The Student News Site of Palomar College

The Telescope

The Telescope

The Telescope

Entertaining pageant or childhood exploitation?

Entertaining pageant or childhood exploitation?


Spray tans, fake nails, caked on make up and provocative costumes. Where is the line drawn between entertainment purposes and sexualizing a toddler as a form of child abuse?

Is it going to take an actual reality show toddler being abducted or suffering from a lack of confidence in her inner attributes for people to take a stance against issues such as toddler beauty pageant events?

This is abuse that can be prevented.

According to the U. S. Department of Justice, “On any given day there are approximately 234,000 sex offenders who are convicted of rape or sexual assault … the median age of the victims of convicted sex offenders being less than 13 years old.”

Yet toddlers are unnecessarily exposed in ways that places them in danger. While it is a battle of the molester’s lack of morals versus the removal of the exploitation, shows such as “Toddlers and Tiaras” does the arguing side no justice.

In this reality show little girls as young as the age of 3 are dressed in extravagant gowns and often times revealing costumes, along with make up styles and hairdos that reflect those of a grown woman, all to compete in pageants.

Along with the beauty enhancements and inappropriate costumes, these toddlers are also taught suggestive dance moves in order to compete against fellow toddlers for a crown.

“Whether you think child beauty pageants are just a chance for little girls to play dress-up, or a training ground for superficial, self-centered princesses in the making, everyone should agree that sexualizing a 3-year-old little girl is wrong,” CNN’s Melissa Henson wrote.

A recurring controversy since “Toddlers in Tiaras” aired in 2009, is caused by some of the themes and innuendoes such as a reenactment of Julia Robert’s character of a prostitute in “Pretty Woman” to cage dancers of the Las Vegas Strip.

Psychologists speak up on the possible outcomes of these little girls.

“I have a pretty good idea of what’s going to happen to some of those little girls,” said Dr. Gregory Jantz, a psychologist and best-selling author in a Huffington Post article.

“They’re going to wind up in my practice or in someone else’s, angry and hurt and bewildered. They’re going to grow up and stop being cute and precocious and adorable and start being obsessed and demanding and abandoned.”

This declaration of Jantz is one made on the act of picking up a tabloid with a “dolled-up 5 year old on the cover.” Jantz’s action supports the argument that commercial advertising is for the most part, unavoidable, put out in plain sight for all to see. In this case, the toddler is inevitably exploited.

This particular 5 year old on the cover was from the show “Toddler’s and Tiaras” and while Jantz had picked it up out of curiosity, the question rises of how many dangerous people could have also picked up this magazine with ulterior motives.

Are we putting toddlers in danger by condoning this princess-like behavior, giving them so much attention, that they could be receiving attention from pedophiles and molesters as well?

TMZ reported the ending of the show “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” on Friday, due to the association of the mother June “Mama June” Shannon and her recently released ex-boyfriend Mark McDaniel. McDaniel is a registered sex offender who was convicted of aggravated child molestation in 2004.

Shannon’s daughter, Alana Thompson, the girl known as Honey Boo Boo, got her start in the entertainment industry after appearing on TLC’s popular reality show, “Toddlers in Tiaras” at the age of 8.

While Shannon claims that the accusations of a hangout occurring between the two are untrue, the show has been cancelled on behalf of the children involved.

TLC claimed the network has “cancelled the series “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” and ended all activities around the series, effective immediately. Supporting the health and welfare of these remarkable children is our only priority. TLC is faithfully committed to the children’s ongoing comfort and well-being.”

While the dispute of whether or not the series should be cancelled is settled, the question rises of how much is too much exposure for children in the entertainment industry.

Not only is the danger of molestation neglected, but the issue of these young toddlers growing up and placing their worth in aesthetics is as well.

“They are being hammered with the idea that their beauty is not in their intelligence, confidence, athleticism and empathy,” Reporter of Pennlive, Ivey DeJesus wrote. “How long before the silicone implants, I wonder.”

These children are losing their innocence, in ways that can be avoided. With cases of child molestation rising, shows such as “Toddlers and Tiaras” should be the next to go.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Telescope Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
Entertaining pageant or childhood exploitation?