Little girls in beauty pageants. From one month of age on up.
There are a lot of screwed up things in American society, and this is definitely one of them. The little girls themselves are pitiable; they might sometimes be cute but they aren’t pretty, they aren’t beautiful; they are living Barbie dolls, freaks on display. Their mothers, on the other hand, are pathetic, manipulative, inadequate, insecure women trying to capture — or recapture — some kind of glory and recognition in their lives (or on one show I watched, it was all about winning cash and cars for Grandma).
The girls wouldn’t even know about beauty pageants if their mothers didn’t make a point of telling them. They wouldn’t care about competition if their mothers didn’t press them into it. (I don’t think typical little girl dress-up behavior means they want to be anything more than like Mommy). They wouldn’t know to don wigs, false eyelashes, and spray tans if their mothers didn’t instruct them. And they certainly wouldn’t have learned beauty queen smiles, swishy hips, over-the-shoulder come-hither looks, and flirty winks at the judges without extensive tutelage.
It’s a sad thing to do to innocent, natural, happy-go-lucky little girls, not all of whom can be “the prettiest” no matter what Mom may think as she orders another $500 custom dress and adds another hour of practice to her less-than-perfect daughter’s routine. Enough sequins, enough sex appeal, the right judge — winning is only a matter of time.
The girls are learning that you do anything to win, that you use your sexuality to advantage whenever you can, that looks are everything, that being something you’re not can pay off, that failure is not an option because losing will make Mom unhappy or worse. Just good ol’ American values. Kids don’t grow up fast enough, you know. The sooner they learn to compete in this world, the better.
But what a payoff for Mom. Cash prizes, cars, travel, recognition, while the girls get a sash and maybe a tinsel crown. These women remind me more of dog handlers than of parents, and I don’t believe for one moment that any of them is doing it for her daughter’s benefit.
Is it any wonder I sometimes think JonBenet Ramsey’s mother did it in a fit of anger or frustration with her little beauty queen?