Saturday, September 12, 2009

Tomboys in Tiaras

Upon my arrival to a friend's house (friend shall remain nameless) this lazy Saturday afternoon, this friend suggested that we watch a show on TLC called... drum roll, please... Toddlers in Tiaras. I know what you're thinking, and yes... it is absolutely as horrific as it sounds.. and nothing less. As I was sitting on Maggie's couch (oops) and after the initial shock of the show wore off, I realized just how blessed I was to never be thrust into the world of childhood pageantry. But before I invite you to jump back into my childhood with me, I must first attempt to explain this show for the probable and hopeful chance that you have not yet seen it.

Let me just say, the pageant world is a grim affair...even among the glitz and glam. These children are thrust into pageants by their typically unattractive and overweight mothers who seem to determine their self-worth as a parent through the successes of their daughters. Some of the mothers claim to be former beauty queens themselves, which simply leaves the viewers wondering... How. is. that. possible? Other mothers make no claims to have been successful in anything in ever their lives. So, 50/50.

Some mothers claim to have spent upwards of $3,000 on a single "Evening Gown" for their daughters. Which makes complete sense due to the fact that their daughters have a slim chance of winning no more than $1000 in the event that they win the entire "competition." I'm not a betting woman, but I'll make a bet that the only thing their daughters are going to win is a ticket to being a total brat or a one-way ticket to the loser's circle.

But, I must say, the girls always look classy. Nothing says classy like a full face of make-up and a fake hair piece on a 4 year old in a bedazzled pink dress. I just cringed writing that sentence, which leads me to my next topic: Talent.

When you are 6 years old or below, let's be honest... you don't have talent. You can (usually) walk, you have a pulse, and you are lucky if you can speak in a grammatically correct sentence. Today I saw everything from a girl jumping off-beat to music to a girl walking while waving an American flag. Patriotism is not a talent, kiddo... it's a virtue. If on the off-chance your kid does have some talent, I've got an idea. Sign her up for dance lessons... I don't know, maybe gymnastics. A place where talent can exist and be furthered rather than be questioned as a talent at all.

If all this isn't disturbing enough, it gets worse. One unfortunate mother claims to still be trying to have a girl. Meanwhile, she simply enlists her 6 year old boy and her 2 week old baby boy into pageants. In case you just skimmed over that last sentence, let me repeat... 2 WEEK OLD baby BOY. Every word is a RED FLAG in that last sentence. Listen up, lady, you have BOYS.. So why don't you let them be. That whole situation just spells "future issues" to me.

In reference to the 2 week old baby boy, the mother states, "He really wants to win, and he's just really excited to get out there and meet some new people."... I'm sorry, run that by me again. Cause he can't talk, and I'm pretty sure you're the only person he knows. So, that being the case, I might actually believe that he wants to meet someone besides you. You already lost your credibility when you enrolled your 6 year old son into a pageant, but now you are putting words in the mouth of your 2week old son who can't even hold his head up. Call me crazy, but I call you crazy. And I also have a talent for being right.

Now that you're likely to be as shocked and repulsed as I am, let me explain to you why I am so thankful to have avoided the pageant life-style.

First of all, I don't think my genes would have allowed for pageants. Mostly because I looked like this:

Also because I come from a line of professional athletes, I was bound to have talent. I took gymnastics for 2 years as a kid, and gymnastics wasn't it. So, I decided to quit gymnastics and pursue a black belt in Karate. Karate was easy for me... mostly because I was about a head taller and 20 lbs heavier than everyone in my age division (perhaps also a reason that prohibited me from entering a beauty pageant).

I also have a very pretty mom... One who didn't need to gain some satisfaction from my beauty, which in all honestly, probably would not have happened. But, thanks anyways, Mom. Thank you for allowing me to be a tomboy and get my black belt. Thank you for putting me on Slim-Fast in the 3rd grade because it was time to let go of my elastic-waisted khaki pants (pictured above). Thank you for never buying a dress for me that would cost more than a semester of my college tuition. Thank you for never telling me I had a talent when I actually didn't. Thank you for accepting me for who I was... who I am.