Would you rob a small child?

Illustration by Ed Appleby
Illustration by Ed Appleby

Surprisingly, some mothers actually do

By Margaret Matthews, Senior Columnist

The TV Show Toddlers and Tiaras and other similar shows that have been aired in North America and Britain provoke me. It seems that some mothers push their small kids into adulthood, putting the pressure on them to participate in child beauty pageants and consequently robbing them of their carefree childhood.

Revealed in a set of interviews, the mothers seem to think that they are proud of their little daughters. A psychologist and child development expert, Dr. Linda Papadopoulos, however, analyzes the situation in a negative manner: she states that dressing a younger girl in elaborate outfits (padded bra, tutu, bikini, etc.), specially-made high-heeled shoes, wigs, false eyelashes, fake teeth, bright red lipstick, heavy eye-makeup, and bright-red nail polish on fingers and toes puts emphasis on a psyche that condones objectifying a woman’s body, presenting it as the most important aspect of a person and to be desired by the opposite sex.

To dress one little girl for a beauty pageant costs approximately $2,500, but the mothers are willing to splurge, in hopes that their little darlings will win. The focus is on the body image, and not on her intelligence or personality, which is a pathetic way of viewing a child. These small kids ranging in age from 20 months to five years are taught how to be seductive, to strut on the stage like peacocks, to charm the audience (whom they do not know) by waving, blowing kisses, pouting their lips as if wanting to be kissed passionately, posing, preening, twirling, and shaking their little bottoms to entice men.

They are put under so much pressure to win the contest, and losing would be terribly disappointing. Is winning the child beauty contest all that important? Hardly.

These images are subsequently posted on the Internet for the world to see, while the mothers don’t even realize the harm done to their daughters. The little girls are exposed to perverts who sexualize their bodies.

Just as much as society frowns on an adult behaving like a child (don’t be so childish, it’s time you grew up!), when a little child tries to copy and emulate the behaviour of an adult, it shouldn’t be acceptable either. Childhood is short enough already. I’m a firm believer that one should act their age, and let children enjoy their carefree childhood days for as long as possible.