Beauty pageant stories are nothing new. The “trend” itself is something you either really like or dislike.
While I don’t care for the kid pageants, I admit that I will sit through a Miss America or Miss Universe show if I happen to catch it on TV.
But there were all kinds of new — and creepy — factoids that I picked up in this Salon article by Amanda Fortini. For example, I did not know that children as young as 6 sported fake teeth to mask their baby teeth. Or that the child pageant industry is a $5 billion-dollar-a-year money maker. Here is more from the Salon article:
The little faces spackled with makeup, the hair poufed and shellacked, the fake tans, fake teeth (called “flippers,” they mask baby teeth), fake nails and, often, fake smiles — all of it seems so jarring on toddlers and tweens. Looking at these pictures, shot by Los Angeles-based fashion photographer Susan Anderson and recently published in a book called “High Glitz: The Extravagant World of Child Beauty Pageants,” you can’t help feeling unsettled. The mind knows these are very young girls, and yet the eerie effect of all the cosmetics and correctives is to create the illusion of child-women far older than their actual years. Several seem to be on the cusp of middle age, as though they should be shaking a martini rather than twirling a baton. The mind keeps mentally adjusting, attempting to square the disjunction between tiny bodies and unnaturally mature faces. “Freaky,“ said a man standing back to examine the photos at the Los Angeles opening. “It’s not right.”
….Anderson’s main interest lies in the “High Glitz” aesthetic — the excessive makeup and Elvis-in-Vegas spangled outfits — wherein more is always better, and the trendy hairstyle of the season might be inspired by that year’s special-edition Barbie.
You have got to see the photo in the article. The 7-year-old girl, “Alex,” really did look like Barbie. Shudder.