TV in Malta is unbelievably bad, well in terms of what’s available in English anyway. I’m subjected on a daily basis to BBC Entertainment (EastEnders is about a month behind the UK, which actually works out ok for me as that’s when I last watched it in Spain), E! which has opened my eyes to the world of Playboy Bunnies and the Kardashians and of course Discovery Travel & Living which has me watching Toddlers and Tiaras – usually in disbelief!
If you haven’t had the pleasure of watching this show here’s a clip for you:
This is a tame clip of the show compared to some of the episodes I’ve seen. They can include anything from children as young as 3 or 4 having makeup troweled onto their faces, having numerous coverings of spray tan because they’re “not dark enough” and having their eyebrows waxed or plucked. Not to mention the teeth whitening or being made to wear a “flipper” which creates an illusion of perfect teeth and is rather like a gum shield. Then of course there is sheer expense of all of the dresses, pageant tickets and hair and beauty which amounts to thousands of dollars a time. Plus the girls dancing about on stage in swimwear (which is glued down so it doesn’t ride up their butts by the way!) in front of some rather questionable looking judges.
What’s not to like? As one mum so eloquently put it “I guess you’ll think we’re doing something wrong if you have an ugly child” – yeah that’ll be it! I do however agree with one of the dads when he said “It makes her look like a midget prostitute” of his daughter. These kids don’t look like children, infact that is the only way I can describe them “midget prostitutes” which is a terrible thing to say- they look like miniature versions of the women I used to see standing on slip roads waiting for business in Spain, even their dresses are scarily alike!
Of course some of these children seem sweet enough, others are divas in the making and can throw an almighty hissy fit at the drop of a hat, which this now famous clip shows:
When I was younger I loved dressing up and I often tried on my mums make-up, much to her dismay when she found me smeared in her latest lipstick from head to toe. I liked nothing more than putting on a “show” for family with my sister, strutting our stuff in our new outfits or singing a song. But would I have liked to be in a pageant? Probably not.
The amount of pressure that seems to be put on these children to win a coveted title, to be crowned “the most beautiful” (actually one of the titles they can get) or the most photogenic seems unfair at such a young age. One contestant was told by her mother not to gain weight because she wouldn’t fit into her dress and declared that she didn’t mind because her mum just wanted her to be thin and beautiful. It seems an unhealthy message for a child so young to learn, that you have to be thin to be beautiful or you have to be crowned “the most beautiful”. When it’s what you’re brought up to think surely that can lead to all kinds of insecurities as you grow older.
Maybe I’m wrong, maybe these kids grow up to be completely self assured, with no hint of diva in sight, but it’s certainly not something I’d ever encourage my daughter in pursuing.
Are beauty pageants nothing but a bit of fun? Should children be encouraged to look like children for as long as possible? What do you think?