The Pageant Boy

I was watching Toddlers and Tiaras tonight (as I do) and one of the contestants was a little 6-year-old boy. For the sake of gossiping about him behind his (and his mother’s) back, I’ll call him Johnny...

I was watching Toddlers and Tiaras tonight (as I do) and one of the contestants was a little 6-year-old boy. For the sake of gossiping about him behind his (and his mother’s) back, I’ll call him Johnny. He is an adorable kid with an energetic personality, and a love of pageants. Since he was the only boy competing that day, he swept all the categories plus a number of other awards. Among his spoils were a tiara (his choice) and a crown. He was named King (and will now, presumably, have a small country to govern and a succession question to answer.) Johnny’s mother teared up while watching his obvious joy of performance. She issued a challenge that anyone who didn’t like his pageant participation could go jump in a lake.

Which is why I felt a little sad at begrudging his participation.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not because I don’t think Johnny, as a boy, should be competing in beauty pageants, it’s that I don’t think that anyone should be in a beauty pageant.

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The whole culture is utterly creepy to me. Watching one mom tear up because her 7-year-old “looks like a 16-year-old!”...I’d be crying if my 7-year-old looked like a 16-year-old, too, but for the opposite reason. The only thing that threw me about Johnny was that he was thrilled to be performing; he was genuinely having a good time.

So often when we see these kiddie pageants the babes are about 2 pixi stix away from having a total meltdown. The moms appear to be doing their best to balance living vicariously, and tarting up their daughters in a way they wish they’d been tarted up. I just don’t understand why you’d teach your 4-year-old girl that “shaking it” is the best way to get the attention of adults; I don’t care how much fun you claim she’s having. Make-up, spray tans, flippers, and artificial “graceful” movements. The whole thing weirds me out, whether it's a girl or a boy.

Am I missing something?



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