Pageants: The question is, why?

Can someone please, please tell me what the deal is with these things?

I can’t be the only one who thinks that six-year-olds plastered in make-up, and hair lacquered beyond belief, is disturbing? Because guys, it is.

All that prancing, wiggling, pouting and winking provocatively makes me feel so uncomfortable. These children do not look cute; although let’s not be coy here, cuteness is not the intention. They are made up to look sexy. Those red, pouting lips and false eye-lashes are sending a message that is very messed-up and just plain wrong.

Little girls should be innocent until that innocence is taken away, by the world we live in and undeniable biology. They’ve got a whole, long life ahead of them to bow down to the pressures our society exerts on women. If you place these heavy, burdensome pressures on such slight shoulders, they will buckle under the weight, be sure of that.

Pageants teach children that they need to be the prettiest, or have the loveliest clothes to succeed. I guess some would argue that it is not just about looks, that the girls need to have a talent to be successful in a pageant, too. Hmmm….having seen some of these dubious ”talents”, I would have to disagree.

I might not mind pageants so much if they were just a bit of fun (all little girls love dress-up), but man; it’s far from that: it’s out-and-out war! You don’t get on the wrong side of a pageant mum, as they’d take a baseball bat to an opponent’s knees, or put chewing gum in their nearest competition’s hair, if they felt it would help their little Susie to win. And their parenting style is nothing short of brutal: I’ve seen mums that refuse to let their child sit down until they have got a dance move just right (but in the mum’s eyes, it is rarely right); I have also seen little girls with their hair teased, pulled and scraped so hard, that it has reduced them to tears. The price of beauty, huh? Well, this is a price that no child should ever have to pay.

I think you would be foolish to deny that pageant mums are living vicariously through their children: they are not doing it for the kids, whatever they might say. It’s as if their sole purpose in life is to make their child into the beautiful child they never were. And that is so terribly sad.

As mums, surely we need to teach our little girls that it isn’t all about how you look, and I shudder at the horrific repercussions of being raised to think that it is. These children are being set up to fail in the most dramatic fashion; these mums have an insatiable appetite for perfection, and we all know that perfection is never possible; especially in little girls who perhaps, just perhaps, want to be little girls.

So, to the pageant mums who are reading this, and possibly feel victimised or misjudged, let me ask you to do this:  take a long, hard look at your reasons for touting and flaunting your kids in pageants, and if any tiny part of you is doing it for you, then stop. If you are kidding yourself that she loves it, that it’s good for her, or that it teaches her valuable lessons, stop.

Actually, do you know what? Whatever your reasons, for goodness sake, just stop.

Here’s a newsflash…

…food that is high in fat makes you, well, FAT.

Nothing annoys or saddens me more than overweight children. Let’s get tough here: allowing your child to become over-weight is at best neglect, and at worst, where children are allowed to become clinically obese, it is child-abuse.

I am sick of hearing pathetic excuses from people about why their child is over-weight (or even worse, denying the fact). I have just read a post on a forum that had me shaking my head in disbelief: a lady was asking advice about how she could get her over-weight child to eat something healthy. She went on to say that her youngest looked ill, and it was probably because he never ate any fruit and vegetables (hey, no shit, Sherlock). She claimed that her kids always refused to eat anything healthy and that she couldn’t deal with the fight that ensued when she dished up something which wasn’t quite to their liking.

Hmm….yes, okay then. Give them food that is crap, just to save you an argument. Sounds good to me.

As parents, we take on a job that will push us to our very limits, try every ounce of patience and generally want to make us pull our hair out. We’ve all experienced picky eaters, refusal to eat and down-right horrific meal-times, but we don’t all lie down and give in to the demands of little people that really do not know any better.

If you want to eat and eat and eat food that is unhealthy, go ahead. But do not force that rubbish on innocent kids. Be the one in control. Be responsible. Be the parent. Most countries in the western world are in crisis, with more people over-weight than ever before. Gone are the days when people sued McDonalds for making them fat. Unless you live in a large, deep hole, you know  what is good for you and what is not. Don’t get me wrong: I am not a crazed salad-wielding, cabbage-crunching lunatic, I let my kids eat a whole host of junk food, but the most important thing is that they also eat healthy food – they eat a balanced diet.

So, parents, if you recognise yourself in any of my words: wise up. Quit making pathetic excuses and do the right thing: teach your kids how to eat sensibly.

You owe it to them.