Toddlers and Tiaras.  Yeah, I have been putting it on for background noise while I write, study, or play WoW.  I don’t like putting on things I really care about watching when I do that because then I end up not paying attention to what I’m doing.  So I pick stuff that I can half pay attention to but don’t feel like I have to re-watch when I miss stuff.

General observations:

#1: At least once per show the ‘hardcore’ Mom has to say “If she says she never wants to do pageants again, we’ll never do pageants again.”  Generally she also says “Even though it’d destroy me.”  Bonus points if the kid has been completely unenthusiastic about this pageant or is throwing a full on screaming tantrum in the background.

#2: At least once per episode there has to a Mom talking about how much her kid loves doing the Pageants whilst said child is throwing an epic fit about some part of the pageant.

#3: The kid has to say something at least once per episode that sounds really, really rehearsed.  Sometimes it’s “I really love pageants” but it varies.

#4: Dads who are largely uninvolved (there are some who start out very involved) generally will eventually compare Pageantry to sports, which is because I think it’s their only real basis for comparison.  Bonus points if the Dad also mentions that he was unsure about pageantry at first.

#5: Someone has to mention the cost of pageantry, which is apparently significant.

Things I learned:

There are apparently two different types of pageants.  There are the ‘all-natural’ pageants where makeup and big shiny dresses are a no-go, and there are the ‘glitz’ pageants where the kids get the makeup, false eyes, false teeth (for little girls who have lost some front teeth), false hair, spray tans- the whole works.  There are also some pageants who encourage both categories, and so you can see a girl with no makeup next to a girl with the works, which is a little weird.

More thoughts:

The other problem with the pageant thing is that kids can really sense how mom and dad are feeling.  I have a friend who has three awesome little girls and he says that nobody will ever know you as well as your kids do- and I think he’s right.  When the parent says to the camera “Well, she did okay, she did her best, but she could have been better,” and then turns around and compliments the kid, you can tell that the kid doesn’t feel it.  Kids who have six ribbons, four trophies, three crowns burst into tears because they know Mommy’s upset they didn’t win the Grand Poobah title or whatever.

There were a few gems to be found.  One mom in episode 2 or 3 was not into the glitz, and wouldn’t have her girl’s makeup or anything done.  The girl picked out a dress, and when the crinoline that was supposed to go under it bothered her, they took the crinoline off and wouldn’t force her to wear it.  Later on, another mom had entered her daughter, but when it came time to do the actual show, the little girl kicked and screamed  She wouldn’t put the dress on, and when they tried to pull the dress on her she got more upset.  Her Mom pulled her out of the show.  I wanted to cheer them on for not taking the whole thing too seriously.

Public Service Announcement:

Most of these parents aren’t evil, they love their kids.  And it’s easy to vilify them- pageant moms get a lot more bullshit thrown their way than sports parents of many stripes.  Having grown up with my brother being in football from like 7 to 12 and my Dad coaching the team most of that time, I can tell you that there are a lot of similarities- those pageant parents who draw that conclusion are very right.  And while being in a pageant is a little weird and the makeup makes kids look a little creepy, I think football is probably more harmful- physically it is for sure.

During my brother’s tenure in Kiddie Football: Arms got broken, ligaments were torn and injured, ambulances were called to the field for dehydrated kids and kids with head injuries.  My brother has a permanent knee injury from football.  Most of the kids he played football with got hurt some way or another, and while everyone wanted their kids to go into football professionally, very few of the kids on his kiddie team still play.  We’ve been able to find 1 who made it to college ball.  People will say ‘that’s all part of the game’ and that’s fair- but are spray tans and wigs in pageantry.  I’m not defending it, I’d rather my kids not do either until they’re old enough to drive themselves to it, at least- I’m just saying there are definitely similarities.

I have heard this pageantry stuff called abuse.  Maybe this will make some people mad, I don’t know- but the bottom line is I have seen real abuse in action in more than one case.  I have seen it firsthand, and while I recognize that it comes in many forms, I can’t come down on parents who love their kids who make choices that I personally wouldn’t.  Mostly because it’s a big damn world and we’re all going to make choices someone else wouldn’t make in the name of doing right for our kid, and that doesn’t make us a monster.  There are real monsters who don’t care about their children and do horrible, horrible damage to those kids, mentally AND physically.  So it’s a choice I don’t agree with, and I think most of them (football parents, pageant parents, cheer leading parents, baseball parents) take it all too seriously, I understand that they want their child to do well and maybe have a career out of some natural talent.  Not evil.

Finally…

What?  Oh, the show: well the show lives up to it’s promise, does what it says on the tin.  Drama and sparkles ahoy.  The show will make most people angry and I try to avoid things that make me angry in general, but your mileage may vary.

Advertisements