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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Toddlers and Tiaras? No, Thanks.

Last night, my husband and I caught about three minutes of the show "Toddlers and Tiaras."  There was a pretty little girl in a lot of make up, smiling and standing before a crowd, her mother proudly looking on with tears in her eyes.

"When I'm in my make up," the little girl said, "I feel pretty."

And she looked pretty.  I certainly wasn't scandalized.  It looked like any other mother / daughter activity to me.

The next shot was a teaser for the next segment, in which a young girl, probably three or four, was walking down the corridor, getting ready to go on stage.

"Don't take your dress off right now," the mom said calmly.  The girl stopped in her tracks, put her head down, whined, and flopped face-down on the floor in slow motion.

My husband and I dissolved into laughter.  That would have been Natalina's exact reaction.  Suddenly I was overwhelmed by the pressure on these families and the effort they must exert to go through this particular activity.  They can have it.  We're not interested over here.  Let me tell you why.

1) I happen to think my two girls are the most beautiful human beings ever to toddle the earth.


Oh, you don't? That's okay.  I am acutely aware that as the mother of these two girls, I will find them more beautiful than anything.  I assume that every other mother of every other child thinks the same about their children.  Therefore, my opinion of their beauty is useless in determining whether they should be on a toddler runway.  I prefer to have my viewpoint, separate from the judges and audiences that would not be so kind.

2) As a parent, I don't have the energy to truck them around to this and that agent or show producer.  The casting calls, the constant primping, the frills, the organization.  I mean, it's all I can do to get them to the library two miles away.  And putting make up on a two-year-old kid?  I can't even put make up on myself.  I'm not cut out for show business.

3) I highly doubt they're cut out for show business, either.  The scene with the little girl flopping on the floor seconds before her big moment reduced me to giggles because I'm absolutely sure that would be us should we ever attempt the spotlight.

4) I don't know if I would be strong enough to put all this pressure on them and emphasis on their looks and at the same time instill in them that looks mean (or should mean) nothing in the real world.  I am not a complicated enough creature to be able to resolve those mixed messages.  I'm sure some parents can do it, but I have no idea how.

5) It takes them out of a loving home environment and puts them under harsh lighting and critical eyes at such a young age.  They are just learning about themselves and their place in the world around them.  I just don't think adult stranger criticism is going to help their development.

Thankfully, so far in their two-year life-span, the girls have never expressed to me an interest in showing off their looks to millions of strangers on television.  While some toddlers may have a burning desire to do this, mine are content to play princess and superman.

I'd like to keep it that way.


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  1. I haven't watched the show yet. But I've heard lots of people talking about it lately. Some good, some not so good. Lol.

  2. Have you seen Little Miss Sunshine? Quite a fun twist on the world of kid pageants.

  3. I haven't. I've heard it's really good though. I'll have to check it out!

  4. Pageants are different from a lot of childrens modeling.
    It's funny that you posted this today because we just came back from a casting call for Hasbro.

    Of course we decided that if it ever becomes something that isn't fun then we will no longer do it. I'd never push Garrett to do this if he didn't enjoy it.

  5. Those kids are pretty darn adorable, I don't think it's a matter of opinion! Great post, looking forward to more. Thank you for trying to see my blog, sorry you had trouble.

  6. Well, thank you! I'm still having trouble, but I'll find a way to follow you, yet!

  7. Cute post! I'm thinking your a great mom. And, your girls are two of the most beautiful human beings I've ever seen! Love your blog! Janae

  8. I'm not proud of this, but: last night, in the battle for my attention between Toddlers and Tiaras on TV and the actual, you know, paying work on my computer screen? Toddlers & Tiaras was TOTALLY winning.


    I try not to be one of those "at least I'm not like *that* moms," but -- I can barely even relate to that world. And there's no way I want my toddler's obsession with the mirror to go beyond playing around at home with my chapstick and an outfit she chose from her closet, you know?

    I know things will get more complicated in the future, but I sure don't want to be the one to push us there.

    -Karinya @ Unlikely Origins

  9. I watch this show if it happens to be on, and nothing else is catching my attention. The last time I saw it, there was a "natural beauty" part of the contest, in which the girls were judged without all the make up and glam. The mother of the girl who won was MAD. She wanted her to win the glitz part. Seriously, she was just told her daughter was a very pretty girl without make up on, and she got mad? If I have a daughter, I will never let her get involved in this!
    I will, however, continue to watch as it makes me feel better about my parenting! :)



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