I have a wonderful friend with two beautiful daughters, twins. One was a collegiate basketball player, the other wanted to do pageants. They came to me asking for help because I was in the arts and dance, and must just know about such things! WRONG!!
But I did try to help Ginger, who was a lovely, sweet girl with an outgoing but definitely refined presence. Back then, I did know a person who did serious pagent work because my daughter's ballet company had a dancer who was actually Miss Georgia. It was pretty high level and classy for pagents anyway. I put them in touch.
As a result, my little friend went on the pagent circuit in north Georgia, and I went with her Mom, shielding my eyes and ears along the way. I had never allowed my daughter to watch Miss America because I just didn't like women being judged simply for their looks. (I refuse to address the "talent" aspect of this event...) And there's no way in hell I believe all that "scholarship" junk, because now I know a ton of girls who did pagents, and the clothes alone ate up any kind of college money you got, not to mention the coaching and field of experts you would help you "win" if you were going to be competitive at all.
To make a long story short, I was appalled at most of the pagents-small, county type events but part of the Miss America franchise. These poor girls would get up and bellow a song, totally off key and awful, and the entire audience would cheer. I guess it was pretty harmless and made them feel good. But unless you had a stake in knowing one of them, it was an ordeal to watch.
My snobbery took a turn, however, when I was asked to judge the pagent for the town I live in, also a Miss America pagent. I didn't want to, but I owed someone a favor, and I went.
Here's what changed my mind. There was no way any of the girls I "judged" were ever going to make it to the Miss America pagent. I was just hoping the experience got them better prepared to interview for college and/or a good job.
What the experience did for them had nothing to do with glitzy clothing, poofy hair, or anything beyond the bare basics that a rural town girl could manage. But what they did learn was how to present themselves to strangers in a comfortable and pleasant way. They learned good posture. They learned how important it is to get an education and have a "platform" which meant doing good for other people. In all, I found this a healthy and positive thing for some very sweet and lovely, and very unglamorous girls whom I came to love. I wound up judging the pagent three times and always came away feeling like I had been blessed somehow by some very real, genuine, and aspiring young women who might never be pageant material, but who grew and became more confident during the process.
So I ate crow about SOME pageants. It's like many things-a very complex subject. I abhor any kind of pageant that encourages participants of any age under the very oldest to dress, wear hair and makeup, and present themselves as something out of a very base music video. Just nasty. But there are other types of pageants that I think can be ok.
Whilst I do live T&T as a guilty pleasure, I dont see the point of pageants. You can teach your kids to have good posture and be pleasant just by being mindful when raising them. It seems like a lot of money to outlay, when they aren't really learning any skills other than walking/smiling/posing etc.
I was refering to the Miss America "scholarship pageant" system. I really don't know enough about it to say truly whether or not a girl can successfully compete and get scholarship money and come out the other side with enough to actually use towards her education. As a marketing professional, I am sure enough have done this for the "system" to be able to say it works. I do have lots of firsthand knowledge that pageants on a higher level are VERY expensive to be in if you want to really compete-be that "polished contestant" with all the right clothes, grooming, answers, and etc. It takes a lot of money. I'm no expert. Just a brush with the whole thing in a minor market where the girls were poor but earnest.
The mother's on T&T are paying a average of $5000 for their clothes. And a entry fee of about $300. Plus the cost of a hotel, meals, gas, etc. Some contests just give out crowns and certificates, Some give out about $200 or $300 to the winner.
So there is not way to come out ahead in this game.
These "kiddlie" pageants are for the gratification of the mothers/parents/grandparents alone.
The other beneficiaries those who receive the "entry fees".
One of the women had made enough money in the "talent" portion of the local and state pageants (she was a piano major) to pay for almost all of her college education. The other used pageant scholarship for a big chunk of her tuition. They were very aware of the difference between the Miss USA pageant which they looked down on because there was no "scholarship" money awarded for talent, and MIss America. (This was a number of years ago before Miss USA became big and Miss America was moved to cable).
One of the women worked part time as a major Princess character at Disneyland and had been selected as the Disneyland Ambassador.The Ambassador job involved escorting VIPs when they came to tour the park and making public appearances on behalf of Disney, and she definitely felt that her pageant experience gave her a comfort making speeches and meeting people that she wouldn't have had otherwise.
I don't think either of them had done very young kid pageants, but they had started in mid/younger teens.
"The Devil is joining in, and that's never a good sign." Phil Liggett
JMHO. I guess what I'm trying to say is that T&T is horrendous, some pageants are tacky, some might actually be an environment for some young women to grow. I don't think it's fair to judge all of them by T&T. Once upon a time I would have done so. But i was wrong. I admit it.
Geez, I remember going to a couple of the Miss [Hometown] pageant while I was in high school, and it was amateur to the max - one year, one of the contestants decided on "acting" for her talent and didn't have time to learn the lines for the monologue she chose. So she staged it at a dinner table and put the script on the table in the shadow of a flower bouquet, so she could look at the lines when she forgot them
And this was pretty typical of the level of talent. But even though it was very amateur, it was at least tasteful. Unlike the pageants in T&T.
Last edited by overedge; 08-20-2011 at 08:25 PM. Reason: fixed typo
You should never write words with numbers. Unless you're seven. Or your name is Prince. - "Weird Al" Yankovic, "Word Crimes"
I dislike all forms of pageants. Even if they provide scholarship money, I don't think the ends justify the means: I don't like the idea of women earning scholarships that are due, even in part, to their appearance.
I'll be over here, weeping for humanity.
"Beautiful things don't ask for attention." -The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
I was actually watching a T&T rerun last night and there was a 4 year old dressed up as Dolly Parton, complete with fake boobs and a fake booty. I usually don't have a problem with T&T but that went too far. That wasn't ok. The judges loved it though.
If the parent had chosen to dress the kid as Julia Roberts's character post-makeover, that would have been somewhat tasteful. But dressing her as the pre-makeover hooker? That is so wrong on so many levels.
That said, dressing a 3 year old like a hooker is gross. Bad parenting.
I don't approve of this, but, I do think it could be a case of the original meaning of something getting lost in pop culture.
Maybe the outfit is meant to look like Julia Roberts' character more than a hooker. Yes, she was portraying a prostitute, but in a very candied version that made her more of a fairy tale character - a heroine - than dealing with the realities of prostitution. The movie is a romantic comedy after all.
Another example might be the favourite childhood song/dance of Ring Around the Rosy. Millions of children have joined hands and danced around singing this song; I know I did. What many don't realize is that the song is about the plague, and when they "all fall down" they are recreating the horrible deaths of tens of thousands of people. I don't think too many people give parents or teachers a hard time about teaching little kids that song/dance, and when its real meaning is pointed out, I think most just consider it interesting and carry on.
Perhaps Julia's character is going that way - remembered as a modern day fairytale princess more than a hooker.