• Wed, Sep 7 2011

It’s Time For Child Protective Services To Intervene On ‘Tiaras’

The worst thing about TLC’s “Toddlers & Tiaras” is that there is a market for it. We live in a world that doesn’t just give parents an opportunity to exploit toddlers through so-called beauty pageants but also a world where such exploitation makes for a hit reality television show. That’s sad.

But the Parents Television Council has sounded the alarm about the latest horror to come from the show. A mother dressed her daughter up as a prostitute and had her compete. This is in no way an exaggeration. In fact, it’s not just a prostitute but an iconic prostitute in a “hooker” uniform.

Entertainment Weekly has the details about a 3-year-old being dressed as Julia Roberts‘ prostitute character from Pretty Woman:

“We have a serious problem when The Learning Channel* features a toddler, who probably hasn’t even learned to read, dressed as a prostitute showing off her sexy strut,” says Melissa Henson, director of communications and public education for the PTC: “There’s no question, TV executives are complicit in robbing these small kids of their childhood. For years we’ve seen adult sexuality being inappropriately and aggressively foisted on innocent young children, but children today are being sexualized at younger and younger ages.”

The network had no comment, but the girl’s mother, Wendy Dickey, explained the outfit to EW:

“Well, at this pageant there was an option to do celebrity-wear,” Dickey says. “And we thought about what we could wear with her being a brunette and Julia Roberts is my favorite actress of all time. I thought it was real cute to do Julia. She’s 3, if she was 10 I never would have considered this. But as young as she is I thought it was very comical.”

What in the h-e-double-hockey-sticks is wrong with this woman? Actually, from the looks of the screen shot on the promo I refuse to watch for the show I refuse to watch, I think there literally might be something “wrong” with her, if you know what I mean.

Seriously, she should spend the time and money she’s wasting on vanity training for her toddler and invest in a clue. It is literally never appropriate to dress your child as a prostitute. See, that was easy, right? Mothers who pimp out their daughters — whether for “fun” or not — are really bad people.

Also, she should use her extra funds to buy a dictionary. Later in the article she says she’s amazed anyone got upset about dressing her daughter up as someone who sells her body for money and says it was the cutest thing ever and “innocent.”

Instead of highlighting that trashy show, I’ll put up this spoof of it by Tom Hanks:

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  • Jen

    This is part of the larger trend of sexualizing and objectifying GIRLS at a younger and younger age. “Cute” or “Sexy” t-shirts, bikinis for seven year olds and pre-teen “sexy” model shoots are becoming an accepted part of the culture and it is worrisome.

    But this is also part of the continuing erosion of the rights of women in general. We STILL make less money than men and “women’s industries” as well as labor in the home is still considered less important. Slut shaming and rape apologists have become more and more the norm. Women’s health (and I’m not ONLY talking about abortion rights) continues to lose funding and steam. As so many of the articles on this site the past few days have proven giving birth in an American hospital can often be a form of cruel and unusual torture and there is very little legal recourse.

    Given all this, it seems to make sense that our young girls are treated as objects for male gazes to be judged by surface value alone at younger and younger ages. After all, what kind of women are the girls of today going to become when “feminist” is thrown around like an insult and even strong, empowered women are analyzed based more on what they wear than what they say or do.

    • xobolaji

      i totally agree. it was only a matter of time before people started to notice–so many of us turn a knowing blind eye–to how insidious and pervasive this disturbing this “trend” has become. i’m not sure why the pretty woman “costume” created such a strong reaction when most of the young girls seemed to be one outfit away from this stage from the very beginning.

      very recently i read the september editorial from the editor of elle magazine in which she suggested that the word “feminist” be retired. that’s right. her words exactly. i tweeted this out to the twittersphere and surprisingly no one responded. fashion as we know it is the biggest perpetrator of disturbing images that sexualize young children and very young women so it isn’t much of a surprise. i do wish that we would step up our efforts in protecting children from fashion and it’s creepy predilection towards youth.

    • Canaduck

      Good but very depressing comment. :(

  • Christy

    What is interesting to me in this culture that sexualizes little girls is our ever-growing fear of pedophiles that is occuring as well. Now more than ever, people are too fearful to leave their children unattended for just a few seconds, lest a predator snatch them away. YET, Americans are all too willing to dress their daughters like sluts. It really makes no sense at all!

  • Mel

    “Actually, from the looks of the screen shot on the promo I refuse to watch for the show I refuse to watch, I think there literally might be something “wrong” with her, if you know what I mean.”

    The woman in that screen grab/promo isn’t the girl’s mother, for one thing. But if I’m reading your comment right, you’re implying that she “looks” mentally ill/mentally disabled, and therefore something is “wrong” with her, which is actually pretty offensive.

    • Jen

      I completely agree with you. Let’s not be immature and offensive just to try to make a point.

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