Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Teen Girls Take On TLC's "Toddlers and Tiaras"

By way of Strollerderby, a very cool story about some intrepid Canadian teens who are trying to have Toddlers and Tiaras, a disturbing TLC reality television show about - you guessed it - toddler beauty pageants and the deeply troubling parents and industries involved in putting them on. High school students Karrin Huynh and Lesley Cornelius, of St. Catharines Ontario, were so disturbed by the show and its underlying messages about girls/children they decided to launch a campaign to have it banned from (Canadian? North American?) television, by way of a Facebook group called "Help to ban the show Toddlers and Tiaras". Here's an excerpt from Hannah Tennant-Moore's Strollerderby post:
"The high school seniors started a Facebook campaign to ban the show, arguing that it sexualises children as young as two and encourages paedophilia. The group quickly attracted close to 5,000 members.

TLC has defended the show, saying they are simply depicting—“from an objective and unfiltered perspective”—something that 100,000 kids take place in each year. For someone like me, who watches the show knowing that toddler beauty pageants are disgusting, the show may appear objective in that it succeeds only in making me even more disturbed by them."

Tennant-Moore also provides a link to an actual clip of the show, featured on Jezebel, which is not only disturbing but pretty infuriating. I'm feeling more and more that the UN's needs to broaden and formalize its condemnation of using children for reality television programming, unless strict guidelines are followed in ensuring the shows respect children's rights and dignity. For example, last fall, a UN report on child welfare in the UK warned that the use of "distressed" children in reality shows such as Supernanny could harm their rights, and that these shows "may "constitute an unlawful interference with their privacy" and that the media had to act further to protect children in such shows" (as quoted in the October 4, 2008 edition of The Herald).

A big kudos(!) to Huynh and Cornelius for bringing this show and important issue to public attention.

If you want to learn more about their efforts, you can check out (or join) their Facebook Group, or read some of the original news coverage of the campaign over at the Niagara Falls Review.


Izzy Neis said...

Hey lady!

I thought you might find this interesting:

Anonymous said...

I love watching the kids they are so sweet. It would be a lot better if you showed more of them and not so much the parents. Yes they are funny BUT let us see more of the children. I don't watch it so I can watch 3/4 of parents and friends directing and dancing. TOOOOO MUCCCH on adults. Getting the kids ready is one thing - that is where it should be but not when the children are going on stage... Kids much cuter and more fun to watch....

Anonymous said...

If a child does not want to do it they shouldn't be made to. It can damage their desire to model. What fun is it when you HAVE to do it because that is what your parents want. The poor little kid is in tears.. At times I think it should be Toddlers and Tears. Kids being feed flavored sugar, soda etc to get them hyped up.