• Fri, Jul 19 - 12:30 pm ET

STFU Parents: Baby Photo Contest Blasts Are Still Annoying

If there’s an annoying parenting trend on Facebook that’s existed since I started STFU, Parents over four years ago, it’s baby contest blasts. I’d be surprised if there’s a single person out there who doesn’t know what I’m talking about, but for clarity’s sake, baby contests are photo contests parents enter their children in so they can presumably win prizes, clout, or both. However, I’ve heard that the smaller, more boutique-y contests (held by blogs, photo studios, or independent kids’ product companies) are often fixed, and the larger ones, such as the Gerber Generation Photo Search, are nearly impossible to win due to high entry rates. But neither of those deterring factors slow down parents who crave the affirmation (and prizes) that confirm their child is as cute as they think he or she is. For some parents, it’s just a silly game, and for others, it’s fucking war.

That’s not to say I’ve personally heard from people who were defriended for not voting or “Liking” their friend’s baby contest status update. Most of the time when parents beg their friends for votes on Facebook and threaten to “find out” who did or did not vote, they let go of their aggression the second the contest ends. Only during the voting window are they crazed enough to harass friends with repeated updates and off-putting demands. Still, I wonder why parents even bother with these contests. Who wants to beg their online friends to do *anything* anymore? With so many crowd-sourced fundraisers, pleas for marathon-related donations, and requests for page “Likes” that don’t require you to leave Facebook and sign up for an account first, you’d think baby contests would’ve died down a long time ago.

But nope, they’re a mainstay. They’re not going anywhere until parents unilaterally decide to stop comparing the cuteness of their children — and we all know that’s never going to happen. Let’s take a look once again at this interminable tour de force.

1. Proud Parents

STFU ParentsEmily’s update is reasonable, yet defensive. A better approach might be to say, “I realize there’s likely a zero percent chance of Abbey winning this idiotic contest I’ve enrolled her in, but I’m still going to try to get her votes anyway. Please ignore or hide my annoying updates for the next 23 days. For those who are supportive we THANK YOU.”

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  • Paul White

    I hate those, and have unfriended people for continually posting them. And it isn’t just the baby photo contest; it’s any contest that requires me to sign up for crap or give people permission to use my info, etc. Screw all that stuff.

  • KB

    Oh great, something else to aspire to….having the ‘cutiest’ baby.

  • quinn

    These suck, and I’m currently getting hit up to not only go vote, but to vote on a site that charges per vote! I will never, ever comply with that, I don’t care if your cutiest baby unfriends me.

  • alice

    I loooove Emily’s defensive rationalizing. “I’m not gonna apologize for being a proud parent. Especially when you hear so much bad stuff in the news about parents hurting their kids. Me? I’m just EXPLOITING MINE ALL OVER FACEBOOK TO WIN THIS STUPID FUCKING CONTEST.”

  • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

    Emily has a different definition of supportive than I do.

  • Shelly Lloyd

    I don’t mind these “please vote for my baby/cause/politician/photo….contest” showing up in my newsfeed on FB. I can just scroll past them. What I hate is when they post them on my timeline! I had one mom get all pissy with me when i deleted her baby photo contest that she posted on my timeline. People are crazy.

    • Justme

      There is a privacy feature on FB that allows you to approve anything that people post to your timeline.

  • JLH1986

    I hate the “Buy cookies from my girl scout” posts. I inevitably see about 800 posts a day for 3 months about this. So I just buy my secret snacks from strangers…

    • Wendy

      Any of those things that the KIDS should be selling bug the crap out of me. My parents never would have done that shit for me! They would escort me around the block, but they would never have done it for me. Girl Scout parents (my daughter is one) are not supposed to sell using Facebook/email/stuff like that. They are allowed to Facebook something about who would like their daughter to call them…but they are no supposed to be selling/making deals for their daughters online. I know they do and it’s super annoying, but if they’re doing it….they’re not teaching their kid anything and also being a bad example because they’re supposed to know that rule. So feel free to ignore their asses.

    • Justme

      I did Girl Scouts ages ago before the invention of the internet and it involved walking around to the neighbors I knew and sending the sheet with my mom and dad to work. I was shocked to see that cookie sales has gotten so competitive! I think some women treat it as a different branch of the “Mommy Wars” – if my daughter can sell the most cookies it means that I’m the best mother.

