Friday, March 15, 2013

Mama Rock

Ran across an article a few days ago about the comedian Chris Rock's momma, Rose Rock. She's been a mother, a foster mother and a substitute momma for a grand total of 32 children all together. She's been very successful at raising children in our fractured and confusing world, so successful that she's written a book about her methods titled, "Mama Rock's Rules: Ten Lessons for Raising a Houseful of Successful Children"

In the Coastal Observer interview Mama Rock had this to say about children's beauty pageants.

She calls “Toddlers and Tiaras,” the children’s beauty pageants, another horrible idea. “One name,” Rock said, “JonBenét Ramsey. Need I say more? Who wants a 6-year-old to look 22? When you do, how many predators are out there looking at that. It’s the sickest thing I’ve heard. Parents are living through their children. Every little girl should be a princess, but she should be daddy’s princess or mommy’s princess in the house. I’m not supposed to exploit you. Do you think a 5-year-old wants to be tortured having her hair pressed? Honey Boo Boo’s mom gives her a mixture of Mountain Dew and Red Bull — she calls it go-go juice — so she will be awake and smiling when she should be in her jammies in bed.”
Wise words indeed!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Beware The Scammers

Those of you that participate in Children's Beauty Pageants are not only exposing your child to things that are unhealthy for them, you're making yourself a target for scammers. Jezebel.com had this to say about the sleazy side of adult pageants  in the article Big Breaks for Blowjobs: The Dark Underbelly of the Miss USA Pageant

Now I know that most of this doesn't apply to the childrens pageant systems but this sure doesn..

Be Productions lured kids (and their parents) by telling them they had star potential – but, of course, the young would-be stars needed to pay thousands of dollars up front for headshots and acting classes if they wanted to be cast on Disney shows like Hannah Montana and Zoey 101.

Be Production's Talent Director was Domingo Rodriguez, then known as Domingo Casañas. The seamy trio — Rodriguez, Lewis, and DeSando –- had solidified their business relationship.

In 2009, an ABC News investigation led to a widely publicized federal class action lawsuit that accused Be Productions of swindling over $20 million from more than 6,000 families by attempting to sidestep a state consumer protection law specifically meant to keep dubious advance fee talent agencies in check, publishing false and misleading information about its prices and services and referring clients to classes and photo shoots in exchange for paid compensation. The lawsuit, which is still pending, claimed that the contracts signed by thousands of families "violate the law and cannot be enforced."

If someone says your child has 'star potential' and you need to invest in that it would behoove you to actually investigate that person or agency before plunking down dollar one. If your child is employable in the entertainment world (and that's a big IF if only because of the vast number of people trying to make their kids a star) it's unlikely you're going to have to cough up more money in the thousands range.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Real Hidden Costs of Children's Beauty Pageants - The Impact on Families

There she is, Lil’ Miss Mini Grande Burrito Super Supremooooooooo!

Is a tin crown set with rhinestones mingled with bragging rights really worth imploding your family?

Let’s look at some of the effects living the children’s beauty pageant lifestyle can have in furthering the deconstruction of the American family. Making this ‘hobby’ the center of your family life is about as constructive as deciding to lob a bomb into your living room filled with family members.

The pageant lifestyle impacts families on more than just an economic level, it impacts the complex relationship bonds between the members of the family, it interferes with the social aspects of family, it teaches the wrong life lessons to impressionable children - lessons they will carry forward internally for the rest of their lives, creates the potential exposure of the falsely sexualized child to an eager plethora of pedophiles and in its more extreme forms it can set up a child for a lifetime of psychological problems such as eating disorders.

1. Beauty pageants focus the attention of the mother onto one or two of the children in the family causing the other children to be ignored in favor of the one ‘golden’ child.

2. Dad suffers because he is frequently ignored and shunted aside, his emotional needs ignored and pressed into service as a weekend babysitter against his will.

3. Finances are thrown into havoc while Mom spends money the family doesn’t have on fake spray on tans and fancy pageant dresses. Some families plunge into debt they cannot ever hope to pay off while others use money that should have been spent on college education funds for the kids or even basics on the pageant fripperies.

