We are all familiar with the grotesque world of child beauty pageants, so popular in the United States, in which pushy stage mothers trade the childhoods of their pre-pubescent daughters for a few seconds of vicarious fame. These pageants represent the nadir of the win-at-all-costs ethos. Contestants as young as two are routinely made up like underage hookers, wedged into heels and bathing suits, have their teeth capped and skin tanned, and are forced to perform degrading rituals - including walking, turning, and walking some more - all in the name of "beauty". In fact, these children are being forced to conform to a very narrow idea of beauty, in which all flaws are proscribed. The results are not only artificial, but often downright creepy. For example:
Even more distraughtening is the new trend of junior celebrity look-alike competitions. Parents across the US, and even Australia, are dramatically altering their children's appearance in order to win large cash prizes and modelling contracts. The most hotly contended competitions are, predictably enough, those seeking look-alikes of top models, singers and actors. Yet niche competitions are becoming extremely popular. Below is a disturbing photograph of Madison Brooklyn Murgatroid-Dandelion, a four month old baby who, through liberal use of make-up, hair pieces and corrosive chemicals, won first prize at the prestigious Junior John Updike Look-Alike Competition, held in upstate New York last week.
Another innocent life ruined. How far does this abuse have to go before authorities act? These cruel practices must stop, and I beg you to write to your Member of Parliament, your Congressman, or your absolute monarch and insist that child pageants be outlawed. This is a pressing matter: as I write preparations are under way in the Sydney suburb of Kogarah for the 1st Annual Junior Clive James Look-Alike Competition. The time to act is now!