Skip Nav
Evan Rachel Wood
Evan Rachel Wood Reveals Her Hilarious Guilty Pleasures
Beauty News
Milk Makeup Has Arrived and It's Just as Rad as We Imagined
Beauty Essay
23 Feelings You Get When You Go Beauty Shopping at the Drugstore

Toddlers and Tiaras Shows You a World of Little-Girl Beauty Pageantry

There was a good amount of discussion when I asked for your thoughts on beauty pageants. Most of you find them outdated, dippy, or sexist, but a few readers piped up to show support for them. No matter what you think about pageantry, you'll probably be fascinated by Toddlers and Tiaras, a documentary series debuting tonight on TLC.

The show follows a handful of young girls as they prepare for and compete in beauty pageants, and it is in-sane. Dads seem out of the picture, and the moms are pushy — no surprise there, but there's plenty to surprise. It's bizarre to see a 7-year-old be fitted for fake teeth, for instance, or to watch a terrified, spindly-legged girl sob as she gets her first spray tan. There's more random goodness, too: A lesbian couple turns pageant stereotypes on their heads (Heather has two stage moms!) and one girl confesses that her love of farm animals drives her to compete. For a preview of the show, check out these clips from the first episode — and let me know if you're as gripped by it as I am.

Photo courtesy of TLC

Around The Web

POPSUGAR, the #1 independent media and technology company for women. Where more than 75 million women go for original, inspirational content that feeds their passions and interests.

