Stop Sexualizing Little Girls: Toddlers And Tiaras


Would you dress your 3-year-old daughter as a prostitute?

That’s exactly what Wendy Dickey did on last Wednesday’s Toddlers and Tiaras, when she decided to dress her 3-year-old daughter, Paisley, like Julia Roberts’ streetwalker character in Pretty Woman. Dickey told TMZ that Paisley’s provocative pageant costume was “meant to be funny [and] not sexual at all.” Not so funny, Ms. Dickey.

Sexualizing A Three-Year-Old Is Wrong

The Parents Television Council (PTC) was quick to issue a statement: “Whether you love or loathe child beauty pageants, everyone should agree that sexualizing a three-year-old little girl is wrong,” Melissa Henson, the director of communications and public education for the PTC, said. “But that is exactly what the TLC network has done.”

“Such brazen and wanton material should qualify as child exploitation or abuse,” Henson added. “Instead of creating ratings-friendly buzz, TLC engendered outrage among millions of parents and grandparents who are tired of seeing children exploited for ratings and robbed of their innocence by a greedy entertainment industry that will stop at nothing to make a buck.”

Toddlers and Tiaras is a show that follows the controversial world of child beauty pageants and looks closely at the young pageant contestants and their overzealous parents as the children prepare for their pageant shows. Season One premiered on TLC on January 27, 2009, and the most recent, Season Four, premiered on June 15, 2011. Season One of Toddlers & Tiaras now airs on DMAX in the United Kingdom as well.

What Can You Expect To See?

In addition to  Julia Roberts look-alikes,  you’ll probably see passionate moms glamming up their little divas seriously, adorning them with spray-on tans, fake eyelashes and fingernails and more makeup than most teenagers wear for a night of clubbing. And there will be plenty of tears, as it’s not easy being four-years-old and sporting a full-length gown and a sparkly crown.

What are these parents thinking? Whatever happened to childhood?

From The Mommy Files of The San Francisco Chronicle:

The show has sparked controversy ever since the first season premiered last winter. Over at CafeMom the discussion has escalated into a heated debate. One mom writes in: “This show sickens me. Who the hell in their right mind would think it is okay to dress their little girl up in wigs, makeup, fake tans, false teeth and scantly clad clothes and parade them on a stage in front of a bunch of middle-aged men and have them voted on being beautiful?”

About a dozen Facebook pages have popped up asking TLC to kill the show; the largest of these, “Help Ban the TLC show ‘Toddlers and Tiaras,’” has over 5,000 members. The page’s description reads: “These girls are scantily clad, painted up like dolls, making them look too mature for their age. These children are being exploited by these pageants and by the show. This show is promoting pedophilia, and is very much sexualizing these children.”

Stop The Exploitation Of Tiny Girls

Exploiting and sexualizing tiny girls is morally reprehensible. Yet again, girls learn that their value lies mainly in how they look and that it’s acceptable to make kids seem like tiny adults.

And as usual, the chief purpose behind this sexualization of young children is to make money, and this time it’s TLC that is raking in the big bucks at the expense of our youngsters.

Take Action

If you agree that no one should make money trafficking in the sexualization of little girls, click here to sign our petition asking Eileen O’Neal, Group President of TLC, to take this exploitative show off the air.

And thank you.

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Photo Credit: HorrOr-


Kelly S
Past Member about a year ago

omg gross!

Peggy B
Peggy B1 years ago


Manuela B.
Manuela B6 years ago

the parents of these young girls are SICK SICK SICK

Pat B.
Pat B6 years ago

" Long term studies show that pageant girls have unhealthy relationships to their bodies and are more likely to develop anorexia, depression, body dismorphia etc... and other psychological problems. This circus should stop!!!"

Oh but they're so cute and they love it, all little girls do, can't you tell? (sarcasm) The kids I've seen are either angry and acting out, or they are pretentious brats who demand and usually get anything they want. I seriously heard one mother say that beauty was the only thing a woman had and she wanted to make sure her daughter was aware of that and shared her sickness. This same little girl was then put up to compete with her own younger SISTER. What kind of a warped mind thinks that's healthy?

If this stuff has been shown to be imperiling a child's life, then why aren't there outcries to do something about it. Stop obsessing about 2 men being in bed together and do something about a real problem that hurts people who can't fight back.

