Originally published 6 August 2008.
You’ve seen the pictures or films or whatever, right? Girls aged seven or so slathered with make-up and paraded around on a stage. There was a movie recently, “Little Miss Sunshine”. Perhaps you’ve seen it. Surely you remember the whole Jon-Benet Ramsey thing back in the day.
My question is, what the hell is this sick circus and who is not creeped out by it? There are strange things in the world, but this has to be near the top of the list of creepiest.
Many people say they exist for the vicarious thrills they provide the mothers, that this circus is all about these women overcoming their personal failures by transferring their ambitions onto those of their children. Fair enough – this happens a lot, actually. You know, forcing piano lessons, overhyping academic success… But this goes above and beyond the limits of appropriateness. Frankly, these little girls are transformed into sexualized objects for, one presumes, the benefit of pedophiles everywhere.
And what I find most amazing is the reaction that I imagine I would get from such a mother were she to read that sentence. I can imagine that they would get their proverbial knickers in a twist, talking about how I’m the inappropriate one for even suggesting it. The fact is that these pageants present a child dressed up in a highly inappropriate, overly sexualized fashion and then pretend that they don’t.
Who are they kidding? I don’t know any of these parents and I don’t know any pedophiles. Thus I don’t know anybody who would dream of going to such an event. I don’t know anybody not completely revolted by the idea, in fact. Let’s try to imagine for a minute a person who has no personal self-interest in the pageant and is not sexually attracted to children, yet still enjoys, attends and appreciates these… um, spectacles. What kind of person is this? What’s in it for them? I honestly don’t know.
Kids are wonderful. I love kids. I think little girls are beautiful. But when I say ‘beautiful’, I don’t mean anything even remotely similar to what’s paraded about on the stage at these pageants. Kids need to be kids. There are a million sick, twisted ways that adults conspire, intentionally or not, to rob kids of their childhood prematurely. We do not need these kinds of child beauty pageants as yet another.