The Four Rules of Child Beauty Pageants

Turn your child into a monster in four easy steps... 

Lane Cummingsby Lane Cummings

I’m one of the rare ones out there, as I wasn’t at all shocked by the child beauty pageant in Little Miss Sunshine. I actually thought it was quite tame compared to the real thing. For those of you who don’t spend much time watching shows like Toddlers and Tiaras, or wandering into child beauty pageants in your neighborhood like a Michael Jackson in training, here are some of the rules, or absolutes of all child beauty pageants.


  1. All the mothers, except for a scant few, are hideous. This is a rule. This is an ABSOLUTE rule. In fact, I think that the one or two hot moms have to pay an additional application fee if they want to get their kids in. Really most child beauty pageants are a fiesta for the ladies who have bodies like Christmas stockings filled with walnuts and clementines, who have personified the words “depression”, “negative self image” and “couch-chips-and dip.” There’s the obvious question, such as, hey obese women, why don’t you spend some of the energy that you’ve got waxing your seven-year-old’s eyebrows and scolding her about her inability to shimmy with pizzazz, and take a spinning class? Or a walk, we need not be ambitious.
  2. Every mother won’t let you forget how much the dress costs. Which is a little absurd as they all quote you different prices—some ranging from $1500 to $2000 others claiming they range from $1800 to $3000. We’re talking about a few yards of taffeta and some rhinestones here. I could get a relatively decent used car for $3000 (because I know how to bargain) A little dress for a little tot should not cost the same price. And who the heck is making these pageant dresses? Because I can guarantee it’s not Valentino, Prada, or Versace, as you’d expect those high strung elitists to charge those sums. It’s some Midwestern chick with bad taste and a strong sense of entitlement.
  3. You will always hear someone say something totally nuts. I should preface the following statement by saying that as I write this, I’m in sweat pants with ranch dressing stains. One mom talked about how ultimately her daughter will get married and have kids and she wanted to teach her daughter that it’s her job to look pretty and wear make up as a gift to her husband because men need that. Her kid was two. This, by the way, was said by one of the hot moms. Honestly, when I watched that, I got up from the couch and yelled, “My mother has failed me! She never told me that!” Okay, not really. But stuff like that really gives you a real true shudder, as these are the people in the part of the country (who are Bush supporters and think he did a bang up job—it’s a guess, but it feels true, you know?) who I am willing to wager, have all seen a UFO at one time or another—they swear— and were the ones who stockpiled toilet paper and canned corn for the Y2K disaster in 1999.  
  4. You’ll always see one kid that’s a complete f—king long shot. Amid all the baby prostitutes, you’ll see some funny-looking, drooling, red nosed kid that looks like it sleeps with its skull trapped in between a vise. And the mom is always blissfully oblivious.  You will always meet some kid that’s the crack addict of pageants, who will chime in her elfish voice “I love pageants!!” (which, by the way, ends up sounding like, “I love gents!!”)  or “I love pretty!!!” And you’ll always see one child that the mom is  somewhat afraid of, the child who threatens to hit the mother and who is the child that really needs the beating of her life.

Really what begs the biggest question when you watch one of these pageants is what about all the child pedophiles out there? What about all the criminal men (and sorry folks, but pedophiles are mostly men) who get their jollies from sexualizing wee ones? Why would a mother dress her child up in a cone shaped gold metallic bra and panties and teach her kid to gyrate a la retro Madonna in a child pedophile smorgasbord?

I think the answer lies back with rule number one.