Thursday, August 16, 2012

"Cute Baby" Contests

Kal, giving me his "snickering" face at Church

I never worried whether my kids were going to be cute or not cute. Of course they'd be cute! Babies are cute! And my babies will be cute to me no matter what! And they're babies, for crying out loud. Does the cuteness of one baby over another say one is more worthy of love and adoration than another? I don't think babies and their cuteness factor should be pitted against each other.

"Cute Baby" contests make me uncomfortable. Beauty contests? Pageants? Stage moms? All weird me out. I cannot watch "Toddlers and Tiaras" without cringing. Something's just really messed up about the priorities of parents like that, in my opinion. But to each their own, right? Claws come out and people's true characters can be shockingly cruel and selfish and shallow. I worry about what values are being instilled in these children? But, you know, more power to them.

For a split second, I forgot about these deep-rooted feelings that I have against the competitive baby cuteness stuff. We had never before put Kal in any competitions. But I let a friend talk me into entering Kal in a "Cute Baby" contest for a summer festival they have in our city. I had my reservations and I still went because my friend thought it would just be a fun little event where we might win some prizes and if nothing else, we'd get a professional picture out of it. She was entering her daughter. Okay, okay. No big deal. The prizes were pretty cool and I'd just try it out and see how it goes. Maybe we might even win something, which would be nice... but I'm not really a fan of getting things that I didn't work for (although I wouldn't say "no"). Kal's seriously cute and so is my friend's daughter. Would it really hurt?

Ugh. I should've trusted my gut. The whole thing just reinforced in me exactly why I hate "Cute Baby" contests. I paid the fee, wasted a lot of time in a very hot room (hours) to get a very mediocre picture taken. I casually looked around at the other parents who were sizing up the other kids (their competition). I was uncomfortable right from the moment I walked in the building and was surrounded by so many people with their children in tow. I felt smothered by a feeling of greediness and entitlement. Everyone gave half-hearted smiles in greeting, because of the competition factor.

I put Kal on display for some judges. Kal decided to rebel against the whole thing, grabbed a balloon and beat one of the judges on the head with it while yelling unintelligible sounds. Awwwwesome. See? Kal knows the deal. The whole thing was a joke. They scribbled notes down until they were done with him.

We had to wait a few hours and come back later to hear the winners announced. People grumbled and didn't clap for others, and left quickly if they didn't win anything in their age group. It was very superficial and silly and made me feel crazy uncomfortable. That's the only way I could describe it. I couldn't wait to get out of there. We didn't win anything, even the random raffles (ha ha)... but even if we had, I think I'd still be embarrassed about even being there. Totally not my thing.

Smiling and waving and clapping on demand to play into the judges teaches kids to rely on their looks and how to be manipulative to get their way - that things should just be given to them because they're cute. And it teaches parents to compare their children to other people's children and be snotty or develop nasty competitive stage-mom attitudes. I didn't like it one bit and I will never do that again, no matter what the dang prize is. Never. I'm putting my foot down.

On a related note, this show makes me embarrassed to be from Georgia... only slightly (I'm real comfortable with rednecks - they feel like family - ha ha). The little girl does pageants and her crazy personality and her crazy redneck family somehow landed their own show. Have mercy. I laughed so hard, my abs hurt! - Here Comes Honey Boo Boo <-- (click to watch the first two episodes)


  1. Oh my gosh. You are like my long lost triplet. Except that even though Toddlers and Tiaras makes me cringe, I still find myself watching it. Ugh.

    1. Yeah, I watch it too! I just shake my head the whole time... but it's like a bizarre train wreck, so you have to keep watching. Those little girls look waaaay too grown up for their age! It just ain't right.


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