Welcome to a world where little girls are squeezed into controversial outfits, slathered with makeup, waxed, primped and preened within an inch of their lives and sent out to entertain judges. It's a world where looks are everything and winning is the only option. A world where mothers have been known to wax toddlers' eyebrows and give them energy drinks to help them perform better. Welcome to the world of glitz child beauty pageants.
Shows like Toddlers & Tiaras and Little Miss Perfect have brought this world right into our living rooms after the past few years and to say it's been eye-opening would be an understatement.
It's hard to understand these driven mothers and some of the choices they make for their daughters - and that's what we're going to look at today. We're going to uncover some of the most surprising things these moms do and the things that make them seem normal. Enjoy!
20 Inappropriate: Dressing Them In Questionable Outfits
We've seen it all on Toddlers & Tiaras. From tiny Madonna-style cone bras to a young girl dressed as Vivian from Pretty Woman. These little girls are too young to understand how controversial these outfits are but their moms should know better. Although that doesn't seem to be the case either.
19 Inappropriate: Making Their Daughters Wear High Heels
According to the Today Show, high heels, while they make look great, can cause long term damage to the feet and the spine. So should be forcing little feet into high heels and making them prance around? Probably not, but pageant moms do it anyway.
18 Inappropriate: Teaching Them That Looks Are Everything
One of the main criticisms of child beauty pageants (and reality shows based around them) is the message they send to the little girls who participate in them. That message is clear - the most beautiful person gets everything i.e looks are more important than kindness, intelligence, humor or anything else.
17 Normal: Encouraging Their Kids To Be Confident
Without a certain amount of confidence, it is difficult to be a successful adult. That's why activities that encourage children to put themselves out there can be valuable. Confidence is key when it comes to winning beauty pageants so at least these moms are helping their daughters build faith in themselves.
16 Inappropriate: Waxing Toddlers' Eyebrows
In a shocking 2011 episode of Toddlers & Tiaras, Chloe Stacy was forced by her mother to have her eyebrows waxed to win a beauty pageant. She eventually walked off (in tiny daisy duke shorts) with the crown but was it really worth the tears? We don't think so.
15 Inappropriate: Layering On The Makeup
In the world of child beauty pageants, there are two main categories: Glitz and Natural. Natural pageants focus on how the contestants present themselves whereas with glitz pageants the main focus is outer beauty - how pretty the contestant is or how beautiful her outfits are. So for the glitz pageants, moms aren't shy to cake their daughters' faces in makeup.
14 Inappropriate: Giving Their Daughters Energy Drinks
In a controversial 2012 episode of Toddlers & Tiaras, one of the shows most famous stars Honey Boo Boo (6 years old at the time) was given a heart-stopping mixture of Mountain Dew and Red Bull (which she called Go Go Juice) by her mother to give her energy for a big show.
13 Inappropriate: Bleaching Their Teeth & Making Them Wear Dentures For The Perfect Smile
It's not uncommon to hear stories of pageant moms spending thousands of dollars to give their daughter a picture-perfect smile. Many of the girls also use flippers; a type of removable denture that fills in missing teeth and gives them a dazzling smile. The lesson: you can't be pretty if your teeth aren't flawless.
12 Normal: They Love To Spoil Their Kids
Although we might balk at the way pageant moms sometimes behave, it's clear that most of them only want the best for their kids, even though they might sometimes have a strange way of showing it. Many pageant moms use winnings to spoil their kids and some even put it away for further education.
11 Inappropriate: Spray Tanning Their Kids (Often Way Too Much)
A glowing tan is generally considered to be a sign of beauty so when it comes to glitz child beauty pageants the race is on to see which child can sport a better tan. These moms aren't afraid to spray tan their kids - even though it always ends up looking extremely unnatural.
10 Inappropriate: Adding Unnecessary Bumps And Bulges
Little girls are not meant to have womanly curves because they are - wait for it - children. Apparently, Maddie's mom didn't quite grasp that concept when she dressed her 4-year-old daughter up as Dolly Patron during a 2011 episode of Toddlers & Tiaras- complete with padding around her chest.
9 Inappropriate: Making Young Girls Wear False Eyelashes
Not only do glitz pageant contestants need to wear thick layers of makeup if they want to compete - many moms take things to the next level by painstakingly applying false eyelashes to give their daughter a better chance. Heavy makeup is already pushing it - but false lashes for tots? Maybe that's taking it too far.
8 Normal: They Have Fun With Their Kids
In shows like Toddlers & Tiaras, there are often plenty of tears, tantrums, and angry words. But that doesn't mean that there aren't moments where we catch moms and their daughters having fun together. Playing dress-up and competing to win a prize together makes for a special bond between these moms and their little girls.
7 Inappropriate: Encouraging Plastic Surgery
What kind of message are you sending to a child when you give them plastic surgery vouchers for them to use in the future? And who would even do that? The answer: Sarah Burge, a British woman who has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on plastic surgery and now wants her poor daughter Polly to follow in her footsteps.
6 Inappropriate: Dying Their Hair (And Often Wearing Extensions)
A girl's crowning glory is, of course, her hair and when it comes to glitz child beauty pageant there's no holding back. Unlike in natural competitions where over-grooming is not encouraged, anything goes when it comes to a glitz pageant - and that's been known to include dying hair and adding extensions.
5 Inappropriate: Using Botox
No parent in their right mind would allow a child to have Botox, right? Of course not! That's why people got so riled up a few years ago when a San Francisco mom, Kerry Campbell, announced that she was getting Botox injections for her 8-year-old daughter - to help her win beauty pageants. The story turned out to be a tabloid hoax but it made us all wonder just what lengths these moms are willing to go to.
4 Inappropriate: Making Toddlers Sit For Manicures
No minor detail is overlooked by pageant moms - everything has to be perfect and that includes makeup, hair, teeth, outfit, and, of course, nails. And age doesn't seem to matter when it comes to this practice - even tiny tots get their nails manicured before pageants. Our only question is how on Earth do the moms get these kids to sit still?
3 Normal: They Stick Up For Their Family
So from what we've seen on shows like Toddlers & Tiaras and Little Miss Perfect, pageant moms can be domineering and often over the top, but there is one enduring quality that they all seem to have and that's a deep momma-bear type love for their families. They just sometimes have a funny way of showing it!
2 Inappropriate: Living Out Their Dreams Through Their Kids
Every parent believes that their child is something special (a prodigy even!) and there's nothing wrong with that. But when parents try to live out their own (unfulfilled) dreams through their children, or perhaps worse, use their children to become famous, that's when issues start to arise. Maybe mom could never be a beauty queen but now her daughter can.
1 Normal: They Devote Themselves To Their Children
We know one thing for sure about pageant moms - they are devoted to their children. Some of them go to great lengths to travel with their daughters and help them prepare for competitions, and that takes dedication. But these ladies clearly believe in their daughters and that's great to see!