Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Toddlers and Tiaras

How old would you guess this girl to be? I can guarantee your guess wasn’t six years old. This is child pageant star Eden Wood. She has stared on several episodes of Toddlers and Tiaras. If you’ve never seen this show, I honestly wouldn’t recommend it, especially if you have a daughter. The show is about pageants, but not just your normal “isn’t my kid cute” type of pageant. This is extreme pageantry. Most of the moms on the show participated in pageants themselves when they were younger. These moms are fierce and in control; and they’re in it to win it. Most of their time is committed to buying their little showgirls supplies for their next pageant. Eden’s mother Mikie Wood had invested roughly $70,000.00 in her daughter’s pageants and publicity. She says that if Eden’s career takes off and she’s not stuck in some small town then it’ll all be worth it. For Mikie’s sake, I hope so! If you’re really serious about winning these extreme pageants, you’re daughter needs to be the best! There are many awards a girl can win in a pageant apart from first place: she can win prettiest smile, prettiest hair, best talent and the list goes on. However, for a girl to win these titles, she has to have the right supplies! Most girls have many extensions or wigs. Many girls get spray tanned regularly (even at home!). Most girls also invest in a good solid pair of flippers (fake teeth. These aren’t just a pair of dentures like your grandfather has, these are sparkling white, perfectly straight and molded to the child’s mouth.). Sometimes the pageant girls even get padded bras to give off the image of having breasts! Some of the girl’s headshots (such as Eden’s above) make the girls look like dolls. Sometimes they don’t even look real! And when they do look real, you certainly don’t think that she’s a six-year-old child! She looks much older than six. Pageants have been long debated over whether or not they are morally right for women. With pageants like Miss America or Miss Universe, the idea is that it’s not really a beauty pageant (there’s talent and the question and answer portion too!) However, Toddlers and Tiaras show pageants of girl’s so tiny that their parents actually carry them on and off stage. Even at age six, I don’t think the winners are picked because of their answers of  “world peace.” The stakes are high and the hemlines are higher for these girls. Some of the outfits really make me uncomfortable. My parents wouldn’t allow me to wear belly shirts even in high school but on Toddlers and Tiaras it seems to be ok. People might say, well the girls are so young, its not sexy, it’s cute. Will if still be cute when that girl turns into a teenager and starts thinking for herself? What other world could she possibly know other than makeup, money and beauty? I’d be scared if I saw that girl walking around the hallways of my child’s middle or high school. I personally don’t think that even a $5000 cash prize for best pageant girl could convince me into turning my daughter into somebody like that.

Jackie Barthuly

Growing Up Too Fast

In the past we’ve all seen funny quotes or idea on Facebook that we can like. I’m assuming everyone has seen the one about how Disney has given us bad influences as children? “Jasmine was in a forbidden relationship with Aladdin. Snow White lived alone with seven men. Pinnochio was a liar. Robin Hood was a thief. Tarzan walked around without clothes on. A stranger kissed Sleeping Beauty and she married him. Cinderella lied and snuck out at night to go to a party. These are the stories our parents raised us with and then they complain our generation is messed up?” It’s true; our generation is a little messed up. And these really are bad influences… I think this might be why girls get so excited when they meet a boy. A few years ago I went to visit my cousins in South Carolina. My cousin Gia had her fifth birthday on that trip. She had a pool party (which actually was a Disney Princess party, complete with pink castle cake and all) with al her little classmates invited (boys and girls). Every gift she opened she screamed how she loved it. When a boy gave her a gift, she screamed, “Oh thank you, I love it! I’m going to marry you!” Oh the simplicity of a five year old’s brain… Her mother did explain that she couldn’t get married at age five to all of her classmates. My cousin is the cutest little girl, and she’s absolutely beautiful. However, she is spoiled and a little too grown up for her age. Also on my visit to South Carolina, of course we went to the beach. On our way out the door, I went to get her and she was dressed in long jeans! I asked her why, and she said she didn’t want boys to see her leg hair. I was astounded! Leg hair? At age five, she’s worrying about leg hair…? I found out where her inspiration came from when her mother admitted to have shaved Gia’s legs before. She sees mom getting rid of her leg hair so why shouldn’t she? I tried explaining to her that girls don’t really have to shave their legs until at LEAST age twelve but Gia wasn’t having it. She then rubbed my legs up and down and said, “see, you don’t have any leg hair!” Gia then had her legs shaved so we could finally go to the beach. I can see where she would want to be like all the other girls. And I feel bad! Five year olds shouldn’t be shaving! That idea is ridiculous. But she’s only five, why wouldn’t she think, well if everyone else does it why shouldn’t’ I? I can’t even think of a solution. She already has this image in her mind there’s no going back unless every woman she met stopped shaving her legs. I can almost guarantee her mother won’t and now she’s already almost nine. Little girls grow up too fast.

