Toddlers & Tiaras is a show that plays on TLC that follows participants of beauty pageants in the USA while they prepare for a show and while they perform on stage. The show often showcase screeching, misbehaving children with mothers who couldn’t discipline their own offspring to save their lives.
Some parents, like my mom, can’t even stand watching the show. Others, like myself, become extremely irritated and frustrated at the parents who can’t control their children and encourage their daughters to promote themselves on stage at such a young age. It makes me wonder what these kids will do when they’re older: will they promote themselves in a similar situations.
Others like Pamela Detlor, even think that beauty pageants and shows like Toddlers and Tiaras are basically child porn. She defends her statement by including the United States law statement that categorizes child pornography and comparing it to the TLC show. Here it is.
Under federal law (18 U.S.C. §2256), child pornography1 is defined as any visual depiction, including any photograph, film, video, picture, or computer or computer-generated image or picture, whether made or produced by electronic, mechanical, or other means, of sexually explicit conduct, where
_. the production of the visual depiction involves the use of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct; or_
_. the visual depiction is a digital image, computer image, or computer-generated image that is, or is indistinguishable from, that of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct; or_
_. the visual depiction has been created, adapted, or modified to appear that an identifiable minor is engaging in sexually explicit conduct.
Now, this may be interpreted in many ways. Mothers of pageant queens may defend themselves by saying that in no way are their kids depicting sexually explicit choreographies, they’re just having fun being kids.
Detlor also recommends that Toddlers and Tiaras should be immediately removed from the airs as some child molesters could be watching at home and planning a next move to strike. Although this thought may be a little extremist, some would definitely agree that this tv show does nothing good for society and should be removed from the airs. But what are the effects on parents and kids who might see this show?
Producer of Toddlers and Tiaras Tom Rogan says in an interview with Randee Dawn of the Today show that the show is there to educate people about the deep culture that is very popular in the States. He also defends himself when Dawn asks him if he should sometimes intervene in certain situation when he is filming by saying that the parents each have different ways to raise their kids and we should respect them. It’s all just a good learning experience, just like the Discovery channel, except with TLC, it’s all about the many facets of us humans.
Apart from causing lots of talk and and scandals in the media, what are the effects of these shows on us? Well, it can certainly disgust people, and make some, like myself, really wonder what kinds of people are out there nowadays. It can make people shake their heads in disgust, exclaim in outrage or watch open-mouthed how people can treat their own children. It can certainly turn us off to the whole pageant idea altogether. But would a show like this encourage kids to participate in pageants, wear make-up at a young age and strut their stuff while acting extremely permiscuous?
Maybe kids just watch this to make fun of kids. Hey, isn’t that what we all did when we were younger, reject the “weirdos”? Since TLC really doesn’t take a stance in their program and really creates documentary style tv shows, it really just leaves the viewer to judge for himself. I don’t think Toddlers and Tiaras really glorifies the pageant life. It certainly helps people to understand the troubles that they go through to achieve a perfect performance and it may also cause us to sympathize with them.
And the kids? Well, they might not even care. They might find all the glitz and glam fun, and try on mommy’s shoes, and that’s okay isn’t it since we all did that as kids? But they also see the crying fits and the hard work they are going through to have a “perfect” face. Some kids may want to look like that, but isn’t it then up to mommy to remind her daughter that she’s beautiful just the way she is? Yes, performances can help self-esteem, I’d be a hypocrite to say anything else. But when it all comes down to beauty and showing it off, what do you win in the end? A few hundred bucks? A car? Mommy’s happiness? Can you think of another job girls have that scores them cash when they putt on their show clothes and dance?
As for the pageants, I really don’t think they’re a good influence on kids and how they grow up. But as for the show, it’s just another one of those crazy programs. It doesn’t even glorify pageant life. I don’t know anyone who isn’t exasperated and freaked out when the credits roll after the 60 minutes of singing babies. Really, being exposed to this show may even turn some off to the whole idea of participating in pageants.
Here are some excerpts from the television show.