Target: Eileen O’Neil, President of TLC
Goal: Convince TLC to offer counseling services to families who were exploited on “Toddlers and Tiaras”
In 2008, The Learning Channel started airing “Toddlers and Tiaras,” a TV show that documents the lives of toddler beauty pageant contestants and their families, despite controversy over the dangers these pageants inflict on young girls. Not only do they place most of the girls’ self-worth on how they look, but they also subject them to what some deem to be parental abuse. Many counseling opportunities exist for both the toddlers and the parents who have been damaged by these pageants. Yet, TLC decided to make a show that turns this abuse into public entertainment rather than one that offers counseling services to these young girls and their parents. Now that the show is in its final season, tell TLC to offer counseling services to families who starred on the show.
Toddler beauty pageants have many reasons for causing so much debate. Pageant contestants’ parents have been shown giving their children three Red Bulls before sending them onstage so that the young girls can be “perky” during the contest. Parents have forced their daughters to get their eyebrows waxed despite their screams of terror due to having skin ripped off from earlier waxings. The girls are told told to “flirt.” And most of them wear fake teeth, fake spray tans, fake hair and sometimes fake breasts and buttocks. All of this is forced on girls who may be as young as four years old. And it’s been made into television entertainment one night a week for Americans.
It would be difficult to cover the scope of how all of these actions could dangerously damage a girl’s self-esteem in a single petition. There are the questions raised as to how parents could allow their daughters to go through this form of sexualization and exploitation. With so much controversy over the possible damage these pageants can cause to young girls, it’s unfathomable that TLC still decided to make such a show about it.
TLC should be ashamed of itself for using what many would call “abuse” of young girls as an opportunity to make profit. Sign this petition and demand TLC show a little Tender Loving Care to young girls by offering counseling services to the families who starred on the show.
Dear Eileen O’Neil,
For the last four years, you have been allowing toddlers to be exploited on your show “Toddlers and Tiaras,” spinning it as entertainment for Americans. Despite witnessing firsthand the abuse these girls were going through, you still decided to air the show, not only watching it yourselves, but also allow Americans to watch it for entertainment.
Testimonials from former toddler pageant contestants have confirmed that these pageants have caused some of them severe emotional, physical and mental damage. Yet, despite knowing the damage toddler pageants can cause, you still allowed them to go on without offering help to the girls and their abusive parents.
Since the show is in its final season, it’s too late to change the format of the show from one that exploits this abuse into one that tries to heal it. Now it’s your turn to give back to the families who helped make profits for your network. We ask you to offer counseling services to the families who starred on your show.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: sodahead.com