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Australia Doesn’t Want A ‘Toddlers & Tiaras’ Culture

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University Royalty Pageant, a Texas-based organizer, is hosting a pageant in Melbourne, Australia. And not everyone is happy about it. Protesters have organized to combat the sexualization of their young girls. Even the government is getting involved, with the Children’s Safety Commissioner attending the event to make sure that the pageant does not emulate the “Toddlers & Tiaras” style of American pageants. Make-up must be limited and the event itself is more subdued.

Oddly enough, as the pageant is assuring officials how different it is from the American TV show, one of “Toddlers & Tiara’s” stars, Eden Wood, was supposed to be in the competition. Unfortunately, threats made on the youngster’s Facebook page have worried Eden’s mother and forced her to withdrawl from the pageant. No matter what one thinks about pageants, I think we can all agree that threatening a six-year is pretty abhorrent.

Limited make-up isn’t enough to placate everyone though. Anti-pageant protester Catherine Manning says, “We are very concerned that over in Northcote today, there are little girls who have been primped and preened, and waxed and spray-tanned to look like Vegas showgirls, being paraded in front of a panel of judges, to potentially be told they’re not good enough, they’re not hot enough, they’re not pretty enough…. I believe that will have an impact.”

Pageants, and the mothers that encourage them, are a touchy conversation here in the US. While the government has never considered regulating them (to my knowledge), many mothers do not agree with the practice. It makes sense that Australia’s government might want to investigate the practice before it takes hold.

So far, the officials haven’t seen anything to cause them concern. Commissioner Wendy Lovell says, “We need to have a balanced approach to these things and so far, we haven’t seen a need for regulation.” But the protesters will continue to press for more regulation. One thing is for sure, Australians are putting a lot of thought into letting their young girls compete in pageants. And a lot of thought is necessary if you’re going to submit your daughter to a competition that’s based solely on her appearance.