Honey Boo Boo is a no-no in land of cancan

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The evidence of the damage done by premature sexualization is apparent in the dysfunctional lives of young stars like Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan and Miley Cyrus. A report by the American Psychological Association says that sexuality that is imposed on someone, rather than undertaken by choice, is de facto exploitation. Certainly there isn’t a 3-year-old in the world who decides on her own to fling on a boa and prance down a runway in a beaded evening gown.

Critics of pageants say this isn’t about the fun of dressing up. Playing dress-up doesn’t result in one winner and many losers. And who’s to say whether a 4-year-old is participating in a pageant of her own volition or to please a parent?

Lucia Grosaru wrote in Everyday Psychology, “Contests promote physical beauty as a main value . . . A child, especially a female that is going to pay so much attention to her looks and knows she is being judged for it, is very prone to developing eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia.”

A story in the Mirror of London featured Isabella Barrett, a 6-year-old millionaire who amassed a fortune for her family by winning beauty pageants. The money was parlayed into a jewelry line that has laid a golden egg. Isabella’s mother, Susanna, says she isn’t a pushy mother, but she does admit to wondering whether she has created this empire for herself or her child.

The child, who looks like a miniaturized Margaret Thatcher with a fake tan and a head of blond ringlets, says of herself, “I’m a superstar, I have my own jewelry line and I just love being the boss. I never lose at anything, and almost every pageant I enter, I win. But what I love more than anything is shoes. I have over 60 pairs.” Who wouldn’t be proud?

Her mother actually says of the jewelry empire, “She picks the designs for the bracelets, helps with the shipping . . . She is definitely the brainchild behind the company.” I’m inclined to believe that Isabella is the intellectual heavyweight of the family. Is Mom suggesting the kid drives a forklift?
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