Nothing Learned from Little Jonbenet

Everything a child does is a learning experience. Everything a parent has a child do is a learning experience. Depending on how meaningful to the child, these experiences can have lifelong repercussions. One negative experience in a child’s life can affect him or her well into adulthood, even something the parent forgets weeks or hours later. I’ve never been a fan of baby/toddler beauty tiarapageants. I don’t understand them. Isn’t every child beautiful? If there is a pageant out there that develops self-esteem, talent, intelligent and poise, I’ve never heard of it. Dance recitals or athletics develop children’s self-esteem and inner grace a lot better than a plastic pageant, and they do a lot less damage, if any, to a child’s self-concept.

Television rot like Toddlers with Tiaras (or whatever that creepy show calls itself), and those reality shows featuring children from infancy (seriously) to fourteen in beauty contests are ghastly. Pageants featuring little girls with stiff, hairsprayed do’s, caps for their teeth called flippers (gross), spray-on tans, a pound of makeup , and morbidly obese mothers (a pound of flesh?) dancing and rolling  in the aisles so Baby doesn’t forget her dance moves and lose points, are nothing less than vulgar. I love this video. The little girl is hilarious and, in spite of the makeup and hair extension, acting like a silly child rather than a kupie doll. She has great charm just being a kid. I liked the question posed to her mother, “what happens when the attention is gone? is known that depression follows.”  “She’s always had attention,” sniffs her mother. When asked if she will place her daughter into another pageant, the baffling answer is “in a good way.” Well, at least she admits there is a bad way to this senselessness.

The sexualization of children isn’t a positive learning experience. Doesn’t anyone remember what happened to Jonbenet Ramsey anymore? That beautiful little 6-year-old girl who would never live to see her 7th birthday was such a sexual object jonthat she was violently raped and murderedin a testament to her pageant image as one of sex idol, rather than child. Years later, her father, John Ramsey, finally admitted, “it makes me cringe. We were so naive. I now believe with all my heart it’s not a good idea to put your child on public display.” I’m sure this man is grieving heavily for the loss of his daughter, and not long after, his wife, to ovarian cancer. Patsy Ramsey never did discover the identity of her child’s killer before going to her grave; the whole sordid business was a terrible tragedy to have on her conscience as she left this world.

I pity the Ramseys. I cried when I read John Ramsey’s words of regret. Ramsey has released a book entitled The Other Side of Suffering. He has appeared on several interviews including ABC news, Larry King Live, and various daytime talk shows. That family learned their lesson the hardest way imaginable. They did not deserve this pathos. Neither did their little girl. Incredibly, he revealed that an older child, Beth, had died years prior to Jonbenet in a car accident. The tragic trail of death and suffering in this family, it would seem, is unending.

I have no time for parents who continue to put their little girls into these farcical displays of childhood and sexuality. They live vicariously through their children since  they themselves believe they have amounted to nothing. Pageants? I call them Pathetic. toddlerstiarasWhen a woman cannot even embrace the gift of motherhood without having to exploit that privilege, when she has to deny her daughter a normal childhood and forever alter her healthy psychological development, that woman does not deserve to call herself mother. Enough of political correctness. I’m sick of that crap, and it has no place in abusive households who use children as trophies. In the words of the late, great, tell-it-like-it-is George Carlin, “isn’t this just a sophisticated form of child abuse?” It’s time for us to call this stuff what it is: exploitation. It’s time for the government to step in and shut this stuff down. The only winners here are adult vanity and a childhood forever lost.

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  • Stefany Rojas  On August 30, 2014 at 12:09 am

    Hello, I think you are right about certain things about beauty pageants but I think that there are some parents that can handle in a healthy and right way that their children contest in those pageants, obviously that kind of parents do not appear in Toddlers and Tiaras or reality shows because taht is not atractive to audience.
    And there are also parents that abuse psycologically of their children pushing them a lot to be the best on a sport or in a dancing group an example of that is the reality show Dancing Moms.
    So there are many places where you can find irresponsable parents not only in beauty pageants.

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