My doctor friend from Seattle forwarded me your blog yesterday and I want you to know it’s circulating amongst doctors all over the country. Hilarious and so true! I sent it to to at least 30 docs I know.
I live in the Deep South, where children’s beauty pageants are a way of life. I moved here from the West Coast for my medical residency and met and fell in love with my wife. Six years later we have a beautiful 4 year old daughter and life is pretty great except when people ask me for medical advice at parties – ha!
My problem is that my wife told me she wants our daughter to participate in beauty pageants as she did when she was young and I am very against it. I am getting intense pressure from my wife and her mother and since my wife spoke to my daughter about pageants, now my daughter is asking me why I won’t let her.
I was raised in a very progressive home with an independent professional mom and I believe these types of activities are not healthy for young girls. It seems ridiculous to say but this is becoming a real issue in my home right now. We are at a stalemate and neither side is willing to bend. What do you think?
Dear Feminist Dad:
Thank you for reading and sharing yesterday’s blog regarding the doctor who was sick of people asking him for medical advice at parties, and please share it with non-doctors as well. I can’t be too picky these days, so feel free to email my blog to lawyers, trash collectors and any prostitutes you may know.
Being born and raised in Portland, Oregon, I was never exposed to the pageant world until I was older and became aware of our yearly meat display called the “Rose Festival Court,” in which girls at each high school girls compete against each other in a school-sanctioned popularity contest so they can be elected to the Rose Festival Court and then compete against other Court members so they can be crowned “Rose Festival Princess.”
It’s a hideous display of sexism and popularity-ranking, not to mention a blatant endorsement of the monarchy system which I do believe was rejected in this country a few years ago.
Are you getting the feeling about now that I agree with you?
I think the pageantry business is a horrid one, but most especially as it pertains to children’s contests. These shit shows take our baby girls at an incredibly vulnerable and impressionable time in their lives when they should be focused on acquiring knowledge and empathy and instead focus on outer appearance and competing against other children.
In other words, they are factories converting little girls into future bitches.
This industry is wholly generated by adults for adults and yet it pretends to be for children. What I mean by that is there are child-centered businesses based upon the needs and natural actions of kids, like companies that make toys.
Competing in a beauty pageant is not something any young child would think of on their own to do so their parents push them into it so those parents can live vicariously through their child and compete with the other parents as well.
In the past few years I’ve done intensive research on this subject, meaning I’ve caught a few episodes of “Toddlers and Tiaras,” a reality show in which morbidly obese and deeply unfulfilled women shove their babies on a stage with 8 pounds of makeup and often in sexually suggestive clothing. Let’s take a gander, shall we?
Nothing screams “good parenting” more than squeezing your child into a hooker outfit, thus creating a Prosti-Toddler who will then be subjected to adults looking her up and down to determine her value as she hopes to win a tacky trophy that cost the pageant organizers 20 bucks but the competitor’s family $3500. More on that cost in a moment.
I should specify that your wife and her mother want your daughter to compete in the “full glitz” pageants, not the “natural” ones, which as far as I can tell only differ in the amount of trowel time spent in the make-up chair. The “natural” girls still get the war paint slathered on, but not as much.
As bad as any of these pageants are, the “full glitz” ones are truly the worst. Instead of a 4-foot trophy they should just go ahead and admit the inevitable by awarding these girls with a glittered stripper pole to take home.
Let’s talk about the money, because this is the key to your winning this argument. Something tells me your wife is not going to be interested in the sociological implications of child pageantry, so we will come at her from a different direction in a language she can understand.
This is a five BILLION dollar a year industry in which parents regularly drop $3,500 or more in preparations for one big day.
Between rhinestones, professional hair and makeup, spray tans, fake nails, flippers (fake teeth to hide the adorable jack-o-lantern smile children often have), entry fees, coaching, voice and dance lessons and travel expenses, we are talking very serious money.
You told me when we emailed today that your wife does not work, nor has she any intentions of working and in fact she would like three more children and you are trying to get her pregnant right now with kid #2.
Boy, you really know how to add to your problems, my man. You also told me you thought you both wanted to just have two kids. I’m wondering if you ever had any deep and meaningful conversations with this woman before you married her – she must be pretty hot. Start saving now for the alimony you will be paying one day.
OK, doc, it’s this simple: state your objections, show her this blog and try to change her mind based upon the fact that child pageantry is a disgusting industry that hurts children and skews in a very negative direction their understanding of what is truly important. If that doesn’t work, tell her you look forward to her finding a job that can support this endeavor and that you won’t contribute a cent.
If you have a joint account, close it. Pay all the bills yourself and give her a small allowance with which she can buy groceries but not things like this:
This god-awful piece of clothing looks like the vomit that would result from a cotton candy binge and costs (wait for it!) $975.
You told me your monster-in-law is on a fixed budget so she can’t get the money from her. If your wife chooses to live like a child (she has told you she has known since she was young that she would never work) you must treat her like one, but you cannot let her raise another entitlement-focused weak-minded and dependent princess.
I’m pretty surprised you married a woman with such a different value system from your own. You may want to think about that before you put your unwrapped hot dog in her bun tonight, because my prediction is this marriage will have trouble down the road and the longer you stay in it (assuming she is not as horrid as she sounds) and the more kids you have, the more screwed you will be when you leave.
Feel free to drop me a line the next time you need help.
For more on this subject, take a peek at this link that shows you why my homeland France recently banned pageants for young children.