Maddy is 5 years old and her father, Bill Verst, is now seeking custody of her ever since her mother, Lindsay Jackson, put fake breasts on her for the TLC show, Toddlers and Tiaras.
According to Mail Online's article, Ms. Jackson defends her right to put her daughter in pageants:
'I feel like I'm fighting a battle without bullets,' she said.
'It is my right to put my child in pageants, it is just like any other extracurricular activity like soccer or gymnastics or football,' she argued.
'It is not illegal to do pageants, it is a hobby that we participate in and the government cannot tell me that I can't put my daughter in pageants.'
Dolly Parton is a large-breasted woman and to get the message across that her daughter was 'being' Dolly Parton, I can understand the reasoning behind the fake boobs; Dolly's boobs are practically a trademark all by themselves!
What I cannot understand is the lack of another thought that might have Ms. Jackson thinking, "Wait. This might be sexualizing my 5 year old daughter and is this a great idea?"
She seemingly thought it was.
Is this the by-product of becoming so enmeshed in the girly world of pageantry that some mothers are forgetting that, in everyday reality, breasts are a sign of sexual maturity? And that in the reality of the television, movie and entertainment world that breasts being put on display (or drawn purposeful attention to) is wanton sexualization?
What is non-sexual about a 5 year old girl with fake breasts?
Toddlers and Tiaras on TLC
I have never watched the show as I have no interest in pageants or pageantry but even I could not avoid reading the uprising of controversy when a 3 year old was donned in a mini-likeness of Julia Roberts' hooker outfit from Pretty Woman. Although I can see the humorous side to it, I did wonder if the mother was aware that dressing her daughter up as a pretend hooker might have any audience scratching their heads.
After all, who's more sexualized than a hooker?
Boobs and Hookers Aside
I have seen the behind-the-scenes of these 'reality TV show' beauty pageants. I have seen documentaries of pageant mothers going to all sorts of lengths on their girl-child contestants. From bleaching and capping their teeth to dying their hair, adding wigs, and fake tans, for some of these mothers it seems that nothing is too off limits in order to insure their child wins their next pageant.
Molestation and Sexual Abuse
I had a boyfriend who, when we'd flip channels and would land on something like a child's beauty pageant, would become outraged. I have to admit I'd never thought of them as being sexualized until his first rant that went kind of like, "That is disgusting! Dressing up your little girl to look like a grown woman, you may as well put a sign around her head that says, 'Have sex with me.'"
Since then, I've wondered if Toddlers and Tiaras or shows like it do encourage pedophiles, molesters, or child abuse?
My girlfriends have shown me their boob jobs, for example. We can take off our clothes in front of each other to change. We discuss all sorts of girly things - sometimes sex - because we're in the company of our own 'feminine tribe.' We, however, are also aware that were a heterosexual man to enter the room as we're changing clothes, speaking of sex, or exchanging boob stories, the environment would surely change.
And this is why I think one explanation for the mother's who do this 'hooker outfit' or 'dolly's boobs' may simply be so enmeshed in the 'girl world' of it all, that it really may not occur to them they are sexualizing their girls or turning them into (inadvertent) sex objects.
What do you think?