Saturday, September 19, 2009

How can these pageants still go on?

PhotoshopDisasters is one of several sites that I read for fun. As the name suggests, it's a site dedicated to showing professional photoshop disasters. It is quite amazing, not to mention hilarious, to see what some companies end up doing in Photoshop.

This post caught my eye not just because Paula Deen looks like a creepy-eyed alien, but also because I've seen her on her cooking show and she doesn't look like that (even if you discount the creepy eyes). Then I clicked the link showing high-glitz (or sometimes just glitz) child pageant photo re-touches.... and I knew I had to share this with you.

That site isn't even the only one that changes a normal child's photo into something creepy and alien. There's this site, this one, this one (click on each picture, then roll mouse over or away to see original), this one,... and all of them offer to turn your natural picture into a picture of a plastic doll with blue eyes, long lashes, perfect hair, glossy lips, and plastic skin.

I didn't know that for high-glitz pageants, contestants are supposed to look like plastic dolls in their pictures. Aside from the creepiness of these images - and they are creepy, there's no question about that - there's something very disturbing about plasticizing the images of babies and toddlers who participate in these pageants. It's bad enough that these little tiny children are made up to look like Barbies (to the delight of pedophiles everywhere, I'm sure), and to stand, walk, and dance in an sexy adult way, but in their pictures they're not even allowed to look like themselves?

There is something fundamentally wrong with the high-glitz pageant industry. I get that children like to dress up and I get that children like to perform... but I don't understand how parents could encourage them to wear that much makeup, false eyelashes, wigs, and sexy dresses - and then to alter their pictures to make them look less human. This isn't right. The kids aren't old enough to consent to what they're doing and I don't believe that most of the parents would be ok if their kids didn't win.

I knew that the pageant industry - especially the high-glitz pageants - for babies and children was awful, but adding these horrific photo retouching puts this whole industry over the edge, in my opinion. The industry and people involved with it should be ashamed of themselves for forcing children to behave as adults and for de-humanizing those children in their pictures. Honestly, I think it's time that these pageants were cancelled and the entire industry dismantled. No more high-glitz pageants for children!

There's some interesting reading from pageant moms here and here in response to this positive and this negative post about this person's pageant experience with her daughter. It seems that the parents don't see how damaging, unnatural, and creepy the pageants are because they're so involved in it (it's their "new normal", I guess). Their denials show even more how damaging the whole baby/toddler/child high-glitz pageant is to the children and their families who participate.


Darling Jee said...

Perhaps this is some sort of messed up attempt to desexualize the images? Or maybe Barbie/Mattel is behind this? It's gross. I will never understand kiddie pageants and parents who are okay with making their little babies look like beautiful/sexy/desirable adult women. I even find it disturbing when I see 15-year old girls dressed up in short skirts and high heels like their 40-year old trophy-wife mothers. Shudder.

happyhousewife said...

My daughter does pageants. My daughter has been doing glitz pageants since the age of three.
We started this hobby when my daughter saw a beauty pageant going on in a mall one afternoon, she started asking "Mommy can I try that too?" So we made an attempt, She adored it, waving and smiling at the judges and demanding that I not be on the stage she wanted to do it "big girl style". Here is the thing, just the fact that my daughter wanted to do this at all is nearly a miracle, as she is a child with high functioning autism/Low function aspergers. Pageants have proven to be extremely helpful for my daughter and I would never put her in a natural pageant. I know your immediate thoughts are makeup, teeth and hair and why???? Glitz is the great equalizer, there is no real way for the judges to judge on anything other than performance , natural pageants are cruel , facial beauty is nearly 100% of the score, as a parent I would rather have the girls judged on presentation and performance ,facial beauty is 10% or less of the score in a glitz pageant and calling a glitz pageant a beauty pageant is a bit of a misnomer. As far as practice is concerned , my daughter who is now 11 and holds 30 crowns spends 1 hour a day practicing her routines, she refuses to wear makeup unless it is on stage or in front of a camera and she is certainly not spoiled. My dd MUST keep straight A's to be allowed to compete, she does not have an IPOD or a nintendo DSI nor do we have a home video game system. She does get a museum vacation in the major city of her choice for Christmas and we take the trip on her birthday.DD also has other hobbies that range from the youth choir at church to Harry Potter. To address the living vicariously through your children accusation.....when my daughter was 7 she asked me to cut off my dredlocks because none of the other pageant moms had dreds, I would rather be at a grateful dead show any day than at a kiddie glitz pageant, there is one problem with this , my daughter HATES the grateful dead , even though she was named after two of their songs and forcing her to do what I want to do would be living up to what you are accusing. As a parent it is not my job to make my daughter a mini me , it is my job to make sure that my dd turns into the person that she was born to grow up to be. My DD has aspirations of becoming a full time youth pastor and attending liberty university, my dream for her was berkeley and wto protests. I had to give up on those ideas pretty quickly lol as i soon found out that I gave birth to my exact opposite.