Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Toddlers & Tiaras - Is it just me....?

It's 7am in the morning and there is nothing on the TV.  Toddlers & Tiaras jumped out as something that I may have an opinion or two about.  

The first episode is about a Honolulu beauty contest.  One 5 year old says she practices all the time to make sure she looks 'sassy'.   I am guessing this is an English thing but I don't get the need to have such a young child to even know what sassy means let alone teach her how to walk like a 20 year old model! 

The poor child is being taught by a 12 year old (!) on how to walk as sexily as possible.  As the child puts it - she has to work really hard to get the walk right.  Her mum says that her daughter is hard on herself and if she can't get the steps right she gets 'very stressed'.  Should we be letting a child get stressed at 5 years old?  After all, they have plenty of time to do that when they are old enough to be worrying about passing exams well enough to get into college.

Another girl called Lindsay has a mother I really don't understand.  First of all, she dare not work out how much it costs for her daughter to take part in the contests and if her husband knew how much he would blow his top. Really, neither of them knows where they are with their finances? 

Another mother says her husband works 7 days a week and she has 2 jobs so her daughter can take part - is that taking putting all of your efforts into your children instead of your marriage a little far?

Lindsay's mum has her daughter spray tanned as it 'looks better than being white' and she is sure she won't get ill off it because 'if she can get through having lead paint on her then a spray tan is fine'- really?!  Lead paint - that is taking beauty over health too far.

Lindsay's choker is getting a little small - her mothers response?  'The choker really is a before comfort!'  I have no words....

The girls move from walking gracefully in dresses to shaking everything in the swimwear contest.  Lindsay is not happy as she cannot have her hair crimped in time for the swimwear contest but she knows how to turn it on when she goes on stage, even putting her finger to her mouth as a woman four times her age may do.

A lot of talent in the Talent part of the contest, a lot doing the native dancing of Honolulu.  One young girl hula hoops even though she didn't like learning it.  After all, it was her mothers idea not hers.  Luckily it goes well and she is so happy coming off stage.

Waiting for the results I have to wonder during the commercial break how well these children take it if they do not win.  Do they accept that the judges decisions are subjective or does it affect their confidence. Can you teach a child not to take it personally when they are 5 years old?

The swimwear vote goes to the 5 year old so I guess all that learning how to walk 'sassily' paid off.

In Lindsay's age group - 6 and 7 year olds she wins the crown and her mother is 'pretty happy' with the win.  Lindsay didn't want to win queen as she wanted to ultimate supreme crown and is very upset, though I do not understand what the difference is. 

For the talent award the 5 year old won with her hula hooping act and the little one says that 'she guesses her mum was right' when it came to insisting she did the hula hoop routine.

Lindsay sulks as she didn't win in the talent contest but is so glad when it is over.  

After watching the episode I have to wonder if a lot of the families are very wealthy having listened to the costs involved in taking part in a contest.  The work required by the children may set them up for the amount of work required later in life to get through school and college with good grades.  

I have to say that the show has left a nasty taste in my mouth.  I am sure that there are children that take part and love it but there seems to be a lot of the mum's dreams involved.  The amount of stress the younger children go through in preparation of a contest worries me and personally I think a child of 5 should be allowed to play without experiencing stress. 

I understand that it is a big business in the US and I guess that many young girls in US would want to take part as a result.  I suspect that is why I am more uncomfortable with it than mothers from the US would be.

I don't think I can watch another episode.  The beginning of the second episode has a young girl being chased around the room and screaming as her eyebrows are waxed!  

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