Quick Hit: Do not adjust your sets

This is a real six year old. Needless to say most six year olds don’t look like this.

More on this from Pavlov’s Cat here and here.

I just don’t get it.

Categories: culture wars, gender & feminism, media, parenting

Tags: , ,

21 replies

  1. Am I supposed to be freaked out about how plastic she looks? I’m sure it’s all in the photoshopping and light, etc., but even her eyes look moulded, not organic.

  2. There’s a fashion in the US for “Living Doll” portraits of little girls – the pics are photoshopped to make them look as if it’s a doll version of the child with flawless skin, perfectly glossy hair and those big sparkling eyes.

  3. That’s… far from reassuring. That there’s enough of a market for it to be considered a fashion tells me a lot more than I ever wanted to know about the apparent social acceptability of objectifying children.

  4. Here’s a photographer’s website advertising retouching for pageant shots – you can specify whether you want the retouching to be “Natural”, “Full Glamour” or “Over the Top Glitz” and if you scroll down you can see before and after shots for some of the kids’ shots.
    It’s a requirement for some pageants, and from there it seems to have grown to become more common in portraits that are just for people in the family, too.

  5. It’s a long bow, but I wonder if it has anything to do with the cost of living in the US. Maybe if the parents didn’t have to save so much for university, or insurance, they wouldn’t have to find halfway acceptable paid employment for their children. Or maybe all the bad photoshopping and fake feathers are all really expensive and it’s some sort of weird status thing. I don’t get it either.

  6. Is it wrong that I can imagine that hanging in a modern art gallery as a terrifying commentary on contemporary hyperfemininity? Context, it seems, is everything.

  7. There are some artists who have done some very interesting/disturbing work with models as living dolls. I’m not sure all of them know exactly what they want to say with it though.

    Living Dolls

    Children as Dolls

  8. There’s a fashion in the US for “Living Doll” portraits of little girls
    Because it’s never too early to start teaching girls that women aren’t quite real people. Gugh.

  9. It’s a long bow, but I wonder if it has anything to do with the cost of living in the US. Maybe if the parents didn’t have to save so much for university, or insurance, they wouldn’t have to find halfway acceptable paid employment for their children.

    I’m in the U.S., and I actually do think that’s part of it. In the same way that some lower-income parents push their boys into sports because they can be a “ticket out” of poverty (never mind the potential for injury and ignored schoolwork), I think some lower-income parents see their girl’s looks as a similar ticket out, whether for the girl or the parents I’m not sure.
    I doubt that’s the motivation for all the parents participating, but from what I’ve seen of the various horror-producing reality shows about toddler pageants, it does seem to be a factor.

  10. I get so appalled by things like this, esp when i know the Hbomb will find that picture adorable. She wouldn’t sit still long enough to even start and that get up wouldn’t last 5 minutes at our house, but still i get tickle of fear that she, or Sherbet, will want to embark on a gig like that. We have baby beauty pageants at our local shopping centre, and some of the shopkeepers give me a gentle push every now and then to enter the girls and i shudder.
    I’m with the making money idea, i know childhood is socially constructed and i see behaviour like this echoing Jane Eyre and Petronius so it is not new or just a US thing. But still it seems such a brutal way to make some dough.

  11. First things first, I love Helen’s LOLCATS image, I love the image Mindy chose to use to illustrate this piece and also, I like Amazing Kim’s theory.
    I find this child beauty pagaent thing really really really icky but there is definitely some classism in all the criticism and ridiculing it cops. And I do wonder if some of this stuff about paedophiles being at these events in such numbers is a bit of an urban legend. I have also heard of paedophiles collecting videos of girl gymnast events at the Olympic Games but there isn’t the same level of disgust at parents for encouraging their children into that pursuit.

  12. @bluemilk
    I didn’t want to use an image of a living child and using an image of JonBenet Ramsay seemed like really poor taste. Luckily there was someone out there who thought the same and I borrowed their image.
    I suspect you may be correct about the urban myth. No doubt they have caught the odd one in the past, but in these days of youtube it is likely that most of them who like this type of thing just find it with a quick internet search.

  13. So after i wrote above the Hbomb came home with a birthday party invite to hairdressing party room.

  14. Please tell me there’ll be both girls and boys at the party?

  15. The Hbomb said that the Birthday girl’s childcare boyfriend has been invited, i don’t know about the kinder boyfriend tho. The birthday girl’s three year old brother has not been invited.

  16. How do you not invite the child’s own sibling? My kids would be mortified if they weren’t invited to each other’s parties. Even when it was just a cake at daycare I’d try to make sure the other one was there to sing happy birthday and get a bit of cake.

  17. I’m not sure Mindy, (and i really ought to say that most of my info is coming from a 4& a 1/2 yo) but on past performance this family will have a second party at home for the extended family. I should also add that the brother is not adverse to things like this, loves getting his toenails painted and such.
    I’ve seen a bit of the two party polka lately, The Hbomb has been to a couple of parties at play centres and the like, in the last 8 months, that have been almost entirely children, after one the birthday girl’s mother was all resigned exhaustion “Well, off to the next party, hope mum is ready”. I didn’t enquire, but i took it mean that it was the family’s turn to get cake.

  18. Tig-tog – I agree, the title is horrid. I meant the video it’s self. I think it just highlights how ridiculous the whole thing is. The audience’s horrified expressions. The way the slower speed exaggerates the toddler’s “sexy” movements. Everything about it is terrible, and if you don’t laugh you cry.

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