Pardon me while I rant incessantly: Foregoing innocence

With very few exceptions, reality television is a cesspool of everything that’s wrong with the moral compass of society.

Feeling guilty about how messy your house is? Just watch Clean House or Hoarders. Comparatively speaking, your home is a showplace.

Wondering if your consumption of Diet Coke borders on addiction? At least you don’t secretly eat the stuffing out of sofa cushions or find yourself unable to communicate with people without the use of a puppet like the folks on My Strange Addiction.

Think your daughter’s wedding day expectations are unreasonable? Just watch an episode or two of Say Yes to the Dress, Whose Wedding is it Anyway?, Bridezillas, or the mother of all bad bridal shows, Bridalplasty:

The show follows 12 engaged women who are competing for the wedding of their dreams and their dream plastic surgery procedure. Each woman must complete a plastic surgery wish list and complete wedding-themed challenges in order to win the surgery of her choice. The winner of the week’s challenge gets one plastic surgery procedure from her wish list.

The winner of the competition will get a wedding of her dreams and multiple plastic surgeries from her wish list. The husband will not see his fiancee until the wedding day, when the bride reveals her new look. (Source: Wikipedia)

Regardless of how base and degrading your behavior may be, thanks to reality television, you can always find someone whose actions are more base and degrading than your own. Hurray for you!

And while I can largely ignore or make light of most of this nonsense, there’s something especially disturbing when the subjects of these shows are children.

Enter the world of baby beauty pageants seen through the lenses of the creators of Toddlers and Tiaras. My personal opinions aside about pageants in general and children’s pageants in particular, I know there are some contests for kids where glamourous make-up and costumes are not only not discouraged, but not allowed. I suppose these contests are the lesser of two evils, but I still think it sends the wrong message to the children involved.

Recently, a four-year old contestant made the national news when she appeared in a Dolly Parton costume complete with big hair, fake boobs and a padded butt. I considered posting her picture here, but then I suppose I would just be adding to the circus. When she appeared on Fox News with her mother,  her mother said she was surprised at all the outrage over this costume. “It was a theatrical costume (she wore) for 90 seconds.” When asked about charges of sexualizing young children, the mother replied: “There are people who are going to take everything to an extreme, but at the same time, people have Facebook posts that are 10 to 15 (years old) and all of their friends in bathing suits running around taking sexualized pictures, but because this has been brought into the national news spotlight people feel like they have to jump on it and correct me, when there’s other things going on on a daily basis that are so much more concerning.”


Thank you for restating my original argument. People can justify their own actions because there’s always someone taking things further than you are. Those are the people that really need to be stopped.

People like the subject of the latest outrage stemming from Toddlers and Tiaras–a three-year old whose mother recreated Julia Robert’s prostitute character in Pretty Woman. Yeah, this one:

I’m not terribly concerned about how shows like this will effect my 10 year old daughter, because the only time we ever watched it together she was as disturbed by it as I was. My concern is for the little girls and boys involved in these shows.

Many of their parents will argue that most of the time their kids are just that–kids. What they may not be considering is the fact that their kids get the lion’s share of attention when they’re strutting around looking like adult beauty queens. I suppose I’ll buy the argument that many of these tiny beauty queens think the pageants are fun, even though the frequency and voracity of the tiny temper tantrums on that show leave me less than convinced. I’m less inclined to believe they enjoy being spray tanned, wearing painful hairpieces and false teeth over their own called flappers.

The message? You are a beautiful child, just not beautiful enough without all the extras. This is the wrong kind of attention. And it’s not okay.

As much as all the primping and yes, sexualization of children on this show bothers me, what bothers the most is that these little girls and boys most likely think people watch them with admiration, when in reality most view the show for what it is: a freak show.

A big, money-making freak show.


This post is part of the One Word at a Time Blog Carnival: Innocence, hosted by my friend Peter Pollock. To read more on this topic, please visit him at

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22 Responses to “Pardon me while I rant incessantly: Foregoing innocence”

  1. Peter P September 5, 2011 at 6:07 pm #


    Did you read that list of procedures the bride wanted?

    A GUM reduction? Toe Shortening? Inner KNEE liposuction.

    Oh for goodness sake.

    And many people don’t think this culture is messed up….

    • katdish September 5, 2011 at 6:42 pm #

      Wanna know something REALLY disturbing? That’s her BEFORE picture if I’m not mistaken. That woman needs a nose job? Really?

    • Jason Stasyszen September 6, 2011 at 7:04 pm #

      Okay, that was my question too. What the h-e-double-hockey-sticks is “inner knee liposuction”? That’s the craziest thing I’ve heard in a long time. As for the toddlers and tiaras thing, it makes me sick to my stomach to watch it for any length of time, but I do still laugh when Joel McHale makes fun of it on the Soup. 🙂

  2. Candy September 5, 2011 at 7:18 pm #

    And the suspicious-looking mole is the last thing on her list?? She wants the fat sucked out of her knees first? I’m sure there are some good and funny shows on TV these days, but catching glimpses of those weird reality shows is enough to get me to turn off the TV and pick up a good book. Yikes.

