Saturday, 10 September 2011

*Pimp My Kid*

That should actually be the name of the TLC reality show about beauty pageants for little girls, not "Toddlers 'n' Tiaras".

My co-blogger posted about the latest display of venality and stupidity, here.

In the comments, DJ! readers wonder why women pimp their daughters in this manner.

Jezebel has a mind-boggling interview with someone who, I would venture to observe, is fairly typical of the venal and stupid mindset of these stage mothers. At one point, Stage Mommy describes the *enhancements* of the Dolly Parton outfit her daughter Maddy wears, which she herself wore as a child beauty pageant competitor, as "an added, y'know, extra bonus".

That woman sadly presents a stellar example of 'murrican "Caucasian debris" (more commonly known as white trash) mentality.

Nothing that I've seen, read or written about folks involved in this child exploitation shocks me. Though I'm puzzled that that none of the male judges for these beauty contests have ever been investigated or busted for kiddie porn.

There must a few of them, I'd reckon. Otherwise why would they do it? Imagine that job, the environment, the people you meet. Can it possibly be that lucrative, for the organizers?

Meanwhile, this is what some US kids consider child abuse, to the point of taking their mother to court.


Niles said...

I think the answer to at least this specific event lays in the fact the mother gave the girl an outfit she wore at the same age. Which means the mother's mother saved the outfit and made positive associations with it and apparently the pageant experience, so it was a family tradition/hobby/income basis.

I'm very not comfortable with shaming the mothers involved in these pageants on either their 'bad mothering' or their alleged low societal class. I can't help but feel the tv show at least gets a thrill out of showing off the 'bad mothering' so, like many of the 'reality' shows, the audience can have a superiority moment.

These women are rapidly being dumped into the 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' dilemma. They're encouraged all around them yea unto generationally that what they are doing is how women are supposed to behave. They are taught to discipline their daughters into doing the same, but they're *also* supposed to be the brave securitors of their daughters' psychosexual identity (and visual virtue?) and if they succumb to the patriarchy that offers them rewards where they had none, bammo, trashy pimpy women?

Where are the husbands/fathers in these allegedly 'traditional family value' families? Are they passive in this 'woman's business' or do they approve? And yes, very much, who is in charge of these events and how much control do they wield? Are they private companies? Overtly religious and conservative as the earlier example? Can the state have any say at all? Should the state have any say at all?

Is the anxiety in reactions because children are being costumed as adult, apparently sexually-available-to-men women? Or because it's apparent the kids will carry this performance training into maturity as gender role programming?

Are we afraid it gives even more excuses to patriarchal men and legal systems that declare the boundaries of 'good girls' in rape cases is state of dress, regardless of age? If so, shaming women dressing up their prepubescent girls as drag queens (until the girls get old enough to costume themselves) seems like catching water in a sieve. Sexual availability, as the slutwalks and survivors tell us, is fluid. Don't the systems and authorities excusing costume as avoidance of criminal responsibility need reformative assault more?

I don't know, maybe that qualifies as 'don't we have bigger hills to die on' dismissal of the problem.

fern hill said...

I just ran across this article from New Zealand. It reports that the 'Pretty Toddler' mother is getting hate mail and a FB group and petitions have been started to get the show off the air.

But it also reminded me that JonBenet Ramsey was a child pageant queen. Was her murder ever solved? I guess I've got googling to do.

fern hill said...

Nope. Never solved. But reopened in 2010.

deBeauxOs said...

Niles, there are also deeper socio-economical issues that support the popularity of these pageants, I think.

On some level, the exploitation of these girls by their mothers is exactly the same as that demonstrated by parents who subject their male and female children to the rigorous training and competing required to produce an Olympic (read: money-making) or pro athlete.

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