Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Little Girls and Beauty Pageants

When we raise our children we want them to explore every avenue available to them, we want them to cultivate every corner of their imagination (After all even Einstein said that Imagination was more important than knowledge).

I've always loved the saying "Parenting isn't for cowards", because it's so true. Sometimes we have to stand up and be the bad guy... All parents want their children happy, especially when our children seem to have come across something in this world that awakens their senses... We want to encourage them to chase their hearts desire. I don't want to squash dreams! I want to encourage them!!

I love my little girl, I love her so much, I want to always encourage her to be the best that she can be, and encourage her to do whatever she wants in life. I always tell her that she can be and do anything she put her mind to. She is truly my angel.

I have spent the better part of motherhood raising boys, having 4 boys before Hannah, I was pretty sure that nothing, that no one could shock me. I was sure after boys, I could take on the World.

I was so very Wrong because then...Then I gave birth to a girl. Raising a girl after 4 boys... It's like being a brand new parent again.
Whatever do I mean by that? Well apparently all of the rules have changed, I went from easy going, to "Do not look at my daughter, do not talk to my daughter and do not even think about dating my daughter!!!" Am I getting a little ahead of myself? Yes, perhaps. But I've found myself on the defensive side of Parenting.

Though I'm easy going, I'm very strict about some things. My boys weren't allowed to go to a friends house unless I had met the parents and approved, if they had a girl over They were never allowed To close the door and be completely Alone together in their bedroom and my boys were never allowed to just walk out of the house, I had to know where they were at all times. There were other rules but these were the main ones. 

Then came Hannah... I think to myself  "she wont be having a boy over, much less in her room with the door opened!!" Shes 8, and these things are already on my mind.

Where was I? Oh yes... Back to "Encouraging our children to explore and chase their desires"

To date... Between the 4 boys, they've belonged to city soccer teams, Basketball teams, Had flute lessons, Had piano lessons,  played football, joined boy scouts, Been passionate about art, had hamsters, joined a choir, played the guitar, became good at leather work and so on and so on.

Hannah has been no different. She is active and enjoys, or has enjoyed so many different conquests... Painting, crocheting, sewing, baking, dance... To name a few.
But then she started watching ..."Toddlers and Tiaras"
That was a big mistake.
Since she has started watching it, Hannah has it in her mind that she wants to be in a beauty pageant. 
I have told her no, I have told her that those little girls are basing their whole self esteems on just their looks and that she is so much more than a pretty face. I tell my daughter that she is intelligent and that she has such an amazing and beautiful heart. I want her to always know her self worth, and a persons self worth isn't, EVER... about others judging our beauty.

I thought that was the end of that.
However, Hannah investigated more, in her own little time, and she started to memorize the different Titles that can be won, and she started showing me that she learned how to walk and pose like the girls on the show. Now anyone with a little girl knows, that they like to parade around, they like to dress up and they often do. And when they do, they like an audience, so I am always cheering Hannah on with her new dance or cheerleading routine, or some other song she made up. Hannah's cousin or her brother are sometimes involved and it's fun! But this was different... Her little hips were popping and she was spinning and giving seductive looks and huge smiles, spinning around and walking the other way. I think it's funny when the kids get theatrical, but this was different. Much different. Then Hannah said to me "Mom research and find out when the next pageant is in Texas"

STOP THE PLANET.

This is so not going to happen. I know in my own heart and mind that the idea of beauty pageants just turns my stomach. If you're older and an adult and you want to show off your own body, well more power to you! If you have it! Rock it! But this is my little girl, and I find it so sad when mom's push their little girls with high energy drinks and threats. These little girls are completely exploited by society, their own parents and the whole beauty pageant world. It's wrong. It's very wrong and my little girl will not have a part in it.

I am having "That talk" tonight with her, last night I wanted to have it, but it got late, and today was the first day back to school, so things have been hectic. I will tell her tonight though, that not only is she no longer allowed to watch a TV show that exploits little girls (I honestly thought it was more of a curiosity thing at first), but she will not be participating in any beauty pageants. Her feelings will be hurt, and she will not understand why her mommy won't let her do something she wants to do, especially after I have never told her no about anything she wanted to explore.
One day she will understand.

