Stage Dads: ‘Toddlers & Tiaras’ Just Got Creepier

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As if mothers lacquering their toddlers faces with makeup and teasing out their hair wasn’t scary enough. Enter “stage dads,” fathers who are completely committed to the pageantry circuit and making sure their little girl is number one.

In this video on Good Morning America, stage dads are interviewed on what makes a daddy’s presence in a daughter’s life so special. Being “daddy’s little girl,” is offered by default, with a particular nod to the innocence, complacency, and glamor inherit in having daughters.

What’s gross about the stage dads narrative is that it mimics a paternal exploitation of little girls. Whether sewing costumes, organizing dance routines, or doing makeup, fathers actively participating in the sexualization of their daughters is an unsettling image. It’s lovely of course to see fathers taking an interest in the hobbies of their kids, especially considering how hands out some of the featured dads are. But the blatant objectification of the little girls casts the fathers not as involved parents — just inappropriate.

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