4. Education of the children suffers as they are pushed into relentless hours of rehearsal when they should be doing homework. Pulling the children out of school for pageants just puts the kids even father behind the educational curve, ensuring their later failure in life.

5. The physical well being of the child suffers. If they are being rehearsed for pageants for hours per day the child has not enough time for proper rest, exercise or just to simply play and be a kid.

6. Socialization skills suffer when a child spends so much time in an atmosphere of reeking of puffed up ego, falsely overstated abilities and devoid of the personal boundaries everyone must develop to keep emotionally healthy.

There are many other reasons but I think that these are the more serious of the bunch. If you think something needs to be added to the list please email me and I’ll add it.

Is there anything really worth harming your family over? If you have an ounce of love and compassion for those you share a life with the answer would hopefully be no. This world needs families, strong families, to carry on living and making this world a better place. Every thing you do that harms your family impacts the greater good of our society. We all really are our brothers (or sisters) keeper.

For the good of our planet please think about the choices you’re making for your child. Do you want to turn out the next Lindsay Lohan or the next Mother Theresa?

"Mirror I am seeing a new reflection
I'm looking into the eyes of He who made me
And to Him I am beauty beyond compare
I know, He defines me. Yeah yeah " - 'Mirror' by Barlow Girl

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Why Children's Beauty Pageants?

"Beauty that made this heart adore You.."

I know everyone thinks their child is the most beautiful in the entire world. It’s natural and healthy to feel that way. It’s part of loving someone with the same unselfish love that you were given as a child. There’s something just so inviting and beautiful about babies, both human and animal, and it seems likely that the Creator made them so attractive so we’ve feel driven to take care of the young.

However, is allowing your child to participate in pageants protecting and caring for your child in the best way possible? Is perverting the natural beauty found in every child to some impossible painted standard best adhered to by drag queens beneficial to your child’s well being?

What messages are you likely to be transmitting to your impressionable daughter during those harmless weekends at pageants?

1 - It’s alright to judge people on their outward appearances.

This is dangerous thinking on two different levels. First of all, you’re teaching your child that looks matter more than anything else in this world. Not kindness, not love, not intelligence but a false facade is the only thing that counts. What happens if they absorb this message in early childhood and then later in life have trouble measuring up? It sets an impressionable child up for things such as eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia. It impacts their self esteem and can lead to feelings of inferiority, depression and utter worthlessness. It also pushes the notion that anything you need to do to stay attractive, such as spray painting on a tan or fake teeth or plastic surgery is alright because it makes you better than everyone else.

The second dangerous thing about this notion is that it sends the message that it’s okay to judge others based on what they look like and to feel falsely superior to someone because they do not fit in the same ‘beauty’ mold that you worship mentally. It opens the door to bullying and teasing others that are ‘different’ in any way.

Life is not a contest in which the pretty people always have rainbows, lollipops and sunshine.

2 - That they are ‘better’ than other kids their own age.

There’s no such thing. Everyone is the same, everyone is a human being with the same struggles, thoughts, feelings and you’re trying to instill that only your child is worthy of attention. Making the un-special think they are special. This is particularly cruel once they go to school and others show them just how average they are. That type of thinking only spawns hateful brats that no one can stand save their own precious mothers.

3 - It’s alright to allow personal space barriers down around strange adults.

In the time I’ve been researching the harm that pageants do to children and families I’ve received a number of emails from people whose children have been sexually molested or raped in the course of either a pageant or pageant related function. When you teach your child that it’s alright to allow other adults to touch them, that they are not allowed to have personal space or barriers, you are telling your child that it’s alright for other adults to sexually violate them even if it makes them uncomfortable.

4 - It’s alright to show favoritism among your own kids.

It rackets up competition between your children for your attention. Children need to know that they are unconditionally loved and cherished without reservation by their parents. When you favor one child over the others increasing amounts of time you’re setting up your other children for a host of emotional issues, many that will not be easily resolved without clinical intervention and treatment.

5 - There’s nothing wrong with neglecting school and homework.
Many of the more serious pageant folks seem to be obsessed with having their child practice for hours on end daily. Practice their routines, their walk, their talents and it doesn’t seem to matter than there’s not enough time to concentrate on studying school work, getting enough sleep or just playing and being a kid.

