I hadn’t heard of this show but I’m glad I’ve now heard of Karrin Huynh. I’m off to join this group on Facebook.
As though the hair extensions, fake eyelashes and skimpy bikinis weren’t enough, hip-grinding dance moves were the final straw for 17-year-old Karrin Huynh. But she wasn’t the one being asked to preen, dance and smile for the cameras: It was a four-year-old girl on the cable television show Toddlers and Tiaras.
Ms. Huynh, a Grade 12 student at Governor Simcoe Secondary School in St. Catharines, was so disgusted by the show that she started a Facebook group to get the show off the air. Barely a month later, the group has more than 600 members in Canada and the United States.
“It’s The Learning Channel, and it’s a family channel, so you have little kids watching this show and seeing these living dolls being paraded on stage,” she said. “And society wonders why girls have low self-esteem and low self-confidence when they’re sitting at home wondering, ‘Is this what I’m supposed to look like? Is this what I’m supposed to be?’ “
After seeing commercials for the show’s premiere, and then watching episodes posted on YouTube, Ms. Huynh started a petition to have the show removed.
A classmate, Lesley Cornelius, helped start the Facebook group, and hundreds of people became members.
One member e-mailed Discovery Communications, the media company that owns TLC, and received a thank you for the remarks, but the company didn’t address any of the group’s concerns.
“Maintaining the integrity of all of our networks is our primary goal,” reads the e-mail, from viewer relations. “It is these types of comments that contribute to creating change and improving our programming.”
Ms. Huynh said that though some feel the show is only examining, rather than glorifying, children’s beauty pageants, their minds are changed when they check out the Toddlers and Tiaras website.
There, in a feature called “Rate the beauty queens,” visitors can score photographs of pageant contestants on a scale of 1 to 10. Many have an average score of below 4.
From Kate Hammer at The Globe & Mail
The person who uploaded the videos to YouTube is from JonBenét-Ramsey.com – not affiliated with the Ramsey family and more than a little creepy.
I can’t find the Toddlers and Tiaras website referred to in the article though. If you find it, please drop a link in comments. Seems to me these little ones are at least doubly exploited – first by their parents and then by TLC.