One day, when she has her own little girl.
It is so important that the mothers of little girls teach them that beauty is deep inside, it's in our heart and our mind. We need to teach our little girls that a healthy self esteem is a must, that they are not special just because they are beautiful, and their happiness isn't based on their attachment to a man. We must teach our girls to first be independent, strong in mind and educated ... In saying all of that, I am a girly girl, I love my clothes and shoes and pampering... I like to have my nails done and I like to look beautiful. But my identity doesn't come from my looks, and I want my daughter to also know this.

Before I close I want to add that I had many of you email me, saying that I needed to be careful and that you were worried that I would get hurt. The thing is ladies, if we are to find a partner, if we are to date and get to know someone, we have to put our hearts out there, finding a terrific man is all about taking the risk of being hurt. But if we don't take that risk, we will never find a fantastic man! Thank you for caring about me! It's like I have about 50 other moms looking out for me :)

Much love to you all,
Tammy

20 comments:

  1. I can imagine how you don't want her to be in a beauty pageant, I wouldn't either, they are truly dreadful things. I am sure that she will understand this one day too. Good luck with the talk Tammy, I hope it goes well. I love your new photo on your blog, it's beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It is hard for parents to take a stand against their child's wishes, but you are the parent and it's hard work! I happen to agree with you on this issue, but if it weren't this one, it would be another. I wonder if it would be possible to re-direct her interest a little into "developing a personal style."

    ReplyDelete
  3. I completely understand all your worries. It seems that there's loads of really dubious influences on girls before they reach teenage years nowadays. It's a lovely job being a Mum but a real toughie too. Jx

    ReplyDelete
  4. I very much agree with you - I only had boys but would be the same as you with a girl. Can you think about something else that would be equally attractive to her. She most likely wants to dress up and look pretty, which she is. What about dancing classes where she can have girlie fun and not be in competition with others.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh my goodness, never having had a daughter and I'm pleased I never had to deal with this one Tammy. I have seen those pageants featured on TV and I find them a bit creepy and weird if I am honest. I dont like to see little girls dressed and made up as big girls.Funnily enough though when I was a little girl I loved dressing up and making up. I honestly think I agree with you on this one though, beauty is only skin deep and you need to find the beauty within.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I trust you to do the right thing Tammy with your new male friendship and with Hannah. I know that you will take care in both things and that you will make careful considerations, weigh up the good points and the bad and make sure that both you and Hannah stay safe. I know that you won't rush into anything or allow Hannah to either. Take care my friend, but have fun too! xx

    ReplyDelete
  7. Oh-That's a tough one, Tammy, but I am with you. I want my grandgirls to know they are more than a pretty face. Our little SweetCheeks is known as The Face Of Broadway here but she is bundled to the nines and just looks like a happy little girl-not a speck of makeup on her sweet face. It is going to be hard but sometimes a NO is just that- a NO. You can also tell her it costs a FORTUNE to be in those shows and you have to pay money up front (quite a bit of money) and that it is a financial burden to do it...plus the more obvious reasons of exploitation...which she probably won't "get"...

    You know, in our hearts, I always think of Jon-benet Ramsey and how awful that was. Had she not been in beauty pageants I do believe she would be a beautiful young adult today.

    Good luck. xo Diana ps. I am not worried about you with the internet guy-you are smart and tough and will walk away if you need to.

    ReplyDelete
  8. That show makes my skin crawl. I find it pretty disgusting, personally. Good for you taking a stand. I can understand why Hannah would want to try it out, but it's not right, in my humble opinion. Plus, think of the money these people spend! Yikes, the whole thing stinks. I'm not worried about you at all, for whatever it's worth. You're a big girl and you'll do what's right for you. I met my husband at a party, after our friends all thought we'd get along and I held off for months, then finally decided to give it a shot. I knew within 24 hours that he was the one for me. If I'd never broken down and gone to meet him, I'd never have met the love of my life. :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. When you said "That is SO not going to happen" I let out a big sigh of relief. You are spot on with your assessment of the pageants. I suspect other kids at school watch and dram and all that. But boy -- that's not a place I think most of us women want our kids to go. Certainly not at that age. Maybe when she is much older and has a better sense of herself and her potential, that can be a choice. But right now -- I'm with you! Good luck with the talk.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I agree with you absolutely on the no pageants thing but I think I would go about it in a different way... I would kill it with kindness.