Jackie Barthuly

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Disney Princesses...What Are They Really?

Disney is especially famous for using the "prince finding his princess" analogy in their movies, but what is a princess? We've always known princesses as these thin, beautiful, long-haired beauties with no flaws and endless amounts of money and clothes. These women are always popular, kind, and wonderful to every living and non-living thing in their path. Thanks to Disney, this is now the goal that most women strive for, even though we all know it is impossible (or really darn hard) to achieve.
An example of this is as easy as looking at the story of Cinderella. Now Cinderella was a girl forced to work as a maid, but happened to be able to snag her Prince Charming by showing up to the dance looking perfect and leaving all mysterious-like. This kind of thing rarely happens in real life and no one can use the help of a fairy godmother to get all the things they want in life. This is completely unreal.
Whatever happened to being yourself? To loving you for being you and offering the best of you to the world? Most men, at least the ones that I've known, are attracted to strong confident women that are not afraid to be themselves. Being an individual is what makes the world go 'round. Without individuals, we would all be carbon copies of each other and nothing would be exciting or fun. Trust me, as a twin, I do know that being a carbon copy of someone else is boring and really takes a toll on your own life.
If I could be a beautiful Disney princess for a day, I would pass. I would rather be myself and enjoy life as it comes. No young girl should aspire to grow up and be perfect as a princess.

-Maggie M

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Glamorizing Pregnancy

      I was flipping through channels the other day and landed on MTV. I let out a sigh as I saw that the popular show "Teen Mom" was on. A girl, looking to be about 16 years old, was fighting violently with her mother. Five seconds in and I could not watch anymore. Then I thought about why this show was so popular. I've seen it advertised on magazine covers and commercials. WHY?? I decided to clench my teeth and bare it awhile longer.
     "Teen Mom" centers around a few high school girls who mistakenly got pregnant. In most cases (I guess this is season three?) the girls decide to raise the baby while the MTV filming crew follows them around. The show presents the struggles of having a baby at a young age and the responsibilities that come with it. I understand that part. However, these girls are spoiled, materialistic, immature brats that purposely make everything in their lives more dramatic than it needs to be. MTV is smart because, as we all know, drama is like moths to a flame. People loveeee it. According to CNN specialist Melissa Henson, "MTV chooses to focus on the girls' volatile relationships with the babies' fathers or their new body piercings and tattoos. That makes for better TV". 
      Teen Mom has a cult following that has somehow concluded that it is cool to pregnant. Girls that got pregnant by their trashy, irresponsible boyfriends are famous and rich. Maybe getting pregnant could be their chance for fifteen minutes of fame. So, I wondered, has pregnancy in teenage girls increased since the air of the show, Teen Mom? Fox News asked the same question. It turns out a lot of teen pregnancy stories were presented to MTV since the air of the show in 2009 (after the popularity of "16 and Pregnant", another MTV show) "And despite the spike in teen pregnancy storylines, statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention show that while the number of teen pregnancies in the U.S increased from 435,427 in 2006 to 445,045 in 2007 – they decreased by 2 percent in 2008". Rates now are the lowest they've ever been. 
      Teen Mom is glamorizing pregnancy, but with proof that teenage pregnancy rates are not increasing, maybe the show should stand for what it is-crap television. Hopefully young girls will realize that it is not cool to raise a child when you still are a child.