6 - It’s fine to not pay the (insert company here) bill so that you can afford to buy that dress or pay that pageant entry fee.

It’s scientifically proven that kids emulate their parents, for good or bad. If the parent eats a lot of junk from McDonalds all the time, chances are that the family kids will do the same. Habits, attitudes, modes of behavior, all picked up from clues and/or examples set by the parents in the child’s earliest years. If your child is witnessing you plunging your family in massive debt just so they can have that two thousand dollar hideous dress dipped in sequins they will likely pick up the same poor financial habits and carry them on through their adult years until forced into bankruptcy.

7 - It’s alright to go away from home nearly every weekend and neglect the family to do so.

Children need stability and a loving environment to flourish, not being constantly uprooted and drug hither and yon to compete. Weekends are a good time to allow the people you love to reboot, rest and relax after a week spent working or going to school. It’s a time when families bond, when they do things together, things as mundane as working together to clean the house or going out doing fun things, sports or educational activities.

8 - Putting pressure to be perfect on people is alright.

You’re setting up your child for a lifetime of disappointments when they learn to always have high expectations constantly placed upon them in their lives. It puts adult-level stress on kids when this type of pressure to perform on command and be perfect all the time is implicitly implied in the parent/child relationship.

9 - It’s okay to treat other people like objects.

When you spend so much time and energy painting, trussing and cosseting your child like a literal living doll, she’s going to get the message that people are objects and are to be treated as such. It’s the same message that pornography pushes, stripping people of their humanity so that they can be viewed as an inanimate object that you can use or abuse as you like.

10 - Gossiping about others is perfectly fine and being two-faced is expected.

Push down how you really feel, air kiss and then bash that other momma’s daughter to anyone who will listen later during the pageant. Your daughter is watching and do you really want her to develop the same small minded mean spirited mindset shown by many of the mommas? Gossip is defined as sharing information about someone else where you are neither part of the situation or solution or involved in any other way. The power of the tongue holds all of life and death, if you sow negativity, you will be reaping the same.

"Beautiful people, forgive and forget, their eyes look like children's... " - 'Beautiful People' - Jason Upton

Friday, January 4, 2013

Let's Examine Supposed Pageant Positives

"The beauty of Your majesty awakes my heart to sing.."

Positives to the pageant experience? Are there any real ones? Why chose pageants as a hobby?

Many times professional pageant mothers will talk about the benefits of why they do the pageants. They usually cite things such as building self confidence in their daughters or sometimes talk about how great it is to be able to put aside money for that child’s college education via the winnings. Other advantages claimed are that this is the child’s passion, what they love to do or that this is a great hobby to bring mother and daughter closer together, that it creates memories and new friends.

So let’s examine those ‘benefits’, shall we?

1. “
My child loves doing pageants and she begged to do them.” - Seriously, do you really expect anyone to believe that one? A three or four year old wants to do lots of things, some of them not so good for them. If the child had been asking if they could play in traffic or get a tattoo would you have allowed it because the child begged you? What about eating potato chips and chocolate for every meal? If every parent gave into unhealthy whims by justifying it as something the child wanted to do our social services would be even more congested with glaring examples of bad parenting.

2. “
We’re putting aside money for college using the winnings!” - I’d bet if you simply added together all the thousands you’ve spent for that tin foil crown, cheap satin sash and wad of cash you’d find that you have actually spent many times over again anything you have won. If you’d had simply salted away the money you’ve spent away in a mutual fund or a simple low interest savings account you’d be much closer to the possibility of paying for your child’s education.

3. “
It gives my daughter self confidence” - Teaching a 4 or 5 year old how to dance, or how to sashay in a silly dress is not what builds true internal self confidence. A well rounded person who is truly self confident realizes that there is more to life than having others approve of your external appearance and spends time developing personality and intellect as well. Encourage your daughter to read, to play, to interact socially with others her own age in a non-competitive manner. Take them to dance lessons or the local museum. There's nothing wrong with building self confidence in your child, just don't fool yourself into thinking that will happen with pageants.

