Earlier today we reported on Toddlers & Tiaras mom Susanna Barrett, who has filed a $30-million lawsuit against The Huffington Post, TMZ.com and The Daily Mail for sexualizing her 5-year-old daughter Isabella Barrett. As a parent and human being, I can see why Susanna is so upset. This is her child, after all, and it’s sickening to think there are people out there who would even attempt to sexualize a sweet little girl. There’s no denying it: Susanna has a valid point against these media outlets.
But Susanna is an idiot for allowing her daughter to appear on Toddlers & Tiaras in the first place. You don’t even need to watch the show in its entirety to see that how completely disturbing and highly inappropriate it is. And there’s no question these stage moms – and stage dads, for that matter – are exploiting their children to no end.
One of the more gag-worthy examples involves a mother dressing her 3-year-old daughter up as a prostitute based on Julia Roberts‘ character in Pretty Woman. The mother later explained, “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.” (Yes, hilarious.)
Another Toddlers & Tiaras mom opted to dress up her 4-year-old as Dolly Parton – fake breasts and all. Like hooker mom above, she claims it was all in good fun: “With anything people are going to think things are over the top but with gymnastics or dance or competitive cheerleading, you wear hair, you wear makeup.” (As if that justifies the padding in your 4-year-old’s Lycra catsuit!)
But back to Susanna Barrett. This is a woman who willingly put her child on a trashy TV show. What did she think would happen? To be clear, it’s sad that there’s a little girl in the middle of this whole lawsuit/scandal. And nobody – especially not an innocent child – deserves that. But I think Susanna is in major denial if she thinks there aren’t creeps and perverts out there who are going to view her child in a sexual manner. Is it a disgusting thought? Absolutely. But it’s also a harsh reality.
Which explains why it’s beyond me why any parent would want her toddler singing and dancing and parading around in skimpy little outfits, only to be judged by a panel of strangers (often consisting of middle-aged men). Some moms go so far as to add fake hair, fake teeth, fake nails and fake eyelashes into the mix. Susanna has a right to be upset but, hey, if you don’t want the media coverage, then don’t put your daughter on Toddlers & Tiaras. It’s really that simple.