    • AP

      I welcome a subtle alert that one is has a fresh shipment of the green (boxes) ripe for the dealing.

  • Coco Robbins

    I did sign my baby up for a cute baby contest on a local credit union’s website and posted on FB almost daily but I quickly realized that most people aren’t going to want to create an account on a website for something they have nothing to do with. Also, it became obvious to me that the winner of the contest was doing something besides posting on FB to get votes as there was a huge gap in the number of votes from 1st to 2nd and beyond. I won’t be doing that again.

  • notorious

    I hate these contests. I wish that companies who were looking for baby models or whatever would just post a casting call, or have their interns choose or something. 9 times out of 10, the kid with the most votes is NOT the cutest, just the child who had the most obnoxious family member badgering all their acquaintances across multiple platforms.

    • brebay

      They do. These are just marketing gimmicks and way to get contact info.

  • SDA

    Hate these contests. Had a friend that launched a serious assault on Facebook trying to get her child voted. I mean like multiple messages and wall-posts a day and this was a friend I would NEVER have expected to go nuts (well, at least for a baby photo contest). Do FB users not realize that EVERYONE on Facebook has at least 50 friends with kids, so no, we don’t want to spend our life’s free time voting for their kid. Entering mine doesn’t even tempt me in the slightest.

  • The Great Queen Spider

    The last one just looks like spam.

  • Rachel Sea

    I will totally vote for your baby, as long as I don’t have to get on a mailing list, give an app access to my facebook, pay a fee, or listen to passive aggressive bullshit about how if I actually cared about you, and your precious, precious snowflake, I would vote, solicit votes from everyone I know, take out an ad on the internet, and unfriend everyone who doesn’t vote.

  • Liz

    I hate these things so much. Seriously, I don’t care what contest you have your kid in. Don’t spam my page with it. I’ve been spammed by these things so much that I’ll purposely vote for another random kid if one of my friends posts about their sneauflake on my page.

  • Cee

    A friend of mine but her child in a contest, her and other mutual friends kept blasting my facebook with voting announcements. It was cruel of me, but I kept hoping the kid would lose so they’d stfup. Alas, they won first place, now they have stronger motivation to do this shit again.

  • LawGeekNYC

    I am going to go hug all my friends for never doing this to me. The only time I had a friend post a contest link was when she was in the top 5. I happily voted and loved seeing the pictures of the trip she won. I bet if she harassed people we wouldn’t have given her that last push. :)

  • whiteroses

    I know my kid is cute. If someone agrees, that’s great. If they don’t, that’s cool too. In the final analysis, it doesn’t really matter.

    It comes back to that whole “desperately needing validation from strangers” thing that I absolutely do not understand about modern parenthood.

    • jerseygirl17

      THIS. Another modern parenthood trend I’ve seen frequently lately but don’t get is the whole “I deserve special treatment because I’m creating the next generation that will pay your social security and be your nurse and blah blah blah”. As if they had children for any reason other than “I want children” or “oops”. Ironically, they’re always the type to have no respect for people who are actually nurses/firefighters/social security payers NOW instead of just possible future nurses/firefighters/social security payers. But the need for validation is just amazing.

    • whiteroses

      I hope my son does great things. But the fact that he will hopefully do great things in service of others in the future? That in no way negates the ones who do those jobs now.

      It doesn’t take a lot of talent or skill to give birth to a baby. What takes great talent and skill is raising a child who is not only a functioning member of society but one who is considerate, thoughtful and caring. And if you have a sense of entitlement about it all, the chances of you raising a child like that is pretty slim.

    • AP

      I was all poised and prepared to “do great things” – I graduated high school at the top of my class, got a scholarship to a fancypants university, and graduated from there with honors. Then the economy tanked and since then, I’ve barely had any full-time (benefits-eligible) work.

      I got a good start, but I can’t afford to Do Great Things. This is no fault of my parents, or my upbringing or education, and that’s how most kids will turn out- average and boring.

  • brebay

    Replace “proud” with “insecure” and she may have a point…

  • ellymoemoe

    I had many people in my feed desperately posting links to vote for their baby in the Bonds Baby Search. So fucking irritating, and they don’t seem to realise that they are harassing their friends for the slimmest of chances to win, and Bonds ends up the biggest winner with all the publicity.

