1. 4 Year Old Dolly Parton
When she was 4 years old, it is unlikely that Dolly Parton had the fashion sense, or the boobs, she later became known for. And, if she did, her parents probably had enough sense to disguise both. But, if you happen to have a 4 year old girl desperate for some sort of talent costume for their next pageant – and you happen to have a Dolly Parton costume that will fit - why not? Maddy Verst’s mom did just that, complete with fake boobs and a padded rump. She dolled this up with a blonde wig and then sent her child on stage to shake around a bit in front of a room full of strangers. Maddy’s mom saw nothing wrong with this, though when her dad got wind of it, he sued for custody with the suggestion that pageants are akin to child abuse. Of course, he’s also got a record of drug and alcohol abuse, so which parent should win?
2. Pretty Woman
Dolly Parton isn’t the only inappropriate costume on stage. 3 year old Paisley (great stage name), has appeared in Julia Robert’s hooker costume from the movie Pretty Woman. This has created quite an uproar (as you can imagine). But, her mom claims it’s alright because “she doesn’t know”. Charming. This ranks right up there with the 2 year old sporting a Madonna costume – the one with the cone bra – who’s mom screamed, “Work it Mia!” from the audience, when her child stripped to reveal her costume (or lack thereof).
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 50 years, you do know that smoking is bad for you. There’s no shortage of advertising and literature that suggests you should keep smoke and cigarettes as far from your children as possible. Unless you are on stage, that is. Then, it may seem alright to send your 4 year old dressed as Sandy from Grease – post makeover – to stamp out a cigarette with her foot. Destiny’s mom was surprised that the judges thought this was in poor taste and said something to the effect that a child’s imagination is a good thing. Most people think that there’s something wrong with a 4 year old that imagines skin tight clothing and smoking.
4. Just Let Me Outside
You kind of expect kids to play indoors if they are sick or during the winter - and admit it, you kinda prefer them to, because then you can keep an eye one them more easily or keep them safe with stair gates. You just don’t expect any caring parent to keep her 3 year old inside for fear that their rosy complexion might just darken to the point where they won’t win awards. But that’s exactly what life is like for Selena. And just to salt that up a bit, Selena has siblings that are allowed to play outdoors while she watches (longingly) from the window. Her mother tries to defend herself by saying she wants to keep her daughter perfect, but what she’s actually teaching her daughter is that she’ll never be perfect – and ensuring a healthy retainer for some lucky adolescent psych. If only someone would sue for custody of this poor thing.
5. I’m Smiling on the Inside
Wonders never cease. From the mother who is afraid of her child developing too much colour, to the mothers that invest in home spray tanning kits, Toddlers and Tiaras runs the gamut. Karmen’s mom happens to be in the latter group. And, she’s just not phased as the cameras capture her child crying in a bikini on television while she forces her to stand still for her tan. It wouldn’t be so dreadful if we didn’t have to see the poor girl crying a few moments later because she’s hungry (and presumably her mom won’t let her eat until after her performance). And then her mom says she’s just so pleased at the look on Karmen’s face as the camera cuts to a sincerely displeased girl who says, “I’m smiling on the inside.”
6. Facial Beauty is the Most Important Thing
It doesn’t take a genius to realise that kids who are subjected to this kind of behaviour from their parent are going to grow up with a terribly skewed idea of the world. It doesn’t take that long for it to set in either. 8 year old Daisy Mae (and that’s a pageant name if there ever was one) tells the camera that she believes facial beauty is the most important thing in life. That’s a bit disturbing. Of course, she’s also said, “if you think your kid is ugly or something, you might not want to do pageants because you’re not going to win or anything.” Hopefully, her own kids are a long way off because heaven only knows what sort of pageant mom she’ll turn out to be.
7. I Can Do Whatever I Want To
Admit it. You’ve been waiting to hear these words from a spoiled 4 year old, haven’t you? It’s especially poignant when they’re followed with some screaming and some foot stamping for effect. This is something you get to see rather frequently on Toddlers and Tiaras, but it just happens to be exceedingly evident in the case of Mackenzie who says and does exactly this as her mom passively allows it to happen. But, at 4 years old, her mom still offers her a pacifier to keep her calm, so perhaps that’s the first challenge they’re trying to tackle. This child also offered viewers delight as she ran through the house shouting, “We’re gonna be late for diva day!”. Uuuummm, no, it seems like every day is diva day in your world, honey.
8. Those Girls Are Ugly
You can kind of imagine this coming from the mouth of a cheeky 16 year old, right? But that’s 3 in the pageant world apparently. So it shouldn’t come as a shock when 3 year old Kayla, who is barely coherent, declares, “all those girls are ugly.” It shouldn’t come as a shock but it does, especially as her mother smiles as she pretends to correct her daughter. Surely this is for the cameras; Kayla must have gotten that idea from somewhere, right? In the same sequence, we see this poor girl trying to fight off her mom as she brushes her hair on the kitchen counter. Delightful and hygienic, who could ask for more?
9. Honey Boo Boo
This 6 year old, whose name is actually Alana, has no shortage of cringe moments; nor does her mom. Besides having a child who says “a dollar makes me holler” and other questionable catch phrases, Honey Boo Boo’s mom has defended pumping her child full of caffeine before pageants. She finds this more effective than the flavoured sugar known as “pageant crack” within the industry. Of course she would; Alana’s “go-go juice” is half Mountain Dew, half Red Bull. That’s more effective than about 4 cups of coffee if it doesn’t make you vomit. On the plus side, Alana’s spin off show will hopefully cover the extensive amount of therapy she’ll need some day.