Sunday, February 8, 2009

Toddlers and Tiaras

I've never been that thrilled with beauty pageants, to begin with. After JonBenet Ramsey's rape and murder, I got even more uncomfortable with the ones that are aimed at children. Well, as I'm sure a lot of you know by now, there's a brand new TV show on The Learning Channel, about beauty pageants for pre-schoolers and kindergarteners. It's called "Toddlers and Tiaras", and is already catching a lot of heat for seeming to celebrate the exploitation of small girls. Now, I'm not one to rush to judgment if I can avoid it, but I've got to say, when I found the show online, to research this rant... I was honestly sickened in the first fifteen seconds.

The teaser in the opening credits alone shows shot after shot, of girls no older than seven, not only being dolled up in these overly precious clothes and being airbrushed like a motorcycle, but being coached into giving forced, sometimes dead smiles (occasionally to the point of crying). Then, there are the many shots of these girls being paraded in swimsuits and short skirts, being told to make very suggestive dance moves.

Those who've been following my rants from the beginning, know that one of my all-time pet peeves, is parents who treat their kids like walking toys, rather than living human beings. The behaviour seen on this show is perfect example of what I'm talking about: self-absorbed drama queens who are so obsessed with using their kids as status symbols, that they were berate and brainwash them into thinking that being a pre-teen pin-up model is the only thing that matters in life. And don't even get me started on how every pedophile with Tivo or a VCR has probably recorded every single episode of this crap. I realize that the show has only so much control over what they document, but why is it too much to ask that someone thinks about how much this continues to sexualize children who ought to be more concerned about playing hopscotch.

We live in an age where it is already way too easy to see kids being used sexually, not only by the kind of predators that get arrested every day, but by the commercial pedophiles who see nothing wrong with selling 8 year olds shirts that say things like "Sexy 69", or having them both in skin-tight outfits, with the slogan "Lickable" (supposedly referring to ice cream). Why are parents and the media making this even easier? Do these people honestly not understand what they're doing, or do they not care?

Either way, if this bothers you, I strongly urge you to contact The Learning Channel and the Discovery Networks to complain about this. If this still goes on, let's all call the FCC, or the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council. They claim to be trying to keep our airwaves safe for family viewing, it's time for them to put their money with their mouths are. That's it for me.

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