Defining Beauty

As I sit here writing this, Honey Boo Boo is on in the background.  I think the show itself is an absolute disgrace to this country and the South (please know, the South isn’t ALL like the show, I promise).  But I have it on for a reason.  The other weekend, I stubbled upon a Toddlers and Tiara’s like pageant.  It was definitely more low brow (as we would say in the South) but I HAD to get in there.

To backup, two weekends ago P’s nephew was playing in a baseball tournament in Atlanta.  We went with his bro and sis in law to check into their hotel.  Right when we pulled into the parking lot, I knew what was going on.  There were minivans decorated relay style but with only one girls name on it. I called it immediately.  I couldn’t wait to get in that hotel.

We walked in, looked left, and there they all were. Ugly, sparkly, dresses and way over done little girls. G (P’s sis in law) and I snuck in the back of the room and sat down and acted like we belonged.  Apparently we missed the actual pageant and had made it in just in time for the awards (which explains why they were all in the hallway of the hotel).

This was one of those train-wreck-can’t-stop-staring moments. I’m sure my mouth was open the entire time. I looked around the room and realized it really was exactly like the show.  I hate to say this, but the mothers, at least 95% of them, are overweight and need to take better care of themselves.

secretly taking pictures…

At first the whole thing was entertaining. Very redneck. But after a while, it was depressing. Watching these little girls get so upset about not winning a crown because they aren’t “the prettiest” or “best smile” or “princess” is awful. The fact that they think that a crown, or a sash, or makeup, or a big sparkly dress, or a prize defines their beauty is sad.

I wanted to get up and leave.  I wanted to yell at each of the mothers and tell them that they are scarring these little girls for life. I wanted to tell them that it doesn’t take those things to be pretty or beautiful.  I wanted to tell them that this pageant doesn’t define who they are or what makes them special.

The theme was about Paris
the HAIR!
bless her heart.

Maybe these mothers tell their little girls they are beautiful and pretty when they aren’t all dressed up. On the show, it doesn’t seem like it. It seems like the parents beat them up emotionally for not doing well in the pageant.

G and I both left feeling deflated. Sad. I truly don’t understand why anyone would want to put their daughter in that situation.  One would argue that they are teaching the girls life lessons on winning and losing gracefully, but seeing the way some girls (and mothers) throw temper tantrums when they don’t win a big crown, I just don’t see this being the case. I think the little girls could learn so much more from something academic or athletic.

Real beauty isn’t defined by a crown. Or makeup. Or a sash. Or a sparkly dress. It’s who you are on the inside, the values that you represent. It’s how your inside self is shown on the outside. It’s believing in yourself, showing confidence. Being happy.  These things define beauty to me.

What do you think? What defines beauty? Did you participate in pageants as a kid? Do you know anyone that does them?  Do you think they are positive or negative? 

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Elizabeth

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7 Comments

  • How sad. I’d hoped that the TV show exaggerates it. I do not think I’d like pageants for kids that young. And I have 2 very awesome daughters (6,4). The kids don’t have the emotional maturity to make the call of wanting to be in one and its all parent driven. 18 and grown up enough to make that decision themselves, yes.

  • I turned on a few times Toddler’s and Tiara and was SHOCKED! We don’t have pageants in Germany for kids/teenagers and couldn’t believe parents would do that to their kids! Why would you want somebody judging your kid just by her looks?!

  • I would be so sad seeing that stuff. I’ve never watched the show (or anything like it). So much will be spent on therapy…if those girls are lucky 🙁

  • I’m with you. I just don’t understand putting your kid through that bullshit & instiling in them a value of a skin-deep beauty that they really have no control over. Intelligence, wit, athleticism, artistry…those are things they can cultivate and appreciate as something they have grown themselves, through their own efforts. Hopefully these girls will spend time developing their brains as well as their curls!

  • I haven’t watched Honey Boo Boo or Toddlers and Tiaras because I’m sure I wouldn’t like it. It’s heartbreaking to see these girls being pushed by mothers who either are trying to relive their youth or never did pageants themselves. It’s horrible!

  • Beauty pageants with young girls all made up like that drive me nuts. It drives me even more nuts to see it on television. 99% of the time it wasn’t what the little girl wants, but her mom is forcing her to do it. UGH!!!! I have never watched Honey Boo Boo or whatever it is, but I am sure that it is downright horrid.

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