Toddlers in Tiaras
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This article can be divided into six sections. Hollandsworth opens the article describing Eden Wood’s pageant transformation. From early morning hair and make-up to retouching up her spray tan, Eden is ready to strut her $3,000.00 bubble gum pink dress on the pageant runway looking like the Barbie or Madame Alexander doll everyone wants to be and own. Always reminded by her mother that her job is to make everyone love her. Following this section, Hollandsworth reminds the reader of the tragic Christmas murder of Jon Benet Ramsey that took place in Boulder, Colorado and the irony that people remember her more as the famous pageant girl that looked like a baby Marilyn Monroe than the much publicized murder case of a six year old girl that has never been solved. Hollandsworth also presents the reader with a few negative sources of information.
The first, through the eyes of a former child contestant that competed with Jon Benet that did not want to be associated with pageants. Also, the trust worthy comments of a reporter that compared Jon Benet pageant videos to “kiddie porn” (Hollandsworth 491). In the third section Hollandsworth presents the reader with the idea of a promise that sells “a tiara.” The writer reminds the reader of the first televised broadcast of the Miss America pageant in 1954 and how that pageant connected princesses to pageants, causing kiddie pageants to emerge in the U.S.A. He also goes on a lengthy description of the high investments parents pay for their children to win the coveted “tiara.” Hollandsworth presents in section four that Jon Benet was the target of a pedophile due to her pageants; associating her tragedy to a little girl’s worst nightmare.
According to the opinion of a former detective, she concluded that children pageants on T.V. are the type of videos pedophiles would watch. She holds TLC responsible for making pageant girls be targeted by pedophiles since they will know the names and towns of these children. Hollandsworth’s documentation suggests that pageants put little girls in danger not only physical but also emotionally. It also contributes to precocious sexualization by encouraging flirtatious behavior in the pageants; teaching these girls to be objects for others’ pleasures. These children are learning that acting sexy will get others’ attention, a problem young girls are having even though it is not their intention to come across with that connotation. He blames reality T.V. for making these girls focus more on physical appearance rather than their self – esteem. Even though pageant life can be relentless according to Hollandsworth, in section five, he blames the mothers and pageant agents for depriving these pageant girls from having a so call “normal child life.”
He also presents the reader with the question of who are these girls doing pageants for? For themselves or their mothers? These pageants according to Hollandsworth present a Kate Middleton moment to live the princess story for both the mothers and children. He also makes a contrast of the simple life of Eden versus her celebrity life and the plenty of criticism she receives because she wants to be a star. He also talks about the financial cost Eden’s parents are undergoing for her to experience life outside Taylor, Arkansas. Hollandsworth ends up the article by presenting contestant’s comments such as, “adjusting to life without a tiara can be tough” and “being a regular girl is difficult.” He quotes a Russian mother that found pageantry for her daughter so exciting that she thought, “So this is America.”
Hollandsworth concludes that child beauty pageants have a negative influence on children and puts them in danger. He believes that these children will have both physical and emotional issues when they become adults; issues that could have been avoided if they had not been exposed to the world of pageantry. He blames reality shows such as, “Toddlers and Tiaras” for exploiting children and adding to the growing problems young girls and teenagers are experiencing in today’s society. Hollandsworth’s article exposes the ugly side of the coin that symbolizes children beauty pageantry (Hollandsworth 498). I disagree with Hollandsworth’s negative view on children’s pageants. A major reason is because beauty pageants are not always a bad influence. Nicole Eggert, who was crowned Miss Universe petite division at the age of four, went on to do a shampoo commercial and have a successful long acting career.
Nancy Irwin, a former contestant, competed in pageants in hopes of earning scholarship money (Hollandsworth 493). In Hollandsworth’s article he critics the parents for spending thousands of dollars in pageant fees and preparation. That statement is not always true in every pageant. I have competed in the Miss America Organization for the state of Texas for the past six years; the fees for the local pageants are $100.00 that goes as a donation for the Children’s Miracle Network. Each local directors have a board of volunteers that work with the title holders and prepare them in every aspect of the competition for free. They also have an array of volunteer sponsors that provide the titleholders goods and services. Ever since I started pageants at the age of eight, I have never been negatively influenced.
On the contrary many doors have opened for me to promote my platform, build a talent, gain interview and speaking skills, meet political and business figures and most importantly help me decide what I want to do with my life. Yes, pageant life can be relentless, a lot of time can be devoted for pageant preparation but it is all about time management. I was a full time student in high school and I managed to do my homework, get good grades, volunteer in my community, exercise, practice my bowling and talent, practice my modeling and interview skill and still have some quality time with my friends. One proposal to address this issue is for pageant directors to educate ignorant viewers who see pageants as a danger towards children and young women. Instead of looking at the cons, let’s look at the pros. Pageants exist to provide personal and professional opportunities for women.
For example, the Miss America Organization is the largest scholarship organization for women in America. It gives an opportunity for young ladies to express not only their talent but also their viewpoints. Most contestants utilize the scholarships they earn in the pageant to further their education. A possible result this action would be a positive influence on the majority of contestants. Many former beauty queens have acquired from participating in pageants self – esteem, confidence and poise to be successful in political, business and entertainment fields; best example is the queen turned politician Sarah Palin who was John McCain’s vice presidential mate in 2008 (Kim). Regardless of the reality T.V. “Toddlers in Tiaras” pageants are evolving, image is improving thanks to the Miss America Organization, ratings continue to increase and more women are graduating from college debt free.
Hollandsworth, Skip. “’Toddlers in Tiaras’: Good Housekeeping.” Everything’s an Argument with Readings. 6th ed. E.d. Andrea A. Lunsford, John J. Ruszkiewicz and Keith Walters. Boston:Bedford/ St. Martin’s, 2013. 290-297. Print.
Kim, Eun Kyung. “Ex Miss America Latest to Trade Pageants for Politics.” Today.com. Weaver,Sylvester. 6 June. 2013. Web. 2 Sept. 2014.