Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Perfection? Highly Overrated


Really late one night, I was flipping channels and just about to give up and crawl in bed when I saw this show called Little Miss Perfect. Has anyone seen it? Each episode follows two sets of mothers and daughters as they get ready to "compete" for the title of Little Miss Perfect.

I swear this show is like watching a train wreck and it becomes readily apparent that winning the crown is more important to the mothers than it is to the child. The little girls are just really normal looking little girls who lose their front teeth, want to play with friends and pretty much be NORMAL. But these moms are totally obsessed. They spend thousands of dollars on the frilly pageant dresses, cuter than cute bathing suits and drill their little charges on their dance routines until the children are stressed to the max.

I've now caught a few episodes very late at night and just shake my head over them. The moms argue this teaches their little girls poise and confidence and how to perform in public but I get the feeling the whole thing is more about "mom" who sits in the audience during each competition, hanging on the edge of her seat, biting nails, and basically looking utterly stressed. Now the interesting thing is there is almost zero audience. These things are held in hotel/motel conference rooms that are filled with folding chairs that remain largely empty except for a handful of moms and other friends and family. The moms grin hugely at their children on the stage and POINT at their smiles as reminders that smiles are always expected.

Also expected are the mounds and mounds of hair pieces, fake tans, and "flippers". Flippers are fake teeth that are placed in the child's mouth to cover the gaps, spaces, and flaws that are normal in a small child's mouth. I honestly don't think I'm the only one who believes a child doesn't need all this fake shit to be considered beautiful. Nothing makes me smile more than seeing the little school pictures that feature those happy, gap-toothed smiles.

Over the past few days, several of my friends and fellow Ellora's Cave authors have been discussing 'meeting' for the first time at Romanticon which will be held in October. We've been on line friends forever but many of us have never met in person. The idea of meeting evolved into a 'show of faces' as we proceeded to show that average women are goddesses too. Many of us have participated in this and we've posted pics of us without make up, fancy clothes, etc. Yes, average women doing our thing. Are we trying to make a point? Oh hell yes. I think so.

Want to catch a picture of me as I really am? Please check out my Regina Blog. Loud, proud and yes, very average. Average is okay with me.

12 comments:

pabrown said...

How can anyone doubt these poor girls are going to grow up with such horrible body image problems when it's clear to them that the only thing that matters to anyone watching them is how cute they are? Their own mothers are pimping them out and parading them around, urging them to fake enjoyment, smiling when they're tired or in pain. How on earth does that teach poise? Or self-confidence, when the opposite is being preached? I'm sorry, but I think those mothers are performing a form of child abuse.

Julia Barrett said...

These child beauty pageants chill me to the bone. It's like watching miniature Barbies - in a scary kind of way. I know many mothers and daughters believe pageant competition fosters self-confidence, but for me, there are so many other ways!

Wendy Williams said...

Occasionally I come across a 'natural' children's beauty pageant - no makeup, simple party dresses (or outfit that represents the personality of the child). Maybe that will become the norm someday . . .

Fran Lee's Romance Blog said...

With you 100% on this take, dear! A "beautiful baby" contest is a part of American history. My dad (born in 1912) was judged "the healthiest baby" at one such contest at age 1. But the rest of the garbage is a bit much. If moms want to enter the Mrs. America contest, let them. But let the kiddies just enjoy being kids.

Regina Carlysle said...

I'm soooo totally with you guys on this. Being a true beauty isn't about this kind of shit. It's about heart and intelligence and spirit.

You need to get a load of these mothers sometime. They cry and wring their hands. SOme barely exist financially and blow every bit of their money on the dresses and such. Insanity.

pabrown said...

I would like to know what kind of stress and trauma that puts on these little kids. If they lose they've disappointed mom -- and from what little I've seen of these things those mothers don't do much to hide their emotions. So this young, impressionable girl has to try to live up to impossible standards. I wonder how many of them end up with eating or drug disorders later in life.

Regina Carlysle said...

I wonder the same thing. They leave believing other little girls were prettier so they got a trophy and she ended up with nothing but a sobbing mother.

Bronwyn Green said...

I've seen snippets of this show and I ended up having to turn it off because I was SO enraged at the mothers.

I agree with pabrown - it's nothing short of child abuse. It's difficult enough to grow up a young girl in today's society without being shoved in a beauty queen mold where conformity and someone's jacked up idea of beauty is more important than the child herself.

From the bits and pieces of the shows that I've seen, these little girls are treated as if they're extensions of their mothers rather than people in their own right and that makes me incredibly sad.

Regina Carlysle said...

Extensions of their mothers...yes, that's it, Bron and there's something really sick about that.

I actually found myself thinking of Dr. Evil and Mini Me from Austin Powers.

Anne Rainey said...

I have NEVER understood this type of thing. I have two daughters and when my oldest was in dance, we saw a lot of this type of thing then too. Some of the mothers were like me, just introducing their daughter to something she may or may not enjoy. Other mothers were worst than obsessed. Their kids had to follow a strict diet, an exercise routine and behavior modification that seemed almost like brainwashing. They're expected to BE perfect. Act like ladies. Look poised and almost...robitic at all times. Creepy as hell if you ask me. I always just had the urge to mess up their hair and tell them to go play outside.

Regina Carlysle said...

No kidding. A friend commented about something on my Regina blog when I talked about this.It's almost as bad in sports.

Very true.
My kids were nationally ranked junior tennis players and I know of kids who were hit by a parent after losing a match. Insane!!!!

These pageant moms sit and bite their nails and cry. Saw one episode where the little girl who lost and her mom were leaving the building. The little girl said...that was fun, she was pretty. The mom said...they sure didn't like YOU.

Ummm. Where's my frickin gun?

Mia Varano said...

Have you ever seen the movie, Little Miss Sunshine? Great movie, and the ending is hilarious and heart warming. "She's a very freaky girrrl...the kind you don't take home to motherrr..." LOL