Submitted by TEPF Volunteer
Dressing up and wearing mommy’s high heels are a favorite pastime for young girls, but when does it cross the line? In the popular T.V. show, Toddlers & Tiaras, dressing up is taken to the next level. Pageants in their best form should be for showing off a girl’s natural beauty, their knowledge, and accomplishments but in today’s world, pageants have been going off course. In the show, these young girls are made up so much; there is hardly anything natural about them left. Not only do they have to wear fancy dresses costing thousands of dollars, but they also are made up with spray tans, false eyelashes, wigs and dentures to cover up their missing teeth. Being that these girls are so young, how will they be able to accept themselves as they grow older? In an article from People Magazine, a social worker describes the effects that this show could have on these girls:
“Little girls are supposed to play with dolls, not be dolls,” says Mark Sichel, a New York-based licensed clinical social worker, who calls the extreme grooming common at pageants “a form of child abuse.” Playing dress-up “is normal and healthy, but when it’s demanded, it leaves the child not knowing what they want,” he says. Accentuating their appearance with such accoutrements as fake hair, teeth, spray tans and breast padding “causes the children tremendous confusion, wondering why they are not okay without those things.”
Knowing this, why aren’t producers taking these kinds of shows off air? It’s the millions of people tuning into the show that are supporting it to continue. To see a change, we must stop watching these types of shows, write in letters to producers and realize the large effects on the girls. Young girls should be stumbling around in their mom’s high heels with their friends instead of in front of millions of people judging their every move.
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