’m not prepared to make that kind of statement because I’m not sure it really matters. Which is to say, I don’t think you can blame the US for the popularity of sexing up four year old girls. I think you can blame *consumerism*. I’m pretty sure if you asked the parents of these girls if they thought they were doing something wrong, they’d be horrified. And THAT is the problem. Ever since there were coming out parties (no, not THAT kind of coming out parties – THOSE kind are rather fun) for debutantes…it’s a form of exerting your status or class over others, I think, at its very basic form. Hmmm. Maybe I should do a Master’s Thesis on this.

    Melistress – my point about sports is that, for the most part (with the possible exception of ballet, which is both an art and a sport, IMO), success is not tied up in *how pretty you are*. Sure, if you don’t have the skills or the ability to ‘make it’, you get cut. And if you tie up your entire self-worth in one area, you’re bound to be disappointed. There are probably *many* reasons why those hockey players are the town drunks, and ‘not making it’ is just a tiny part of that. I’m sure if you asked them why they didn’t make it, they wouldn’t say “because I didn’t smile enough”.

    rww – preach on.

  5. You’re absolutely right about the Justice thing…I was thinking more in terms of Karma, then followed by saying *no girl* should have to be that way. If I wasn’t clear it was because I was steamed like you and typing fast. :-)

    I just cannot comprehend how irresponsible this sub-culture is. Would you inject your beautiful little girl with cancer? NO! But that’s what I feel this tiny-tot pageant thing is. And I was suggesting that dads need to take responsibility for this crap too, just as much as mums and aunties and whoever. Most dads wouldn’t think twice about taking a bullet for their daughters. Why don’t they see that the barrel of the gun is pointed at their kids and DO SOMETHING? You’d be pretty cranky when your 16 year old daughter gets all tarted up to sneak into the bar, why is it OK for your *4 YEAR OLD* to get all tarted up to shake her little butt around?

    GRRR!

    Sorry. Rant.

  6. Smarty Pants – But you aren’t willing to risk that, are you? I mean, the first part. I know you stand up for your daughter. I know how proud you are that she is smart as a whip. And she *could* win beauty contests (she’s a real charmer, for those of you who haven’t met her yet).

    You’ve taught her (and are teaching her, and will continue to do so) that what’s important is bigger than something silly like the shape of her lips or the way she dances (and she’s a good dancer). You’ve taught her what’s important is faith, knowledge, wisdom, charity, hope, and forgiveness. You’ve taught her about humility. You’ve given her a good foundation to become a wickedly smart, funny, capable, mature woman. The fact that she’s gorgeous is secondary.

    But what I really want to say is that I don’t think it’s about justice. These kids in beauty pageants, for the most part, aren’t in them because it’s their own decision. Sure, they might end up with plastic surgery and botox and crushed dreams. But is that really their fault? Look what they were taught. Look how they were raised. Mums and aunties and grandmothers (and yes, in most cases, Dads too) telling them that what’s important is whether you make eye contact with the judges when you’re singing “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”.

    GAH.

  7. Perhaps “justice” comes later…when my daughter is just starting to wrinkle but has a wonderful career and family and is happy in her skin…instead of being a despairing, aging, chain-smoking, botox’d beauty queen teetering on the edge of liver failure.

    No girl should have to live that or think those things about herself. I think it’s completely apocalyptic to the soul. If I can keep my daughter from thinking things like “beauty wins”, I’d probably rip out my own eyes to do it.
    Where are the Fathers in all this? Are they just as blind as the mums? Maybe they’re out cruising in their 4 year old’s new car?

    SMARTEN UP. STAND UP FOR YOUR GIRLS, DAMMIT!

    You (men) make a big deal about intimidating boyfriends and such…be men and *fight* for them when it really *counts*.

  8. I can not even begin to express how incredibly sad and sick to my stomach shows like that make me. As you may or may not know, one of my daughters is a princess by choice. She would LOVE to wear fancy dresses, have bee-ti-tou hair and jewelry. She’s also clever and funny, and over my dead body will ever measure her self worth with things like looks, make-up, hair or clothing.

    Raising my two girls to be smart, intelligent, confident women is such an overwhelming challenge that sometimes I can’t sleep, especially when I see things like that, or hear songs like that, or even, to be honest, sit and listen to the local tween and teen girls talking to each other.

  9. Smarty Pants – I dunno about the other women here, but I can tell you that what was most important to me as a daughter was when my father participated actively in my stuff. He coached my teams, he came on band trips, he did a workshop for me in basketball and in volleyball. He asked me to help him do important stuff (when he was teaching, I got to help him staple exams. I was six. That was very cool. And I only started a fire in the school once, so that was good; when I got older, he asked me to help him shingle the roof). He taught me how to do things (drive a standard, haul grain, ski). He said to me once, “as long as you don’t quit, I will be there beside you. But I have no respect for quitters.”

    He took me swimming. He taught me how to do freestyle. He *did stuff* with me, and supported me when I needed it most.

    In fact, when I had my first baby, I was single, unemployed, and pretty terrified. My dad was my biggest support. He was there in the room when I delivered The Captain, and I *always* know he’ll be there. I owe my father so much, and will never be able to repay the massive debt of gratitude I have.

    I also know my father wouldn’t have had much patience for beauty pageants and all the false plastic crap that goes on there. Had I ever wanted to do something like that, he most likely would have teased me. Hell. *I* would have teased me…

  10. Jenn – I feel your pain and concern. (obviously) I feel it’s even harder for me to accomplish this task as I’m *daddy*. “You don’t know what it’s like”…”Oh dad, you *have* to say nice things about me even if I’m fat and gross and stupid.”
    I feel like ten tons of incompetent when I tell my daughter how smart she is and how proud of her I am when she accomplishes things, only to have her watch TV. Or see a Bratz doll. All I can do is hope what I say makes it through and survives the teen years.

  11. Well Kap, my girl’s only (a very bright, articulate, and curious) 4 years old right now…I was only anticipating what might be in my future. (Judging from other girls I’ve heard)
    So if she says crap like that to me, I’ll tell her it’s not true and get her to help me fry some giblets. And shingle something. :-)
    I’m just with you all…I cannot comprehend this sort of thing. Especially at an age when kids are so malleable and soak up everything like a sponge.

  12. PS – Smarty Pants, as the dad of an only daughter, I can totally relate. And I’d like to fry the giblets of whoever even put it into your girl’s head that “he has to say that, he’s your dad.” But what can you do about the state of the world out there? The only real protection you can give them is to make them strong. And to be the example by which you want them to measure the rest of the world. Because you are, and they will. And she’s a lucky goil.

  13. “…the three great stimulants
    of the exhausted ones –
    Artifice, brutality, and innocence
    Artifice and innocence”

    You may not appreciate her voice, but you have to admit Joni’s got a lot to say on the subject.

  14. On a tangent…

    I’ll admit, I watched a bit of this show. Only because I heard that blonde song. And then I thinks to myself “Hmmm, they’re playing Earth Girls are Easy! I havn’t seen that movie in ages.”

    And then I snicker to myself envisioning Jim Carrey as a yellow alien with no speaking parts, while Jeff Goldbloom as the blue alien, attempts to seduce Geena Davis, while the blonde song is being sung by her ditzy friend.

    I may have to go rent that movie now :)

  15. Also, someone told me recently that I was being a little picky when I turned down an ad on my blog for a teen pageant, saying that it was about more than beauty. Yeah, that’s why they’re all cookie-cutter productions of North American ideals of femininity with false eyelashes, dyed hair, and 22-inch waists. Blarg.

i make squee noises when you tell me stuff.

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