Since it first aired in 2009, TLC’s “Toddlers & Tiaras” has been one of the most controversial and most watched programs not only on the network itself but amongst shows on all networks. There have been countless parodies on the show and it’s outlandish procedures of taking fresh-faced young girls and their delights in playing dress up and taking it to an unbelievable level. To hope to stand any chance amongst competitors, the youngest of girls and boys alike must consider spray tanning, wigs, heels, caked on make-up and excruciating talent routines to showcase on stages in Beauty Pageants across America.
Despite the controversy, TLC is showing no sign of sacking a show which has brought in ratings that can’t be topped. Mothers across America have been angered seeing other mothers dress up their young toddlers with false eyelashes and false nails and pressure them into spending hours a day on learning perfect dance routines at the hope of another sash or crown. In 2011 there was particular outrage over a mother who took the talent portion of competitions too far by dressing her daughter up as Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman”.
Another mother dressed her young girl up as Madonna from the early days complete with a gold coned bra which outraged many Americans as well as they delved into issues such as the sexualization of children.
While many have argued that causing such young children to dress and act this way robs them of their childhood, many parents involved in such pageants suggest that the activity is no different from typical sports as hobbies and other competitive endeavors and that participating in these pageants improves their children’s self esteem.
With 2011 seeming like the year of the youthful beauty pageant, TLC has already begun the lineup for a fresh season of “Toddlers & Tiaras” Season 4 beginning right away in January. Viewers can follow contestants as they compete in the “Precious Moments Pageant 2011″ and in the “Lollipops and Gumdrops Pageant” which surely include plenty of sashes and gowns full of glitz. Episodes air on Wednesdays on TLC at 10/9c.