    She gets no decision making power, it's Mommy's pageant. I would make her hate the idea because to sweet Hannah a pageant is pretty make up, sparkles, dresses, routine, winning and a big tiara... I would drag her at the crack of dawn to every sparkle dress shop and make her try on 80 million different dresses but never find "the right one", shoes, hair, make up next... wear those little legs out. Kids hate shopping after a while, it'll work. Wake her up at 6am to practice her walk and routine over and over and over... because this is pageant life. Smile, no smile. smile, no smile, smile! She can't see her friends today, she's to practice, practice, practice... When she finally gets fed up with you say that this is what her life will be like, every day, every single pageant.

    Hannah is a creative happy, go-getter. She will not like to be tied down to the pageant world, she likes her friends, beign outside, having fun!! She'll give up and then you swoop in with all the praise a Momma can give for her girl making a huge, really grown up decision.

    Get ice cream and relax. X

    ReplyDelete
  11. I have never watched that show, and probably never will. From what I hear, it's more about the mothers than it is the girls anyways. I completely understand you not wanting to allow Hannah to get involved in pageants at such a young age. She needs to be the little girl she is right now. If she wants to dress up and hold pretend fashions shows, then good for her, but the pageants can wait a few years. ;o)

    However, and this may make me the unpopular one on this thread considering all the other comments are agreeing with you, I don't have a single problem with girls participating in pageants once they're older. In fact, for some girls I think it actually bolsters their self-esteem and helps them grow into well-rounded women. Some of my best friends in high school were pageant competitors for college scholarships and probably my closest blogging friend now was Miss Oregon years ago. If it weren't for these friendships, I'd have the same opinion of pageants as you do. But through these friends I discovered there is much more to competing in pageants than just having a pretty face and a great figure. There may be some bad ones in the mix, but generally these girls are intelligent, motivated, world-aware individuals, and those are three things I can only hope my daughter is when she's older!

    ReplyDelete
  12. You are so right to take a stand on this. When I think of little girls in beauty pageants I always remember Jon Benet Ramsey. I think the pageants are sickening and the parents who are involved in them are beyond horrible.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Tammy, I think you're such a good mummy, and I'm sure Hannah will appreciate your decision so much, when she is a little older!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I have to say I agree with you - the pageant thing is less popular here in the UK but to be honest it all freaks me out,. Little girls should not be wearing prom dresses and make-up! Let them stay muddy and innocent for as long as they can. Good luck with it all. And it's exciting to hear you've met someone! Take care, look out for yourself - but I already know you will. :-) x

    ReplyDelete
  15. I hope the talk went well Tammy, I'm not a fan of pageants but luckily they're not a big thing over here (another reason you should come to the UK!). As a girl I was very into make up and hair do's from a young age but it was always within the context of a little girl playing. Some of the tv pageant's I've seen actually over do the girls with tans, make up etc so much that they start to look quite ugly, that's in my opinion I should add. Let us know how it went with Hannah. Take care x

    ReplyDelete
  16. Oh gosh Tammy, you're soooo right to not let her enter any of those pageants. I think they are really horrible. What must those mothers be thinking of, letting their daughters look like that. Can they not realise that their little girls are only little for such a short time - time enough for wearing false nails, eyelashes, fake tans etc etc. I'll get off my soap box now. Have a lovely weekend dear Tammy.
    Patricia x

    ReplyDelete
  17. Don't know much about these pageants except for an article in the paper and one programme but it seems to me that the main benefit is for the mums not the children! It is hard when they desperately want something and you won't allow it. Oh to be a parent! Exciting news about your new chap! Hope you are still planning your trip to London this summer? Would be great to meet you.
    So wishing you a belated Happy New Year!! Lizzy x

    ReplyDelete
  18. You are so right to put your foot down over this issue, I hope she took it well. As for your new man, I hear what you are saying but still please be careful - none of us want you to get hurt. x

    ReplyDelete
  19. I totally agree Tammy. It really doesn't do anything for me it's all a bit weird if you ask me. I'd never allow my daughter to do anything like that.
    I like to promote natural beauty with my daughter.
    Interesting post. Good for you for taking a stand x

    ReplyDelete
  20. I don't agree with the beauty pageants featuring little girls with super pushy moms, but like Sarah said, I've known girls who have been in them from an older age, and it taught them great public speaking skills, to be more positive, and gave them more confidence. My mom actually used to be in beauty pageants and she was a basketball star, cheerleader, got great grades, participated in rodeos, was an all rounder. I think there's a lot of negative connotations with them, but I do think there can also be a lot of good as well, and you can actually win scholarships and it can open opportunities for you as an older participant.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for your positive comments!