I deliberately try to hide under a rock and avoid all things news related. There are a multitude of reasons for this, but mostly it’s because every time I poke my head out of my proverbial hole, I wind up shaking it so hard in disappointment with humanity that I give myself whiplash. Unfortunately, since I love social networking so much, it’s difficult to avoid some of the more terrifying stories.
I have been seeing glimpses in my various news feeds about the “Botox Mom” and my curiosity bested me.
I hate you.
Child pageantry is nothing new, as long as there are cute babies and competitive parents there will be child pageants. The competitive nature of humanity is no different in the realm of superficiality than it is in athletics, academics or the Jones’s and we will spare no extreme in our efforts to win. Extremes such as injecting your 8 year old daughter with Botox.
The child’s mother insists that the young girl wanted the injections since she had seen her mother do it, but I fail to see the justification in indulging an 8 year old’s whims. I admit I am not a parent, but I can’t see how any responsible adult would allow a child to partake in unnecessary facial injections to cure wrinkles. What 8 year old has wrinkles!? How is a child’s perception so skewed that she sees anything but innocence when she looks in the mirror?
When I looked up the “Botox Mom” I also went a step farther, much to my own dismay, and looked up the TLC show Toddlers & Tiaras. Again, I find myself wondering why our culture sensationalizes the superficial. Why are we commercializing and sexualizing our children for profit and then decrying the lack of moral behavior amongst American youth?
It is our duty as adults to encourage healthy self esteem in children. It is our responsibility to ensure that the younger generation finds their confidence within themselves not solely in the image in the mirror distorted by societal illusions of perfection.
In the case of the “Botox Mom” child services has thankfully intervened. Tragically, this isn’t always the case. Our children, especially young girls are often lamenting “being fat” or needing plastic surgery to correct their nose, the breasts, their stomachs, their chins and any other perceived flaw, barely before puberty in many cases! How do we teach them beauty isn’t a lack of wrinkles or a perfect nose; who we are isn’t based on how sparkly of a tiara we wear or how large of a trophy we’ve won. It’s about what we do, how we love ourselves and others and how we make the world a more beautiful place simply by being our true selves.
Also, if you ever want to be scared out of your mind, watch an episode of Toddlers and Tiaras. Actually, you don’t even have to watch a whole episode, you can just watch the highlights on the website and the nightmares will be enough to send you spiraling into a psychotic fit. My friend Fred did mention that it’s almost always the parents that cause drama and pageantry can be a way to encourage poise and confidence, I still think it’s terrifying.
Afterthought: This story was originally written on Wednesday May 18, 2011. On May 19th “Botox Mom” recanted her statement to TMZ claiming she could prove the entire thing was scripted. Despite this, the statements mentioned above still hold true.