    • EcnoTheNeato

      This. Most times it’s to get your email, or get the ad traffic. They gave away a $500 gift card? Cool. Wonder how much they made from selling the info or all the ad revenue o_O

  • MoD

    Whenever people post stuff about voting in some random cost, I go scrutinize the contest page and pick the person who I think is most deserving of the win. Oftentimes, I end up not voting for the person who originally asked for my vote. Fail.

  • OMGihatethesecontests

    My hometown has a children’s clothing boutique that had a baby photo contest last year. Only instead of just the cutiest baby, they also had the coolest baby and the messiest baby, and 3 age categories for each. For weeks, I was expected to vote daily for my siblings’ children, plus all the kids of my close friends, who were all competing against each other. Plus, they all private messaged me telling me to share the voting link for their kid with all my FB friends. Insanity.

  • EcnoTheNeato

    The thing, for me, is if you or a friend, or relative, are in some sorta voting test, and you post about it, oh, once a week? Maybe even twice is fine. But it’s when you get all presumptive about it that irks me. Most of the times they say “vote for me!” but what they really mean is “even if I don’t deserve to win, vote for me!” Didn’t we get over this in high school?

    I always appreciate when people give you the link, tell you the name/entry number, but continue and say “Check out the other entries, too!” As if to say, “Hey, there’s quality videos/pictures here. I HOPE you vote for me, but if you don’t, you’ll obviously vote for someone more deserving.” When I see entries like that I’ll usually click the link and take a quick peek. If it’s thousands of entries, I might just look at a few dozen around the page of my friend. But overall, if the entries are just as good as my friend’s, I’ll vote for him/her.

    While I don’t think knowing someone should be the only factor in voting for content, I figure it should at least be a tie breaker, no?

    (that being said, all of these entries are obnoxious. Especially the one that said “Vote for my little one, eve if you don’t think they should win!”)

    • EcnoTheNeato

      Oh, and one more thing, if I have to sign up to do vote, you better be my best friend or a relative I see more than once a year o_O

  • Ashlee

    I hate these contests, in particular the Baby Bonds Search. I had multiple people asking for me to vote for their kids. I mentioned these contests to my husband the other day and stated that I never wanted to enter our future children into them. He actually didn’t really understand why and thought they were ok. Nothing ok about pimping out your child in a contest that you have a negligible chance of winning.

  • k_milt

    So, can I be perfectly honest? I wouldn’t enter my daughter into one of these contests. Not because they’re stupid contests (they are), not because they irritate loved ones (they do), and not because I don’t need personal validation based on others’ opinions (I don’t, but to each their own about that, I guess), but because I am very, very certain that my daughter (now 3) is not the cutiest. She is probably the most hilarious person I’ve ever met, she’s smart as a whip and her energy, determination and enthusiasm for life are unmatched, but I know for a fact there are a crapload of cuter kids out there. Having perused the entries in some of these contests in the past, it would appear that I may just be the one and only mother who has a realistic handle on what my child actually looks like. I can’t be, though. Can I? Don’t get me wrong – to me she is walking perfection in a blonde bob, but I have eyeballs, and I can see what other kids look like. When she gets called cute it’s always for behaviour, like her good manners or her Saturday morning farmer’s market habit of picking out a flower from the florist lady to bring home for me, stuff like that. She doesn’t need to be cute in the face. She’s cute in the brain, and that lasts a lot longer.

    My son, now 13, was apparently a totally gorgeous baby, if grandma ladies in the mall are to be believed. We couldn’t go two feet in the grocery store without someone making googly eyes at him. I still wouldn’t have entered him in a contest though. At that point the internet wasn’t THE THING it is now, so probably those contests didn’t exist on the scale that they do now, and also I was 21 and too stupid to get my shit together for something like that. I have no idea if he’s cute now. To me he’s perfect. He’s smart and hilarious and kind and sarcastic and generous, but he’s 13. They all look a little derpy at that age.

    So, think your kids are cute. Think it every minute of every day, because you love them the very most in the world and it’s your job to think they’re cute, even if they’re wonky. But don’t put them out there to be judged. That seems like a recipe for feeling really shitty simply because they didn’t win some nonsense contest that isn’t even a thing.

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