At least my parents never entered me in a pageant.

I watched the first episode of Showbiz Moms & Dads (mostly because 24 was pre-empted), and came away reassured in my belief that most parents are control freaks who have no idea what's really good for their kids. (One of the reasons I'm in no rush to have kids is that I know it would mean associating with other parents, and I don't want to spend eighteen years associating with control freaks.) The child pageant scene circuit still freaks me out.

I can accept that there are young children who like to dress up and perform; so if Mom and Dad want to enter their little princess in a hometown contest, that sound reasonable to me. When you start taking a four-year old on tour so she can perform in a dozen pageants a year, however, things are getting weird. I don't know if four- and five-year olds should be devoting that much of their time to anything -- those early years are the ones where kids should be exposed to different things so they can figure out which ones they really like. Pageant parents seem determined to program their toddlers for just one thing, and it's a creepy, objectivizing objectifying thing to boot.

Anyway, there's an article in the St. Petersburg Times this week about the parents complaining that the TV show makes them look bad. They all insist they wouldn't have participated in the show if they had know they could be portrayed negatively. Yeah, right. Like stage parents are known for never making bad decisions....

Posted at 11:26:49 PM EDT on 15 April 2004 from Trenton, MI