Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Wrong Reality

by Joyce

Is it just me, or are reality shows getting out of hand? I've never been a fan of them in the first place, but I recently heard about one that's just plain wrong.

It's called Toddlers and Tiaras, and it airs on TLC. Anyone hear about this before? I'm a little behind the times, because season two begins this week. Here's the description of the show from the website:

"On any given weekend, on stages across the country, little girls and boys parade around wearing makeup, false eyelashes, spray tans and fake hair to be judged on their beauty, personality and costumes. Toddlers and Tiaras follows families on their quest for sparkly crowns, big titles, and lots of cash.

The preparation is intense as it gets down to the final week before the pageant. From hair and nail appointments, to finishing touches on gowns and suits, to numerous coaching sessions or rehearsals, each child preps for their performance. But once at the pageant, it's all up to the judges and drama ensues when every parent wants to prove that their child is beautiful."

This makes me more than glad I only have the basic-basic cable that costs $13.16 per month.

There's something drastically wrong and sad about parents who tart up their daughters (and sons, too, from what I've read) to look like little tramps. And they DO look like little streetwalkers.

I've always thought I was far from being a feminist. I'm very traditional. I believe in "til death do us part," and that mothers should stay home with their children until they go to school (unless she HAS to work to pay the bills). But I also believe that men and women should treat each other as equals. Men and women should respect each other. And their children.

In my opinion, the parents of these beauty pageant kids are treating them like objects. Like little baby dolls that they can make up, dress, and parade around for their own egos. One contestant is--get this--TWO WEEKS OLD. They're teaching these girls that how they look is the only thing that matters. It's bad enough that television, movies, and magazines force adolescent girls to obsess over their appearance, why would you do that to a toddler? And whether they realize it or not, they're sexualizing their daughters. I can't help but remember the JonBenet Ramsey case.

So, maybe I'm more feminist than I thought. Or maybe I just have common sense.

If you think I'm wrong, go watch this video.


Martha Reed said...

Joyce, I think it's more than specifically feminist - I think you're standing up for human rights, for those humans who are being objectified.

Have you see Little Miss Sunshine? It's outrageous and all about pageants. The ending will have you howling "oh no!" but it's so right on you'll be squirming in your seat. I recommend it, and thanks for the post!

Annette said...

It's not just little girls. The two-week-old that you mentioned was a boy. FYI, I only know this because I saw it on a news blip. I find the whole baby pageant thing repulsive for all the reasons you've mentioned, Joyce.

Joyce Tremel said...

I haven't seen that movie, Martha.

I think what I find most repulsive is the "tarting up" of these kids. If they want to have pageants, why can't they let the participants look like children? You know--cute outfit instead of trashy, pigtails instead of big hair, freckles instead of make up. That might be tolerable. Well, maybe not.

Wilfred Bereswill said...

I'm wit' cha, Joyce. Not about reality shows in general, because there are a number that I follow and enjoy. But about this one in particular.

As a matter of fact, I enjoy the dancing shows, Dancing With the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance. HOWEVER, several times each of those shows have had child ballroom champions perform. Now, not that there's anything wrong with teaching dance to children, but, for some reason seeing these 10 year old's dancing an extreme adult style, just looks wrong to me. Let kids be kids.

When I first started reading your post, I thought about the first time I heard the promo for Biggest Loser. I thought it was going to be a show where Fox Broadcasting would exploit obese people for ratings. I couldn't have been more wrong. I am a big fan of the show and think they provide great motivation and perspective.

Whenever I think of the child beauty pageants, JonBenét Ramsey always comes to mind and her sad story.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I agree with Martha...this process objectifies children.

I'm hoping the reality show craze will run its course soon.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Joyce Tremel said...

Will, Biggest Loser is one of the few reality shows I can tolerate. At least they're real, down to earth people who are accomplishing something commendable.

Joyce Tremel said...

Me, too, Elizabeth.

It seems like most of the TV line up anymore consists of reality shows. Most nights, if I turn the TV on, I end up watching the A-Team and Magnum, PI on RTN. And of course, Newhart is on Sundays on WGN.

Although, I will admit that I like the American Idol try-outs.

Karen in Ohio said...

Reality TV--which ought to be more accurately termed "unreality"--will never go away because it's so cheap to produce. "News" programs are also so much more common for the same reason, they cost the studios or networks so much less than a sit-com or drama would. Which is why TV is such a sad mental wasteland today.

The pageant shows for little ones is only the tip of the sex object iceberg. Just google any sexual term, and then prepare yourself for the millions of websites that have young women (and men) in various stages of undress and in the most humiliating positions, showing themselves to all the world. Self-respect, I fear, is a thing of the past for the younger generation.

Word verification, appropriately: exces

Gina said...

Joyce -
I'm in agreement about baby beauty pageants and reality tv in general. And Little Miss Sunshine creeped me out - am I the only one who thought that grandpa was a child molester?