Pageant star Mackenzie Myers's glamour shot taken from

A girl has spray-tanned skin, a fancy hairstyle and heavy makeup. She is dressed in an intricate outfit while dancing on stage. No, it’s not Lady Gaga. It’s a 5-year-old pageant girl.

Hit TLC show “Toddlers & Tiaras” has placed child beauty pageants into the limelight, drawing criticism from many viewers, according to an interview Anderson Cooper had with pageant moms and children on CNN.

Many students at Bowling Green State University had the same reaction.

Pre-social work major Carolyn Aikens, 19, of Chicago, has seen the show on TLC and was shocked by the way the parents and pageants portray the young girls as sex objects. It is such a “popularity contest,” and the parents just feed into it, Aikens said.

One of Anderson Cooper’s audience members had the same concern about how the moms too comfortable with the way pageants are sexualizing their children.

Cameron Coleman, 18, of Columbus, Ohio, has also seen the show and said the children are forced to grow up too fast at such a young age.

It is putting the children on such a high pedestal, and, “the parents don’t give them a chance to be 5 or 8 years old,” Coleman said.

Accounting major Reece Timbrook, 18, of Dayton, Ohio, said the parents brainwash their children to the point where the girls are “acting like they are a Kardashian or something.”

Katie McLinden, 18, of Chicago, has never seen the show but is not completely against pageants.

It’s acceptable for older children to participate in pageants if that is what they really want to do McLinden said.

Many students felt the pageants were teaching the children poor morals.

There are over 5,000 pageants held in the U.S. every year, and about 250,000 children participate in them, according to the article on

Many of those girls wear fake eyelashes, fake teeth, and fake hair. It’s acceptable when Lady Gaga does it, but many students at BGSU do not think it’s acceptable when a 5-year-old girl does it.


58 thoughts on “BGSU students react to “Toddlers & Tiaras”

  1.    Eric Lagatta on November 21, 2011 2:39 pm      

    Good article. I disagree with these pageants as well. I think part of the reason parents have their children do this is because it is their dream, not their kid’s

  2.    Emily Clingerman on November 21, 2011 2:39 pm      

    I enjoyed reading your story, especially because I have actually watched that show a few times!

  3.    Collin Sims on November 21, 2011 2:40 pm      

    This is a good posting. I really agree that these pageants sexualize young girls and really rob them of their innocence. There’s something really disturbing about it all. The picture here really captures that too.

  4.    Rachel on November 21, 2011 2:42 pm      

    I love the topic. I agree that the young girls should be in pageants only if they truly want to be, and not because their parents put them into it. The girls are pushed way too hard and I hate watching that show because of it! Very interesting to read.

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