Join The Conversation
erinVFC erinVFC 6 years
i believe this show is 2 much 4 little girls 2 handle... i am an early teenager and i watched the new episode last night...i and was like there skin in gorgeous and they wear more makeup than ME!! which is truly sad... i dont get spray tanned and i already have perfect teeth...it lowers girls self esteem...
ManRay ManRay 7 years
I agree with what most of you said: Little Girls, disguised as dolls with heavy "sexy" make-up and getup are really giving me the creeps. Anybody seen "Little Miss Sunshine"? - then you know what I'm speaking of:) I think the point ist not whether or not it's pageants, ballet or any other stage performance - the real problem for me is: children being judged by adults for things they cannot yet understand. For children, "beauty" as such is not really important - until adults teach them what is "beautiful" and what's not. When I'm gonna be a mother, I'd like to protect my kids as long as possible from such a judgment. IMO, everything you make your child do - that normally it would have neither wanted nor wished, is child abuse - and parents only do this as a compensation for their own unfulfilled wishes or lack of accomplishments. Children are no little adults - and should not be treated as such.
ManRay ManRay 7 years
I agree with what most of you said: Little Girls, disguised as dolls with heavy "sexy" make-up and getup are really giving me the creeps. Anybody seen "Little Miss Sunshine"? - then you know what I'm speaking of:) I think the point ist not whether or not it's pageants, ballet or any other stage performance - the real problem for me is: children being judged by adults for things they cannot yet understand. For children, "beauty" as such is not really important - until adults teach them what is "beautiful" and what's not. When I'm gonna be a mother, I'd like to protect my kids as long as possible from such a judgment. IMO, everything you make your child do - that normally it would have neither wanted nor wished, is child abuse - and parents only do this as a compensation for their own unfulfilled wishes or lack of accomplishments.Children are no little adults - and should not be treated as such.
jc jc 7 years
Nuts, nuts. nuts. I was pretty shocked when I say one family from San Jose. I thought only the folks in the South were down with that stuff.
jc jc 7 years
Nuts, nuts. nuts. I was pretty shocked when I say one family from San Jose. I thought only the folks in the South were down with that stuff.
karen-zoo karen-zoo 7 years
Freaky.
karen-zoo karen-zoo 7 years
Freaky.
arienne arienne 7 years
I watched a few minutes on TV last night. One very little girl got first runner up and was jumping up and down when they handed her the big trophy. Her dad's reaction? "She didn't win." Ugh...
Glittersniffer Glittersniffer 7 years
Oh DEAR. Had my mom tried to put me into pageants as a kid I would have flat out REBELLED. I'm talking kicking screaming ripping and clawing! My sister, now she'd have been ALL for it. Priss.
Glittersniffer Glittersniffer 7 years
Oh DEAR. Had my mom tried to put me into pageants as a kid I would have flat out REBELLED. I'm talking kicking screaming ripping and clawing! My sister, now she'd have been ALL for it. Priss.
bananapancake84 bananapancake84 7 years
As a former pagent girl, I felt like I had to comment.I was in the Jr. Miss America pagents when I was between 9 and 12. Personally, I loved them.However, my mom never spray-tanned me, never made me wear fake teeth or hair. I wrote my own little speeches, made up my own dance, and helped my mom sew and bedazzle my costumes. I don't remember any of the other girls in the pagent going through what the girls on this TV show go though, but maybe I was too young to pay attention. I never won a single pageant. I also participated in ballet and gymnastics. I'm now 24 and my self-esteem is better off because of all of this.
bananapancake84 bananapancake84 7 years
As a former pagent girl, I felt like I had to comment. I was in the Jr. Miss America pagents when I was between 9 and 12. Personally, I loved them. However, my mom never spray-tanned me, never made me wear fake teeth or hair. I wrote my own little speeches, made up my own dance, and helped my mom sew and bedazzle my costumes. I don't remember any of the other girls in the pagent going through what the girls on this TV show go though, but maybe I was too young to pay attention. I never won a single pageant. I also participated in ballet and gymnastics. I'm now 24 and my self-esteem is better off because of all of this.
bananapancake84 bananapancake84 7 years
As a former pagent girl, I felt like I had to comment. I was in the Jr. Miss America pagents when I was between 9 and 12. Personally, I loved them. However, my mom never spray-tanned me, never made me wear fake teeth or hair. I wrote my own little speeches, made up my own dance, and helped my mom sew and bedazzle my costumes. I don't remember any of the other girls in the pagent going through what the girls on this TV show go though, but maybe I was too young to pay attention. I never won a single pageant. I also participated in ballet and gymnastics. I'm now 24 and my self-esteem is better off because of all of this.
KimBurnett KimBurnett 7 years
The cow thing was not cute. It is as disturbing as everything else. What the hell does she want a cow for?
KimBurnett KimBurnett 7 years
The cow thing was not cute. It is as disturbing as everything else. What the hell does she want a cow for?
mnp mnp 7 years
I can't seem to understand the motivation behind putting a child into a pageant unless the child wanted to. I think it might lie in the mother's motives. Maybe they are living vicariously through their daughters?
Beauty Beauty 7 years
I know, Pixelhaze, isn't the cow thing too cute? For all of the messed-up stuff going on in pageantland, the girls kept making me smile.
fordhamalias fordhamalias 7 years
I agree with emalove that picture is straight up disturbing.
pixelhaze pixelhaze 7 years
OK i just watched the whole episode on youtube and it's sliiiightly less scary than the Living Dolls documentary I saw. And it was kind of adorable that the little girl was competing because she wanted to buy a cow :) I think my poor cold heart melted . . .
pixelhaze pixelhaze 7 years
bailaoragaditana: That's a really good point, actually, I hadn't considered thought about it like that. I do agree with you that it's different, though. The makeup in these instances is part of the costume, think about instances when the actor is playing an animal, a doll, or a child such as in the ballet The Nutcracker. Even with "normal" human roles the idea with stage makeup is to make it heavy and emphasize things like your eyebrows so that even people in the back row can make out your facial expressions. I'm not against beauty pageants at all, but I find these kiddie pageants extremely disturbing. I mean if it is kids competing, why can't they look like kids??? The fake hair, the fake teeth . . . next they'll be getting chicken cutlets to stuff in their bikini tops! I saw that docmentary Living Dolls and did anyone else notice that every single pushy pageant mom was overweight to obese? It seemed to me like a classic case of living out your dreams through your kid.
pixelhaze pixelhaze 7 years
bailaoragaditana:That's a really good point, actually, I hadn't considered thought about it like that. I do agree with you that it's different, though. The makeup in these instances is part of the costume, think about instances when the actor is playing an animal, a doll, or a child such as in the ballet The Nutcracker. Even with "normal" human roles the idea with stage makeup is to make it heavy and emphasize things like your eyebrows so that even people in the back row can make out your facial expressions. I'm not against beauty pageants at all, but I find these kiddie pageants extremely disturbing. I mean if it is kids competing, why can't they look like kids??? The fake hair, the fake teeth . . . next they'll be getting chicken cutlets to stuff in their bikini tops! I saw that docmentary Living Dolls and did anyone else notice that every single pushy pageant mom was overweight to obese? It seemed to me like a classic case of living out your dreams through your kid.
Advah Advah 7 years
Sick - and that is one creepy picture. Good point Baila, and I agree that makeup in ballet or ice-skating is part of the costume. Beauty pageant (as the name shows) is about putting the emphasis on 'beauty'. It's also completely ridiculous imo since someone's face and morphology changes SO MUCH until at least 24!
Advah Advah 7 years
Sick - and that is one creepy picture.Good point Baila, and I agree that makeup in ballet or ice-skating is part of the costume. Beauty pageant (as the name shows) is about putting the emphasis on 'beauty'. It's also completely ridiculous imo since someone's face and morphology changes SO MUCH until at least 24!
ModernGraceKelly ModernGraceKelly 7 years
How many more years is this kind of thing going to be okay? That looks like a baby she's putting makeup on! It's so obvious that the mothers are getting more out of it than the kids. Living through my child 101. It makes me literally ill that the perverts and people who abuse children, are also watching these shows. Then they go out to find real children to hurt.
Autumns_Elegy Autumns_Elegy 7 years
Personally I think every little girls dad should tell her that she's the most beautiful girl in the whole world. Having some stranger tell this little girl that she is a loser because she isn't as pretty as the winner is just going to ruin her self esteem for life. It's teaching the children that everyone judges you on how you look, that you only get far in life if you're on of the "beautiful people." I hate that philosophy and I don't think it should ever be pushed on anyone, especially kids so young. They also looks EXCEEDINGLY disturbing when they're dressed up like adult soap stars. UGH!
Latest Beauty
X