4. “
My daughter and I are closer than ever. This is something we do that brings us closer and she‘ll remember it forever.” - I’m sure your darling over painted daughter will confirm this even after all the hours you’ve spent bullying her around to be perfect, dance perfectly, sing perfectly. Is the memory you wish to make one of you standing over your child screaming at them to do it again or that they screwed something up again. Are you even sure she’s going to remember much? Years of research have proven that very few memories are retained from before the age of 4 and the years 4 to 6 only hold a few more. Most memory is imprinted in humans from the age 6 onwards.

5. “
We’ve made so many great friends this way!” If this is the case then why are there so many hate fueled jealous rants spayed across internet Particularly on the Voy.com message boards? Back stabbings, cattiness, downright character assignations seem to flourish in this ‘hobby’. Granted, anything done in a competitive milieu brings out a thirst for blood among the competitors but children's beauty pageants seem to make it into a new art form.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Defining Beauty

"It's the child on her wedding day, it's the daddy that gives her away, something beautiful.." - Something Beautiful - The Newsboys
Beauty - It’s what we all want and it can be found in a variety of packages and images. But what is it exactly? What is beautiful?

Webster's defines it thusly: “the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit”

What it doesn’t mention is that beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder. It’s a highly subjective thing. What one person sees as ordinary or common someone else sees as extraordinarily beautiful. A sunset, a newborn baby, a flower, the sudden kindness of a stranger, the loving soul of a person are all beautiful. In some Asian countries rather large women are thought to be beauties in diametric opposition to the fashion industries edict that only the very thin are beautiful.

When I think of beauty I don’t think of the world’s false standards of beauty. I think of the lyrics of the Newsboys song “Something Beautiful”


Think about how you define beauty. Is it inward or outward? Are you brave enough to possibly consider another view?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

So who am I and why do I care what you do with your kids?

I’m nobody. I’m a mom, like you, nothing special but neither am I claiming to be.

But I do deeply care about the future of our world, about kids, about the next generation that will be running this world once we’re retired.

I believe that the pageant industry is one of exploitation and that it adds to the growing problem in our society of child pornography as well as its role in destroying healthy families and teaching children the wrong messages about life.

Several years ago I’d been happily ignorant to the world of children’s beauty pageants. My only exposure had been the letters that arrived occasionally that stated my youngest daughter’s picture had been submitted for the state pageant and inviting us to participate. I would laugh, toss the letter and shake my head at the utter foolishness of it all. I put pageants on the same league with allowing small children to cheerleader, completely without merit and rife with the wrong life messages. But I wrongly assumed it was uneducated lower class women with names like “Lurleen” and “Velvetta” encouraging their offspring to be in pageants. It wasn’t something to aspire to. Documentaries such as HBO’s excellent “Living Dolls” didn’t disabuse me of my notions that this was strictly white trash territory.

But something happened. A message board I regularly participated in that had nothing to do with pageants or anything child-related started discussions about pageants and the pageant mothers piled in. Never in my many years online have I seen such nastiness and threats as when they were asked to explain their hobby. We were personally attacked, threatened with legal action and then they started fighting among themselves. I was horrified and fascinated at the same time. A board friend slipped me the message board addresses of the places they hang out and I plunged myself into a world I never dreamed existed, where people gladly spent thousands of dollars to dress their kids like piñatas on LSD and accused each other regularly of heinous crimes (beyond the hideous crimes against fashion they’d all committed). The more I read, the more horrified I was with the hobby, realizing it was far worse for families and children than I’d ever imagined. One poor family lost a child on vacation and many in the pageant world blamed them for the tragic accident. Never have I seen such rampant vicious jealousy among supposed adults.

Time passed and I still read those sites even if I could never post because I knew my viewpoint would be most unwelcome.

Don’t misunderstand me, I am not opposed to the pageants that teens and young women enter. Those are based on something more than looks and the participants are actually old enough to make a considered decision as well as mature enough to handle the pressures. It’s the younger children that concern me. No one younger than mid teens has any business appearing in a beauty pageant.

What I hope this site will do is educate and inform. If I manage to make one person, just one pageant mom think about the damage this hobby is potentially doing to her family and her child I will be satisfied. Please think about it. I know you love your child and want what’s best for her. Please don’t look at this site as something set up to bash your hobby, more as someone concerned for your precious child’s well being.

"Your name is beautiful, it drips off my lips like drops of gold" - "Beautiful" by Audio Adrenaline