Glitz Girls scare me . . .

Underneath the spray tan, hair pieces, false eyelashes, pound of makeup and fancy dress there is a little girl.
Queen of the Glitz Pageants, Eden is now “retired” and pursuing an entertainment career

Yes, we do love our airbrushing. If you want to be considered "facially gifted," you will need to look like a doll. Literally.








Glitz girls.


 I find them fascinating, like a terrible auto accident you don’t want to look at but feel compelled to do anyway.. Toddlers & Tiaras and Little Miss Perfect are two of the reality shows of recent years  centered around child beauty pageants. And when I say “child,” I mean right down to infants whose favorite hobby is listed as “drooling” and favorite food is “strained bananas.” I am waiting for them to add a new age group–preborns, with the mothers parading across the stage holding up their sonogram images.

As a child, I enjoyed playing dress-up, putting on my mom’s costume jewelry and high heels and using Mama’s lipstick sample tubes from Avon, which were the perfect size for little hands. But I emphasize it was for play, entering the wonderful world of make-believe.

I wasn’t being coached, coated in a spray tan, clad in outfits of questionable taste for a 24-year-old, much less a child of four.  No one was telling me, overtly or covertly, that beauty was the most important attribute I could possess. Not intelligence, or creativity, or character traits such as kindness and generosity.

There are “natural” pageants out there where the use of makeup and elaborate hairstyles is minimal. But the glitz pageants–the same sort the late Jon Benet Ramsey participated in–seem to be growing ever more popular.

Perfectly lovely little girls, with freckles and missing baby teeth and their own fine, flyaway hair are transformed into creatures of such artifice they could quality as mini-mes for the Stepford Wives.

And all that fakery isn’t cheap. One of the frilly sequined cupcake dresses alone can set a parent back $1500. Then there’s the tanning sessions, manicures and pedicures, the hairstyle and makeup artists and coaches for the pageants, the other outfits required for competition, photos, entry fees. It is big business, without a doubt. As one pageant organizer said bluntly, “This isn’t a hobby for poor people. If you are poor, you need to find something else.”

Yet it is obvious some of the families aren’t well off, resorting to extra jobs and putting off purchases of houses in order to bankroll their kiddys’ pageant careers, hoping their little girl (and in some cases, little boy) will grow up to be a model or be crowned Miss America.

I don’t think a two-year-0ld child is mature enough to make decisions about entering beauty pageants. If you are a teenager and you want to do it, fine. But all too often, as the mothers themselves admit, it is their own dream they are living through their little beauty queens.

“I think I really enjoy it more than she does,” more than one mother will admit.

What bothers me most is hearing mothers badmouth other children at the pageants, making sly digs at their appearance and see them getting into a snit when their child doesn’t get the accolades they expected. What kind of example are you setting for your children when you behave this way?

Whatever happened to the concept of a gracious loser?

And whatever happened to little girls simply being little girls, scabbed knees, missing teeth, freckles and all?  Adulthood swoops in all too soon.


About fedoralady

I'm an LA native--Lower Alabama, that is. My husband of more than 30 years and I live here on a portion of my family's former farm with two gorgeous calicos and a handsome GSD mix. My background is art education, and over the years I've been a teacher, department store photographer, sales associate and a journalist. My husband, his business partner and I have Pecan Ridge Productions, a video production company, for which I shoot & edit video and stills and manage marketing. I also still write part-time for the local paper. I love movies, music, art, photography and books, and my tastes in all of them are eclectic.

16 responses »

  1. I really thought that after the horrors of the Jon Benet Ramsey murder this sort of thing might die out. But it’s only become more and more popular. And these pageant organizers are making plenty of money from it.
    These children don’t look like children when they get finished and when I see how some of the male judges look at them–well, it just gives me the creeps. To me it is a form of child exploitation. 😦

    • I agree completely. The kind of parents who would do this to a child horrify me. This a bizarre sort of pandering, and I feel it ought to be illegal. I have not seen this phenomenon outside the U.S. What is wrong with the culture that has people dedicating time, money, and resources to this rather than to education?

      • A bizzare sort of pandering, indeed. It teaches all sorts of wrong lessons and as long as there are these pageant coordinators raking in big profits–I am sure they buy their trophies and crowns by the gross and the monies, if any, given to winners is often negligible–I fear it will continue. How can people afford to spend tens of thousands of dollars in some cases for their children to do this? The answer is some really can’t. “Facial beauty and personality” seem to be geared to who has the best spray-on tan, the biggest bundle of fake hair, longest fake lashes, best fake teeth, nails and fanciest dress. Talk about instilling shallowness at an early age!
        Money spent on these events would be much better spent in a college fund, or to provide instruction in some activity the child is truly interested in–music lessons, art lessons, band instruments. Or how about helping out your local school system with new books for the library or other needs if you have the spare cash to do it?

        Mommies, if you want to play with dolls, buy them at the toy store. Don’t turn your child into one.

        I think I did see something about these types of pageants popping up in England–one of those things that should NOT be exported.

