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Child Pageants: Cute or Creepy?

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40-year-old pageant mom Bonnie Licciardello has spent six years at pageants with 7-year-old daughter Regan--competing in over 125 pageants! 

Bonnie says Regan loves it and that pageants help her daughter be poised and articulate. Read our exclusive interview, look through pageant photos, and tell us what you think: cute or creepy?


Momlogic: What do you say to people who criticize you for over sexualizing and objectifying your daughter?
Bonnie: I ask them if they want to come to my house and watch videos of Regan. Now there are a lot of kids who are Regan's age... wearing Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader outfits. We don't do that... but for those other parents that do, it doesn't mean that it's wrong or right.

ML: But you can see why people might think wearing all that makeup and the swimsuits might be a little much...

Bonnie: A lot of people find fault in the makeup and the only thing I can say to that is that it's stage makeup...I admit it can be a little jarring sometimes... But then you get into the swing of things and start going to lots of pageants, and there are 400 in your age group, and your child is the only one without a wiglet or a spray tan and you know what, you're going to lose. So you really have to start doing it if you want to compete.

ML: Do you worry about her being targeted by predators?
Bonnie: She's never away from my side... if we can't do something with her, then we don't do it.

How do you feel about the pageant world?

Click on an image to check out other child beauty pageant contestants.

9 comments so far | Post a comment now
Marissa June 3, 2008, 5:17 PM

Ick…little girl made up to look like tiny women—why and WHO is that for, really?
Creepy. 100 percent pure creepiness.

lynda June 3, 2008, 7:09 PM

How “poised and articulate” should a 7-year-old girl be?!?!?

Anonymous June 3, 2008, 10:59 PM

Who is it for? The “pageant moms”

Why? Trying to live out their own unfulfilled dreams through their daughters.

Get another hobby and let your daughter get her own life that isn’t filled with superficial crap!

CREEPY June 4, 2008, 4:02 PM

This is just a way for the moms who gave up there dreams to live through there kids do u no how damaging these things are and how it forces these little girls to grow up so fast they NEVER GET TO BE A KID!! I say the mom needs to grow up and let your LITTLE GIRL be a 7-year-old

Bari Moltz June 7, 2008, 9:49 PM

They should lock up the parents for exploiting their daughters.

MJ April 1, 2009, 3:50 PM

100% creepy.

This is child abuse and exploitation pure and simple.

Sure the mom will say, “But my daughter loves doing this!” but that is no different than any other abuser saying, “But she wanted it!”

Creepy, creepy, creepy.

ER April 2, 2009, 1:08 AM

I say NOT creepy! The hair and makeup are the uniform for pageants. You wouldn’t send your kid on the field with out his/her gear would you? No.

Pageants are not intended to exploit your child. For us it is mother-daughter time. After a pageant we come home and play outside.

The situation creepy or cute depends on the mom. If the moms go overboard then its creepy. But if the moms are light hearted about it then its cute.

Mom of Three May 21, 2009, 8:23 PM

more than 100% creepy… I raised three wonderful, confident, successful and beautiful daughters.. with out one fake eyelash between them. there’s something totally disturbing about a child dressed this way… and the parent who wants it for them. and don’t say the child wants to do it.. they wouldn’t be aware of them without prodding.

caro February 20, 2010, 12:37 AM

ER, your argument is completely stupid. Just because a large number of bad parents choose to dress their kids like tiny strippers does not mean it’s OK! The comparison to athletic gear is totally irrelevant; athletic gear is designed to be practical for playing a sport, not to make the wearer look good.
Does it really matter whether you are “light hearted” about objectifying and sexualizing your little girl? Regardless of whether you enjoy it, it’s creepy, disgusting, and totally wrong.

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