Pageant Moms and Troubled Tots

July 23, 2009

Okay, folks..another rant here.

Last night, I was bored so I flipped on the TV and caught a show entitled “Toddlers & Tiaras”. I paused there for a moment (waiting for the sleep meds to kick in) when all of a sudden I had another one of my “light bulb” moments. A real “AHA” moment that came up from behind and kicked me square in my ass.

For those of you unfamiliar with the premise behind the show, the title alone pretty much explains it all: “Toddlers being forced to compete in beauty pageants for money, fame, and of course ‘tiaras’.” Wonderful. Really.

My AHA moment? When I heard the five-year old saying, “I want to win 1,000 so I can spend it all on me.” Yes, world, this is what she said. I shit you not.

Nothing screams “OH MY FREAPIN’ GAWD” louder than the sound of a whiny 5-year old brat with an already over-developed sense of self-importance. How endearing.

There is something very unnerving to me about a pageant mom whose only purpose and job in her life is to cater to her child’s every whim and fancy — spending thousands of dollars every year on fancy, sparkly dresses, more makeup than a French hooker, and fake hairpieces.  Whatever happened to letting a child enjoy her childhood, free from the constraints of self-consciousness and self-importance?

No 3-year old child should have any idea what a “hairpiece” is, or that purple eyeshadow goes great with green sparkly dresses and pink feather boas — unless of course she’s playing dress up in mommy and daddy’s bedroom. Now, that I can accept as an appropriate time and place for “dress up.” When isn’t it? When that same 3-year old is paraded in front of a bunch of strangers and forced to twirl around and shake her little booty suggestively to get that extra point from the judge so she won’t have to end up hearing such comments from her mother as “Honey, sorry, but Ashleigh is way more prettier than you — sorry ’bout your luck. Next time, try harder to be prettier.” Way to raise a child with self-esteem–psycho bitch mother from hell.

A couple of weeks ago, I ranted about the show “Real Housewives of New York City” and how disgusted I was by their presumption of entitlement and extreme self-absorption. I went on about how I feel these women are doing a disservice to those of us who put family and friends before fame and fortune. I wondered where they developed these grandiose ideas.

Now I know. I don’t know for a fact how the housewives’ collective egos were over-inflated, but last night, I got a good look at how it begins. And that just sickens me.

I want to hear from these mothers. I want an explanation for why you do this again and again. What are the payoffs for your child? For you? Have you ever stopped and actually listened to your whining, crying, sobbing, tantruming, “I-don’t-wanna-do-this-anymore- mommy!” screeching child as you are in her face pleading “Just smile already, Sissy! You’re being a big brat right now and there is no way the judge is even going to look at you!” (translation to a 5-year old child’s ear: “You’re not good enough, you never will be unless you win that money and giant trophy.” Again, way to parent, psycho mom.)

I don’t know how these pageant moms can so openly and willingly sacrifice their daughters to the altar of “self importance” and continue to sleep well at night. As a mom of a beautiful 13 year old daughter, I know what would have happened to her had I decided to drag her tired, whiny, over-polished, over-primped and wildly-inappropriately-dressed-for-her-age body from pageant to pageant beginning at 6 months old.

First, I know I’d be even poorer than I am now. Second, I would be dealing with an over-indulged, over-inflated, egocentric, spoiled brat of a child right now. One who assumed the earth revolved around her and her only, to the exclusion of everyone else.

Hmmm, sounds a little like the ladies on The Real Housewives of New York, now that I think about it.

So, pageant moms, how are you going to deal with your little darling when puberty hits and your child’s beautiful face is covered with acne? Or her teeth are crooked? What if she asks you the question: “Mom, am I still pretty? How come nobody thinks I am pretty anymore?” What will you tell her? Will you tell her: “Sorry, but pageants no longer want you now that you’ve outgrown your cuteness”? Have you even thought that far ahead? What if, horrors of horrors, she gains weight during puberty? Goodness gracious, what then? Whatever will you do to fight the effects of aging? After all, you’ve been dressing your little doll up like a hooker since the age of three. I guess the teenage years are set aside for retirement, huh? Just when the girl is coming into her own sense of self…Egads, talk about creating a monster.