  2. Yay, Angie has a blog!
    Because of the economic downturn, I couldn’t afford anything but basic cable for the past couple of years. (That’s one reason I discovered RA, by watching movies/TV shows on the internet). But this past Christmas, I decided I was going to give myself a Christmas present by subscribing to a better cable package so I could watch classic Christmas movies during the holiday. It used to be that you could watch all the classic Christmas movies you wanted on TBS — Ted Turner’s first television station. But now they save the really good stuff (Miracle on 34th street, Christmas in Connecticut, It’s a Wonderful Life) for cable. Anyway I’m really getting off topic, so to get back on track…I subscribed to a better cable package and that’s when I saw this show Toddlers and Tiaras. Watching this show is akin to watching a train wreck. It’s a terrible thing to see, but you can’t quite help yourself. To me it’s unconscionable to parade these children around dressed in sexy costumes with layers of makeup and piles of fake hair. The most disturbing part is watching the parents. I swear one couple I saw the other night had to be perverted…there’s no telling what’s going on in that home. But these pageants are more than child exploitation; they’re child pornography and should be illegal.

    • Yey, me. 😀 And I get off-topic all the time, no need to apologize. Thanks for visiting and commenting!

      Re the glitz girls, I say I watch these things with a sort of horrified fascination. Yeah, like a train wreck. I saw a little girl of maybe five or six in a sequined halter and hot pants “sexy cop” outfit, shaking her tiny backside for one of the competitions. Totally inappropriate for a child that age. I wear makeup and color my hair and so forth, but I am a grown woman. I certainly would never have been allowed out of the house dressed or made up in that matter as a child. Seeing a three-year-old child crying because she is scared of having a spray tan put on breaks my heart. Seeing a little girl burst into tears because she didn’t get a high title and her mother is screaming about her being a loser breaks my heart and makes me furious.

      I think freckles and gap-toothed smiles and the twinkle in a child’s eyes without fake lashes and liner are beautiful.
      I am convinced some of these parents are frustrated beauty queens that never won a trophy–and not always just the female parents.
      Some of these little girls look like miniature drag queens!

      I would love to see an end put to these types of events, which are especially popular here in the south, where beauty pageants and football are almost a religious experience for some people. *rolls eyes*

  3. Eden Wood and her mother were out here in Australia not so long ago, and their reception was generally quite unfavourable, although Eden has her fans here. I think they made a more hurried departure than was originally planned. Thank goodness the beauty pageant here is nothing like Toddlers and Tiaras yet, although it would be naive to think there aren’t some parents out there who are all for it.

    • Eden’s mother is determined to turn that little girl into some sort of superstar. Eden has recorded songs and gone on tour to perform, “written” a book–does she actually have any talent? It’s questionable. But she is “facially gifted” (I hate that phrase. As someone said, isn’t everyone born with a face facially gifted??)

      It makes me so happy my mother never put excessive emphasis on our appearance other than encouraging us to be well-groomed and appropriately dressed for the occasion. We were encouraged to develop our brains and our creativity. We took music lessons, sang in the choir, had art classes and performed in plays. We read voraciously. I feel sorry for these kids who are being used to fulfill their parents’ dreams. And sadly, there does seem to be spreading like a bad cold. 😦

  4. I watches these programs with horrid fascination and for the first time in my life I appreciate the backwardness of my country. 😉
    Joanna from Poland

    • I remember watching a special on television when I was teaching in Talladega in the early 80s concerning child pornography and abuse. I felt I needed to watch it in order to be more knowledgable and to recognize patterns of behavior in abused children since I worked with kids. When the documentary was over, I felt like I needed to take a bath and scrub myself. This phenomenon leaves me with a similar feeling of grubbiness. The unchecked sexualization of children–some of them very youmg children–is rampant in our society and it’s disturbing.

  5. My gob dropped in horror when I saw a girl dressed in a Madonna style gold Gaultier corset. Cone b**bs and all! I find these stage mothers living vicariously through their children to be disturbing. It’s just so sad that these children will have difficulty carving out their own identities.

    • Oh, yes, I remember the little blonde in the cone corset. And there was one imitating either Dolly Parton or Marilyn Monroe, I am not sure which–a big blonde wig and a very padded bra under a tight pink dress. I think she was six. It’s sending all kinds of wrong messages to the kids. If their lives center around their appearance, what happens if they get sick or suffer an injury or grow up to be not so cute as an adult? As they grow older will they be so desperate to retain their looks they will go to any length to keep them? And a lot of the parents will admit it was all their idea to do this, that it means more to them than it does to their children, that they love the competition. Well, maybe the mommies should be the ones competing (and some of them do).

  6. Hi Angie, this disgrace of a show is on in Hungary too, on Discovery Channel. I watched it a couple of times with absolute horror. One thing I’ve noticed is that most of the mums of these poor little girls are clinically obese. You can already tell that some of the children are heading the same way. The mums are feeding them with candies and sugary sodas for God’s sake! I think they are simply not fit to be parents. The most horrific moment for me was when one of the little girls had to have her eyebrows waxed! WAXED!!! She cried with pain and I wanted to kill her mother! This is child abuse, pure and simple. 😦

    • Yeah, it’s pretty awful what the children have to go through. Just the hairdos and some of the outfits don’t look comfortable, and then to make a child endure waxing–I mean, it makes ME want to go ouch when I have it done, and if I had had to endure it as a young child, I would have felt like screaming bloody murder. Those flippers they make them wear over their regular teeth don’t look very comfortable either. I feel sorry for the children for what they have to go through. Yes, I have noticed a number of the moms are very large. Some of the moms say they are trying to keep the kids active so they won’t be overweight, but still give them Pixie Sticks (which is nothing but flavored sugar) and Mountain Dew, which has a load of caffeine in it, as does Red Bull. These events are not healthy for those kids, mind, body or soul.

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