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.