Monday, March 27, 2006

Take my daughter! No, please, take her!

As a state, Kentucky has a creepy fascination with dolling up very young girls and entering them in beauty pageants. I don't understand this at all -- why teach a four-year-old girl that there are prettier little girls out there? Can't she wait till junior high for that?

In the same vein, the Louisville Courier-Journal is running a front-page Metro story on the "cheerleading" squads competing at the JAMfest Nationals, a multi-state competition between middle school cheerleaders.

Because the photos that accompany the story are A) copyrighted by the C-J, and B) I'm not interested in running pictures of bare-midriffed nine-year-olds on my blog, I'll let you click the link if you're so inclined. If you're not, suffice it to say that the children -- the little girls who are probably going into fourth grade -- pictured in the newspaper are painted with enough makeup to supply Amsterdam's Red Light district for spring break.

Anyone who's read my blog for any length of time should know that I'm pretty libertarian in my beliefs. But that doesn't mean I'm going to bless off on parents who insist on making their daughters competitively beautiful as soon as they're out of Pampers.

It's interesting, I think, that this is the same state which has voted to overturn the Supreme Court's decision to bar the posting of the Ten Commandments in its courthouses. Oh well -- I guess "Thou Shalt Not Slut Up Thy Daughter" didn't fit onto tablets Moses brought down the mountain.

While I was sports editor, I refused to spend any time covering the local high school dance team. This caused some ire on the part of the girls' parents, but I felt justified. First, dance isn't a real sport -- and we can have that discussion later. Yes, it's athletic, but no, it isn't a sport. Second, the first time I saw the dance team perform at a varsity football game, I made a quick decision that there was no way that I was going to be seen taking photographs of 14-year-old girls shaking their bottoms to Li'l Jon tracks. Sorry -- I'm sure there are plenty of creeps out there who'd be more than happy to do that.

Even as I write this, parents across the country are worried that girls are starting to become sexually active at increasingly younger ages -- and who then drive their daughters to dance team, where the only way they're learning usable job skills would be if they plan on staffing one of the seven "Thoroughbred" strip clubs that litter the Dixie Highway.

I'm not calling for stricter government control -- what I'm asking for is some social accountability. How does it make any kind of sense that I can't listen to Opie & Anthony on FM radio thanks to parents' concern for their children's "safety," but those same parents can dress their toddling daughters up like burlesque hussies and parade them around in front of an audience full of potential pedophiles? The hypocrisy would be hilarious if it weren't so real.

It could be that I'm overly gloom and doom here. But what's the best case scenario for a girl who's placed in beauty pageants from the time the soft spot on her head is closed? As far as I can tell, she's well on her way to becoming a 16-year-old with nothing interesting to say about anything other than herself. And everyone just loves girls like that.


UPDATE: Open Post at The Mudville Gazette.
UPDATE: Open TrackBacks at Argghhh!