Friday, August 15, 2008

Baby Beauty Queens and Other Weirdness

Been thinking about commonly held beauty standards and about how truly warped and weird our world is sometimes. Earlier in the week, everyone was talking about the opening ceremonies in the Olympics and the moment when the pretty little Chinese girl sang for everyone. Later, we all learn that she was lip-synching because the voice really belonged to another little girl who wasn't considered quite pretty enough to represent her country.

Okay, I don't know about you guys but this completely pissed me off. We're talking about a seven year old girl who is told...hey, your voice is great but you just aren't pretty enough so we're gonna steal your voice and stick it on this other little girl, who unlike YOU, is pretty. Oh PUL-LEEEZ. When are people gonna grow the hell up and see what is right in front of them. The value of a person doesn't rest on pretty or ugly or average. Skin color is irrelevant and so is financial worth.

The whole episode over the little girls makes me think of all those "baby beauty pageants". Now I hope I don't tick any0ne off when I say I think they are reprehensible. Sticking layers of fake hair, fake eyelashes and $1500 dresses on a six year old is beyond ridiculous. Fans of the practice say it teaches their daughters self-esteem. I don't buy it for a minute. Many of us have daughters and I hope we're teaching them to value things like brains, wit, compassion and kindness. These are the kinds of things I look for in a friend and pray I have instilled in my own daughter. Encouraging talent and good grooming is fine and dandy. I have no problem with that. But turning a perfectly adorable and normal six year old into a little "mini me" is beyond ridiculous.

Thanks for letting me rant. Just had to get this off my chest. :-) Ah...I feel soooo much better now!


Phoenix said...

Thank you for blogging about this. My daughter, P, is 8 and I am just heartbroken for the little girl in China. If it had been my daughter, she'd be crushed and it would have taught her a horrible life lesson. Makes me want to take that little girl in my arms and hug her. I can't imagine the scar the ceremonies will leave on her.

Regina Carlysle said...

That's what I was thinking. It's awful. What an inhumane way to treat people. I'm left with the thought...what the hell are people THINKING????

Back in the 60's an experiement was done by an African American study group. Can't recall the name of it but I saw a documentary about it. They put a white DOLL and a black one on a table and brought in children one at a time and asked a series of questions. Which is the good baby, which is the bad baby. Which is the pretty baby and which is the ugly baby.

Remember crying when the little black children identified the WHITE DOLL at being the good, smart or pretty baby. One after the other did the same. THis it all resulted from things they felt from people every day. These were very little kids..maybe four-six. Hideous experiment but showed what this kind of thing does to a child.

Anny Cook said...

While I on the other hand grew up with a little black baby doll and didn't think a thing of it. My granddaughters have "babies" of all colors of the rainbows.

I love to watch the kids dress up, but for a beauty pageant like for real? No. That's just icky.

Kelley Nyrae said...

Very sad for that little girl. They're setting her up for a life of low self esteem.

Anne Rainey said...

Things that this make my blood boil. I just don't understand people sometimes. What the hell were they thinking?!

Regina Carlysle said...

They WEREN'T thinking, in my opinion. It's all about the image they want to present to the rest of the world. THis wasn't a good way to go about it!

Regina Carlysle said...

Yep,Anny. When my daughter was little, she had a trunk full of "dress up" stuff. Big hats and boas and little heels. But it was just for fun and playing. But this sort of stuff is just kind of icky.

anny cook said...

Interesting that in this--supposedly done for Chinese national pride--they chose a WESTERN standard of beauty.

Regina Carlysle said...

Yeah. I thought about that Anny. Very strange.

Donna Marie Rogers said...

A few years back my older daughter wanted a black Barbie doll from the store, and my husband wouldn't let her get it because 'Papa' (his ridiculously biggoted father) would have thrown a fit. I was pissed when I heard about it much later (my FIL and I don't much get along as I have no tolerance for idiots).

I've always had a bad taste in my mouth about baby beauty pageants. They stuff their daughters full of candy and soda right before a competition so they're perky, and the fake eyelashes, hair pieces, makeup...

If you want to teach your daughter self-esteem, how about a NATURAL beauty pageant where they go up onstage as God made them? And frankly, I don't believe it's about building self-esteem in their daughters, I think more often than not it's about the mother's ego.

Regina Carlysle said...

I hope you went back and got her the "black barbie". Damn. That kind of ignorance is sickening, isn't it?

Watched a doc. on HBO about the little girl pageants and it all seemed soooo much more about the MOTHERS than the girls. The mother featured, completely ignored her other kids, couldn't pay her bills. Everything went toward the pageants.

BrennaLyons said...

I fully agree with the part about baby beauty pageants, but as for the China thing... Don't mean to preach but...there is more than one side to this story, and the US press is giving a lot of one side.

First of all, all we have to go on is a WHOLE lot of spin doctoring and hate mongering in the press, IOW...the scandal sells idea. The coverage I saw FROM China (US and UK journalists talking to Chinese citizens) is universally in support of the decision. Now, you can say that the government chooses who they allow into the area the US press is allowed to roam, but...again...this is a "we have nothing but the spin we're being given" thing.

As for the "news coverage" of this whole event, I haven't seen a single one yet that knows for sure what the little girls and their families had agreed to going into this. And, the host country has it's own sensibilities that need not match mine to be acceptable practice for their people.

The Chinese do NOT have the same sensibilities about these things as Americans do. If we did this in America, I could see it being a big deal, but both of these little girls were representing their country, in their own fashions, and maybe that was enough for them. Both did have something unique to bring to it.

Obviously, if the 9 y/o could sing as well as the 7 y/o, they would have had her singing in the first place...or maybe not. After all, you wouldn't want an open mic, in that situation. She probably still would have been lip synching on stage, even if she sang the song herself. So, there was something indispensable that the younger brought to the table.

Hate to tell you this, but performers from Munudo (sp?) to Milli Vanilli and even singers of today do it, espeically on long tours. Lip synching, I mean.

You know, the Chinese raise tons of children without our interference in their culture. All of the adult Chinese women I've met (those raised in China and transplanted to the US...including my SIL, who just came from there this year) are well-adjusted, graceful... Amusingly enough, my SIL gets nervous on US streets, because she feels our law enforcement is so much more "in your face" than what she's accustomed to. IOW, their sensibilities applied to our lifestyle is interesting to note, as well.

Oh, and's not unusual for Asian cultures to have European standards of beauty in their art, and a show is a form of performance art, which they pride themselves on. Read the book 31 Weeks In Japan: The Building of A Theme Park by Larry and Lorna Collins. In a chapter entitled "The Eye of The Beholder," they talk about how the female statuary was often created in the Greek or Roman styles, with buxom, rounded features that were Western and not Oriental in nature.