---Liz P

Monday, November 28, 2011

Materialism for Kids

      The name of this blog is Disney Sluts. Now, what did we actually mean when coming up with such a name? Well, as a proud 90s baby, growing up with innocent cartoons and classic Disney movies, I am simply disgusted with what television has to offer children these days. With a complicated, technological world, I understand that television has lost its innocence and simplicity. However, the amount of products advertised and what kid stars wear on these shows, are examples of what our children are exposed to everyday. Kids these days just want more and more, always wanting to stay with the hottest trends. This all makes sense when you turn on the T.V. Commercials are constantly grabbing the attention of kids with the use of celebrities and splashy, fun words. Parents are so overwhelmed with other worries that they just plop their children in front of the television. left to the hands of advertisement. They are left to interpret these images, confused and wanting more. Television stars are portrayed with new, hot clothing and make-up. Their popularity appeals to children and feel as though they could become like that if they bought "this" or wore "that". Parents wonder why kids cry if they don't get what they want, well, think about what is at stake for them! They are not simply upset because of the loss of a toy or skirt, but rather a loss in their subconscious popularity. This needs to stop. Materialism has been familiar to our country for decades, however, it is getting out of control. It's not like kids are the only ones that keep wanting more. Parents are also buying new "toys", whether being big screen televisions or decorations for the house. Why? Because secretly everyone wants to fit in and be better than the rest. It is a competitive, materialistic world, we just need to make sure our kids don't get sucked into the infinite abyss that is our consumerist society.

---Liz P

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Jackie Evancho: An Inspiration for Young Girls

In order to cure some boredom from the usual Sunday night, I channel surf until I find something worth watching. Tonight, I came across the singing prodigy Jackie Evancho. She is an amazing and talented young singer that would put stars like Lady Gaga and Beyonce to shame. One thing that surprises me, besides her incredible voice, is her ability to stay humble and not fall under the influence of society, which seems to be the influence of complete and utter sex appeal.
The reason I say this is because she is standing on stage with celebrity pianists (in this performance, David Foster) and huge symphonies, but yet she is dressed in a simple white dress, cut perfectly and appropriately for her old age of 11. Mind you, simple being that there is NO CLEAVAGE or even anything above the knee showing. As a person relatively concerned with underage girls parading around in clothes that are way too old for them, this surprises me. Her parents must have taken the time to teach this girl modesty and that in order to get attention, girls do not have to parade around in limited clothing and act unintelligent. Jackie is smart (she definitely knows her music) and she shines using her amazing opera-sounding voice.
She may be young, but she seems to have the right kind of mindset and a solid head on her shoulders. She first appeared on "America's Got Talent" and  won over the crowd easily with her charm and amazing voice. Despite all the fame, her family helps keep her grounded with schoolwork (never forget an education can take you places), friends, and staying a child as long as possible.
Personally, Jackie shines as an inspiration to girls everywhere showing that despite anything someone may say about you (for example, "she's too young to be able to sing like that"), you can do whatever you put your mind to!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Evolution of Beauty

     I was sitting through my Healthy American class last week while we were discussing body image and the evolution of beauty throughout time. They showed pictures of sickly skinny celebrities such as Nicole Richie and Lindsay Lohan. Then they stopped at Marilyn Monroe. Now, we all know that Miss Monroe was and still is a beauty icon. However, when they showed others like her such as voluptuous Christina Hendricks from t.v. show Mad Men, I started to see things in a new light and I asked myself just why has beauty changed so drastically over the years?
      It's sad because young girls model what they see. If they hear that so-and-so is pretty, they try and emulate her. If they see the larger kids get bullied, they know what NOT to look like in order to avoid such problems. The pressure to be thin is seen everywhere!-from billboards to television, even in their own living rooms. Parents must take credit for their children's ideas of what is beautiful. Popular television stations such as Disney and Nickelodeon need to show kids that beauty comes in many different shapes, sizes, and colors. These beliefs need to be reinforced over and over and seen everywhere enough for it to become a trend, thus evolving the ideal beauty image.
      In some cultures, such as one in Nouakchott, Mauritania, fat is beautiful. If you are skinny, men do not want you and you cannot reproduce. Women strive to gain weight and put on the pounds. There is even a hut dedicated to eating before a wedding ceremony. They think that big is beautiful because it shows that you are well off enough to never go hungry and can care for a family. Ancient fertility figurines found show that wide hips and huge breasts were the desired woman because they too can provide for a family and give birth. Now, women have no breasts, a hint of hips, and can barely stand without being blown over. Yet, men still find them sexy. Why? Those primal senses for reproduction are still there. Has industrialization and technology somehow morphed our thinking?

        So, maybe the beauty movement can start with you. Don't be afraid to show off those curves. Teach young girls that skinny doesn't always mean pretty. Confidence is key. Humans in general are beautiful people that are made to be different. Why resort to just one look that everyone strives for? It is human nature and survival of the fittest I suppose, however, it is our world that has created a society for the beautiful. They may get better jobs, always get the man, and succeed overall. However, just because someone is nice to look at does not make them better. It will take time, but our world can shift the way people see beauty with one step at a time.

---Liz P