    • katdish September 5, 2011 at 7:20 pm #

      Ha! Yeah, I noticed the priority of the suspicious mole, too.

      • Peter P September 6, 2011 at 6:14 pm #

        The mole’s not plastic surgery though. My Doctor just chopped mine off with a quick swipe of his scalpel…. he maybe even paused long enough to give me a local first!

  3. OpinionsToGo September 5, 2011 at 7:25 pm #

    Corporate America is sponsoring these shows because they have a
    “Fan Base” but, we can always hope that everybody wakes up and
    tires of them…like…John and Kate plus 8 minus 1…that show
    has been cancelled…1 down and a whole bunch to go!

    PS…It’s “flipper” not “Flapper!”

    • katdish September 5, 2011 at 7:29 pm #

      Flipper, flapper…tomato, tomotto…

      Whatever. It’s creepy.

  4. Steph September 5, 2011 at 8:21 pm #

    Have you seen Dance Moms? It takes little girls dressing like a stripper and adds in dancing like one. Pole dance moves done by a 10 year old = GAH.

  5. Jason September 5, 2011 at 10:28 pm #

    In the late 90s, I went to a conference in Atlanta at a hotel where one of these little beauty pageants was being performed. They were parading these poor little girls around in the lobby and I saw at least half a dozen men standing around watching the action. It made me want to throw up.

  6. Drusilla Mott September 6, 2011 at 8:44 am #

    How many small children actually understand what is going on and really want to participate in the madness? Makes you kinda wonder what the parent’s childhood was like to push their kids into stuff like this.

  7. Jeff September 6, 2011 at 9:31 am #

    I’ve seen very little of this show. For some reason, Sarah’s aunt enjoys it. She’s a normal, nice lady, and it seems like it should offend her like the rest of us. We stay with her when we go home, so the one time it was on, I took my book and went to the bedroom to read. Poor Sarah had no book to read, and didn’t want to enjoy her gracious host of an aunt, so she had to see a couple episodes.

  8. Lisa notes... September 6, 2011 at 9:42 am #

    I’m right there ranting with you. I hate these kinds of shows and what they’re doing to the people involved and to those who watch them, even just for “entertainment.” Aren’t there better ways to use time and talents?

    Thanks for sharing.

  9. Annie K September 6, 2011 at 10:58 am #

    Precisely why I avoid tv. Too much crap. And who needs more crap in their life.

  10. nancy September 6, 2011 at 11:11 am #

    you are right…we all like to believe that we can justify ourselves by pointing our fingers as someone comparatively worse in our eyes. good reminder about the trap of using comparison in this way.

  11. Helen September 6, 2011 at 12:04 pm #

    I considered leaving a sarcastic comment about how hideous the bride is that of course she wants her toe shortened, I mean, like, who wouldn’t? Isn’t it obvious from that picture that she needs her toe shortened! Then, I realized that their is a one in a million chance she could wind up here seeing her picture, and actually believe I mean it.
    It is so sad that even the most beautiful people don’t think they are good enough. So very sad…

  12. Larry Meredith September 7, 2011 at 5:21 am #

    There use to be a time when bad behavior brought consequences, now bad behavior wins prizes. 25 years ago we were told when TV got 500 channels the quality of programming would improve and we’d have more choices. Yeah, right, that happened! I dread to consider the fan base of “toddlers and Tiaras”.


  13. Lynn Mosher September 7, 2011 at 10:25 am #

    Oh, Kat, I am with you! I hate all these so-called reality shows. Reality? In whose mind? I saw the news about that 3 year-old. It is so sad that kids can no longer be *innocent* children. It gets sucked out of them by so-called *adults*! Great post as always, Kat!

  14. Hazel Moon September 7, 2011 at 6:07 pm #

    Keep up the ranting; it is much more entertaining than watching TV. There are a LOT of sick people in this world, and these TV shows with the participants and the audience also is out there proving that fact. I have never seen these shows and do not want to, but I believe every word you have stated here.

    Thanks Kat again for ranting!

  15. Jake September 13, 2011 at 7:45 am #

    “People can justify their own actions because there’s always someone taking things further than you are.” Enough said.

  16. Alyssa Santos September 13, 2011 at 3:44 pm #

    Oh, my inner knees have been the bane of my existence! Now I know there’s hope for someone like me!
    Just kidding. But actually, it’s the hope we all chase — a hope to be accepted, approved, better than…. but it’s a cheap substitute.
    My kids, like yours, are disturbed by these shows too, but only because they have the moral compass of the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Our culture is sadly bereft of this compass and therefore any and all things are useful for entertainment, no different than a circus side freak-show, only it cost’s more than the price of admission.


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