Another form of child trafficking?

Okay, so we all know about ‘beauty pageants’ for teeny, tiny little girls.  Who doesn’t remember JonBenet-Ramsey?  According to a GH article I just read, called Toddlers in Tiaras, by Skip Hollandsworth, JonBenet would have been 21 this year had she not been murdered when she was 6 years old.  Her killer has never been found.  But JonBenet is not the reason I’m writing this, well not the complete reason, anyway.

The GH article is very good, read it if you can.  It’s a very good profile of one little girl and her ‘rise’ to stardom.  It’s carefully done so as not to come out to harshly against these beauty pageants and the little girls and their families who take part in them.  It does, however, point a finger at the potential damage these types of pageants can do to the girls.

Little girls, 3 and 4 years old, being taught how to wink and bat their eyes provocatively, how to shake and shimmy their little bodies while dressed up as Las Vegas show girls; basically, being taught how to use their sex to get attention, get prizes and earn money. If we despise grown women who act this way, why then is it okay for an industry to be built on encouraging little girls to behave like sex objects?

These pageants have become a “$5 billion industry”, according to  Hollandsworth’s article.  While I was reading it I couldn’t help making some comparisons and asking myself some questions.  They are:

1.  This sounds like prostitution, and

2. How is this different from the sex trafficking of children in countries such as India, Thailand, China, etc.?

In poor countries it is still a common practice for girl children to be sold into brothels, or to individuals involved in the sex trade, either because they are unwanted, or because the families cannot afford to keep them.  Sometimes, it is simply a way for the family to earn some extra money; it is seen as a respectable way of managing one’s daughters.  (I have no citations for any of this, it is mostly gleaned from radio and television documentaries I have listened to and watched over the years.)

My point, though, is:  how is what pageant parents are doing to these little girls — some as young as 3 months old! — any different?  They are trafficking in and exploiting the sex of their children.  They put blush and makeup on a two-year old to make her look like a mini showgirl, they alter a five-year old’s natural beauty with false eyelashes and long flowing wigs so that she looks like high-class call girl.  Then they put them out on a stage and tell them to ‘sell it’, ‘flaunt it’, ‘show it’ and ‘bring it’ all while admonishing them to smile, smile, smile.

Every day there are disturbing reports in the media about pedophile rings, about little girls being kidnapped and sexually assaulted. We hear constantly about the men who travel abroad to take their sick pleasure in the arms of children.   And alongside those reports are the ads for clothing and makeup and accessories that encourage the sexualization of our girls.  Did you know that you can buy a push up bra for an eight year old?  Have you gone in to PINK (a young girl’s division of Victoria’s Secret) and seen some of the skanky things you can buy for an eight or ten-year old?

Even the bigger box stores like Wal Mart, Sears, JCPenny, The Bay, cater to this ‘sexy’ attitude for very young girls.  Some say it has nothing to do with sex, only about being a girlie-girl, but I really don’t think being a girlie-girl means that at age 4 a child should be wearing heels and fish-nets.  And parents who buy this crap for their children and then justify it by saying  ‘it’s what they’re wearing” and “I want her to fit in” need to have their heads examined.  You want your daughter to look like a slut?!

And, I don’t buy that old argument of women and girls should be able to wear what ever they want without fear of becoming a victim of sexual predation or assault.  In a perfect, utopian world, where no one had any kind of mental problems and people of all sexual, racial, and religious orientation were treated absolutely equal, then, I guess that statement would hold.  But, in the world we live in, the one driven by image and sex, teaching your daughter to use her looks to get ahead in life is putting her own life in jeopardy.

Anyway, the way I see it these pageant parents are no better than the people who traffic in children for sex.  They are using their little bodies for social and economic gain.  They just sugar-coat their intentions by insisting that their baby girls love the pageant life.  Meanwhile, behind their own smiles are big, fat dollar signs.

(For another look at the world of toddler beauty pageants, one that is both hilarious and cynical, check out the movie Little Miss Sunshine.   It’s wonderful.)

I tried to post some images from Google featuring 6 year-old Eden Wood, a rising ‘star’ in the toddler beauty pageant circuit.  Unfortunately, the pictures wouldn’t appear on my post.  (Don’t know what I’m doing wrong.)  If you would like to check out what I’m talking about in the post you can go to:, or, look her up on YouTube.



  1. August 23, 2011 at 9:52 am

    […] site: Another form of child trafficking?Did you like this? Share it:Tweet Posted in Mix, News, Tips and Tricks | Tags: -nbsp2011, […]

  2. granny1947 said,

    August 23, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    I am with you all the way.
    I can’t watch that sort of thing…makes me feel ill.

    • klrs09 said,

      August 24, 2011 at 8:09 am

      yes, it is completely repulsive — amazingly, though these pageants have a huge following — hence the term ‘industry’

  3. August 23, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    Horrid business: children should be allowed their childhood: it’s a basic human right.

    • klrs09 said,

      August 24, 2011 at 8:09 am

      Exactly — as much as civilization moves ahead. . .

  4. souldipper said,

    August 23, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    Hear, hear, Kath. Well said!

  5. Cindy said,

    August 24, 2011 at 3:29 am

    An excellent post, it should be outlawed.

    • klrs09 said,

      August 24, 2011 at 8:11 am

      Yes, they’ll regulate just about everything else in the name of protecting children, but not these god-awful pageants

  6. Tilly Bud said,

    August 24, 2011 at 4:35 am

    I absolutely agree with you! It amounts to child abuse as far as I’m concerned, and at the very least.

    The JonBenet case struck a chord with me when it happened, perhaps because she was the same age as my son. Tragic child.

    • klrs09 said,

      August 24, 2011 at 8:11 am

      It was very sad — and such a beautiful child — without all the makeup

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