'Toddlers & Tiaras' Moms Defend Child Beauty Pageants
Five-year-olds with big hair, lots of make-up, spray tans, and tons of attitude... no, it's not Halloween, it's the reality of the world of child beauty pageants.
Anderson spends time exploring the world of child beauty pageants, a booming industry with more than 5,000 child pageants held annually in the U.S., and approximately 250,000 children participating.
Anderson is joined by the stars of the TLC's hit show "Toddler & Tiaras," Eden Wood, her on-camera rival Mackenzie Myers, and fellow pageant competitor Isabella Barrett, as well as each of the girls' mothers, who defend the longtime tradition of beauty pageants.
Six-year-old Eden, from Taylor, Arkansas, started in pageants before she could walk, and has won almost 300 titles. Her mom, Mickie, a drama school teacher, says "pageants never crossed my mind. I had noticed early on that she had a lot of rhythm and stuff. And we have a performance-based family."
Take a look at Eden's performance...
Susanna Barrett says her 5-year-old daughter Isabella, winner of Miss Teeny Northeast USA, got started in pageants because of her eldest daughter. Her eldest had a traumatic injury to her face, and for self-confidence it was decided to put her in a pageant. According to Barrett, when Isabella saw the glitz and glamour, she couldn't resist joining.
"Toddlers and Tiaras" mothers defended their daughters participating in pageants, but many critics believe it's not only abusive but sexualizes children.
What do you think? Is it appropriate for kids to be dressing up as adults and dancing around in skimpy outfits? What is the real impact of beauty pageants on children?
An audience member brings this up to the "Toddlers & Tiaras" moms, saying, "You said it's not sexualizing the kids and stuff, and there is nothing mature about the performance. Yet one of the little ones is shaking her backside, shaking her booty and she said so."
Mickie Wood asserts, "But what does that have to do? That's having fun." Susanna Barrett added, "If people are looking at a child in a sexy way, then there's something wrong with them."
For a child pageant winner, there is a sash, a trophy, and a dream of media exposure, but the transformation from child to pageant royalty is costly.
Eden's mom says from the time she's started until now, she has spent around $100,000 -- this total includes the cost of travel, costumes and lessons. Yes, there is prize money involved, but she says it doesn't come close to the money spent.
Do you understand the motivation behind putting children in beauty pageants? Do you think pageant parents are looking for fame and fortune?
Do you look at child beauty pageants as an activity -- much like a child in gymnastics or soccer? Would you put your child in a beauty pageant?