Kim K.
Kim K.6 years ago

I hope these shows will NEVER be popular in europe! People would be outraged. I used to model and hated it. I could' ve had a career in it, but studied, travelled and went to university instead. But I was 16 and had the choice. Some mothers put their BABIES in pageants. That's the life they know from early on. They are NOT asked! Make up, false nails, false hair, false tan...They don't even have time to develop and express their natural beauty. They learn that the only thing that counts is outer (fake) beauty. They all seem so unnatural and brainwashed by their sad mothers/ parents. No kid cares about money, or looks. And they shouldn't...there's enough of competition, greed and shallowness in adult life. These kids are trying to please their idiot mothers and undeneath there's a lot of pain going on. As human beings we should all be able to tell by looking into the blank stares and fake smiles! It's a disgrace to children. And these kids have no voice...I watched a couple of clips online and everytime there was a serious case for CPS. Long term studies show that pageant girls have unhealthy relationships to their bodies and are more likely to develop anorexia, depression, body dismorphia etc... and other psychological problems. This circus should stop!!!

Pat B.
Pat B6 years ago

The parents always say their girls loves it, yet I've seen girls crying and clearly not wanting to do any of it. (I don't watch the show, but I catch bits and pieces of it) A mother on day time show said dressing them that way isn't sexualizing since all little girls like to play dress up. Sure they do -- in their own home, where they're not being judged on nothing but their beauty by adult men and women. And dressing up at home doesn't include make up that includes fake eyelashes and pancake make-up. I've even heard some parents have talked about plastic surgery to make them children even sexier.

Not sexualizing them? Performing clearly erotic dances, to the same kind of music strippers and pole dancers use is innocent?

Having fun playing dress-up means letting your daughter dress herself up and play in front of a mirror, or play with other girls doing the same thing. It's not turning every other little girl into a competitor. Children have no idea how to compartmentalize their feelings -- if girls are their enemies on stage, then they will be enemies off stage. So beyond the competition now, they are being 'trained' to believe all other women are to be disliked and men are supposed to judge them and reject them if they're not beautiful enough.

It's sickening and child abuse.

Teddie S.
Teddie S6 years ago

When this woman dressed her daughter as a hooker, there was such hoopla over it, even by the other pageant parents. What made what she did, worse than what they all do to their precious daughters?
I would never watch one of these outrageous shows. I like seeing little girls just the way they are, as little girls and not dolled up to look like smaller versions of women.
What a pedophiles wet dream. They can look at a show like these, and say, "see, they want it as much as we do". Creepy!

Gene Jacobson
Gene J6 years ago

(rest of comment) Like I said, I want to be supportive, a proud grandpa, but I feel uncomfortable nonetheless. And I don't know what to do about it. It isn't my place. Maybe it isn't my age either if this is the new normal. Confuses me. I'd rather be cheering a math competition or a soccer game or a basketball game or a tennis match than a sexually charged performance by truly little girls who should not be defining themselves by the cheers of adult crowds for their bumps and grinds and chest shaking movements dressed in clothing you could not wear to a classroom, other than a dance studio. Maybe I'm behind the times and I certainly don't want to repress anyone, but I do have to wonder who is benefiting from this because I don't think it is the children.

Gene Jacobson
Gene J6 years ago

As a grandparent of two, a grandson and granddaughter both involved in dance, this whole issue troubles me. His costumes are typical male dress, but the girls, and they are almost all girls, beginning at 3 are so sexualized I find it disconcerting. I want to be supportive, it is good exercise, but the competitions and the season ending performances make me uncomfortable. The boys are dressed in pants and shirts, the girls in next to nothing, their moves are highly sexualized, their makeup very adult. Little girls shaking what they don't yet have just doesn't feel right to me. The audience is wild and cheering and supportive but what message are these children receiving, really? What are we creating? What do they think they have to be? How do they think they have to act to be attractive? It is supposed to be about self-development, confidence, growth, but it feels to me exploitative. I know dance line is much the same, what little I see of it on television during half time of state tournaments, but even though I know this is our society, it still doesn't "feel" right to turn little girls into adult looking temptresses in the name of what exactly? I want them to be free to be themselves but this feels more like they are being molded into someone else, into what someone else thinks girls should be. Like I said, I want to be supportive, a proud grandpa, but I feel uncomfortable nonetheless. And I don't know what to do about it. It isn't my place. Maybe it isn't my

Rosa Cruz
Rosa Cruz6 years ago

why is the petition closed? it didn't get the 5000 signatures yet... and I wanted to sign!