Most weekends I try to spend at least some time just relaxing in front of the telly. And every weekend I find myself bolt upright and watching perhaps one of the most bizarre and scary things that I have ever come across in my life. Try as I may, I am drawn to this thing as a moth to a flame. I know that no good will come from it, but I cannot help myself. I am spellbound.
What I am referring to is yet another American cultural export that seems to be taking the world –god forbid-by storm. It is the toddler pageantry.
The show goes something like this: a bunch of American women, presumably all of them housewives have an over-active desire to relive their adolescence vicariously through their (girl) children. The children inevitably are real brats who believe that they are special because “mommy” is spending all her time training them to, like obedient lap dogs, learn a routine which consists of shaking their little buts at the audience, swinging their hips and behaving in sexualised behaviour that will make any self-respecting person blush with shame.
The children are taught that nothing is as important as beauty and the beauty that is promoted is unreal and creepy to say the least. First there is the investment in a range of outfits, all bejewelled and expensive. Then the petulant, rude and sugar stimulated brats are preened for the show. They are spray tanned until they look like over-roasted little chickens, then the hair is done up so that these poor chicken children look like their little necks might snap under the weight of all their real and false hair.
Next comes makeup which is liberally plastered in the little faces, with fake eye lashes, which has the effect that the toddlers are transformed into cheap imitation 1980s southern belles. Obsessed as American culture seems to be with straight white teeth, fake teeth are glued into their mouths, for shame on that child who may show a gappy mouth. The children are trained, but probably also threatened to – at all times – flash a broad smile that easily can cause severe clamping of the jaws and which must be excruciating. But also the smiles are fake as everything else on that child.
But the most disturbing thing is the performances themselves. For here you have little girls between the ages 3 and (let’s say) 10, who have been taught to ooze sex and sexiness. Of course, they will never call it that – it is called sparkle. These little girls get on the stage and strut their hip swinging, butt-wiggling, kiss blowing little routines in the belief that they are doing something extraordinary, or that they are displaying girls’ talent.
The mothers usually off stage energetically coax the child into the nightclub routines by pouting, strutting, and wiggling for their children to imitate. The children, possibly the mothers, think they are talented, whereas they are nothing but conditioned little animals, convinced in a cut-throat manner that they alone are the bestest and the mostest. There is no empathy and no sympathy with the competition who, if they could have, would have been obliterated. These little girls believe with all their hearts that they personally are the ultimate supremes and that they have talent because they can shake their booties. Whatever real talent these little children may have in their little souls and their little bodies was killed I am sure and replaced with an obsessive need to be beautiful in that on-the stage manner that they were taught by their mothers. As soon as it becomes evident that they are not beautiful enough will try and live their lives’ dreams through their own toddlers.
Let us hope that this “culture” never catches on in Africa and that our daughters are safe from this mindless, commercialised cattle-show mentality that is being imposed on these poor little toddlers.