Saturday, July 10, 2010

My Guilty Pleasure

I will admit that I watch "Toddlers & Tiaras" on TLC. Brett calls it my "guilty pleasure," but I prefer to think of it as a "reality check." This show reaffirms that I am a good mom. Okay, normally I try not to be too judgmental of other moms. I know that everyone is doing the best they can, but the moms who are featured on this show are a bit nutso, if you ask me! Plus, it is hard to feel guilty about judging people who voluntarily go on a reality-type TV program.

To listen to these moms talk, their kids must have the best of everything in order to compete. Supposedly they will be found lacking if they don't have a $1500 dress, false eyelashes, professionally applied makeup, and a spray tan. Not being familiar with the pageant scene, I don't know if this is true or not. I understand that it's a competition and small details can make a difference in scoring, but where do you draw the line as to what is essential and what is over the top? Personally, I think the flippers are a bit much. Do children really need false teeth to look beautiful? I suppose they do when the desired outcome is for the child to look like an adult beauty queen, who would obviously have all of her teeth.

What drives these moms to put their kids in pageants? They often say for the prize money, which they claim will help pay for college. I'm not sure how that works when they've invested far more than the top prize just to compete, often thousands of dollars a year. Then, of course, there is the cost of preparing for the next pageant (spa treatments, travel expenses, entry fees, more clothes, etc.). I have to believe that the cash prizes are not the draw of pageants. Do pageant moms want to live vicariously through their daughters? Or is it about self-esteem issues? Some of the moms say that they do pageants to build up their daughters' self-esteem, but I wonder if it is actually the moms who need the boost. I have heard at least one participant say she was going to "win a big crown for Mama!" So, who's the real winner in pageants?

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