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They are as American as apple pie beauty.
Endured an admired by little girl.
Now it's a little girls who are taking center stage.
In a controversial way that is captured Americans -- It's about perception.
Some people might say pageants.
Value on the girls -- it is not just about this.
Tonight we need mothers searching for a dream.
Fathers trying to support their daughters and young girls trying to find their place in the spotlight.
-- nearly every game I felt like in -- -- I have.
To -- appearances put front and center and young girls are displayed in judged.
What lessons are they not really learning.
And that is the name of that particular episode sparkle babies it's on Oprah Winfrey's network on the popular -- -- series.
Our America with Lisa Ling and it returns on Sunday June 10 at 10 PM.
Eastern time and Lisa Ling joins me now.
To be here you're you're so incredibly -- from it from topic to topic it's it's very impressed as well doing anything so much that this is a topic I I am so glad that we're talking about because now I'm a moment to -- have a two year old and I have another on the way I don't know the -- I don't know if they'll ever be wearing -- -- afraid but I will say that this is a controversial issue for a lot of Americans who see these little girls and they think these little girls are too young.
And their parents are are really doing this for themselves not for their children.
Absolutely first -- gradually -- he's okay thank you I think that.
-- parents or perhaps the most vilified members of pop culture yeah when I tell people that I did the story inside the world of a child pageants.
The instant reaction is -- how could these parents -- that -- exam all your life like okay distress -- and the truth is that the first time I went to pageant I felt the same thing I was appalled by the microscopic dresses.
The fake -- the make up.
But by my fourth pageant I actually stopped seeing these girls as -- specialized.
And it's hard to see the uniforms that they wearing at this as uniforms not dissimilar from.
Cheerleading uniforms or or basketball uniforms and in fact.
The parents are so incredibly involved in this is a a distinctively American phenomenon that takes place mostly in the South America so.
In a way it's very much like a sport to what they're wearing and what they're doing.
That there engaging in in these pageants as they're engaging in any other sport and these -- unions are very very elaborate which means that the mothers probably had spent a lot of time.
Teaching these routines and so the time they spend it's pretty pretty impressive and that the fathers.
I was so surprised and moved to see how many fathers were involved in -- father's bedside amendments.
Sitting on the couch watching football on Sundays but instead they've chosen to be with their daughters and support them and and as a as a girl who wish that -- and -- wouldn't marry you -- it was moving and and when I'm proud of with with my series on their -- is that week.
Take these topics that you.
We've heard about you may even have an opinion about -- the legal lot deeper -- and allow people to tell their stories and and it's something that that you won't get I don't think anywhere else.
If not great because that's not you don't you don't get that in the news this writing you get this straight forward which most of the -- -- get the headline.
Is perceived as -- these parents are crazy but this is actually opening mine yet and you -- -- differences and areas of perhaps if you don't living you don't understand absolutely and we live in this culture where reality stars and celebrities are the most revered members of society bright we have them on our magazine covers so.
So how can you condemn these mothers who just want their daughters.
To have the lives that these celebrities -- I'm not saying that it's kind of sad commentary on the state of our culture but nevertheless.
If these are the people we regard the highest.
How do you condemn others for wanting their daughters to have those kinds of lives as well here's the thing that -- now and and and just play devil's advocate here some parents would say that.
This is making a child grow up too fast and that our our our.
The innocence has been sort of stolen from children now with with the Internet being out there and so many different.
Divided Hillary I change and brought to fast but I think and by putting a lot of makeup on her there basically looking like young women to -- it's a little here it is I I.
Agree and I but I think we're all culpable in this you know rather than we veering and praising.
Astronauts -- Nobel laureates -- teachers and we are consuming all of this and so what are kids seeing their seeing.
-- parents consuming all -- reading the magazine to have reality stars on undercover so.
Collectively if this is something that we don't want our kids to be doing that I think that that we need to -- to start focus on are focusing on our own behaviors as well.
I'll be I mean I look back at my child that I don't think that there were beauty pass well actually no there were beauty pageants that they were not as elaborate as they are now but something similar that a lot of us had growing up is that we did a dance recitals and dance recitals involve putting on the 22 -- You're -- on a little don't have -- photos from from from that era is well yeah I had an in those are great memories that I would never wanna take away.
That question -- Jerry I might as well as it's changed with these beauty pageants because there was a bit of innocence I mean.
Seeing myself dress of a little -- -- he's a little different than being dresses as glamorous beauty queen almost like.
Pro pre adolescent that -- -- Miss America pattern I mean and I think they thought they don't have a bikini contest in these things that you know a little -- practically do but yeah what I.
Observed was that when the girls take off that make up and take off a little outfits and and and put their normal clothes back on they are just little girls I mean.
They're performing in -- putting on these shows in these pageants.
As there as their sport as their recreational activity but at the end of the day when all that's done they're out at the pool all playing together just being little girl.
My only concern is that the little girls who maybe don't look like beauty queens and aren't exactly the right size they might be a little bigger than their friends and they might not be as -- -- have a long blond hair.
Might look at this and say in order to be -- need to be pretty it isn't beauty.
Something within an -- all children supposed to be perceived as beautiful Lisa on our.
The live chat writes why don't we have child beauty pageants aren't all children beautiful.
It's true it's true -- -- and I did I actually saw children of all sizes and and it wasn't as though.
All of these kids were were fundamentally.
A beautiful put but one thing that I did see was that these pageants do allow girls to have quite a bit of confidence we spent.
Time with these two sisters were teased relentlessly.
And one of them was it was overweight and she said when I stand up on that stage and I have this pretty dresses on.
I feel better about myself so again.
You know I hope the -- Watch this -- oh yeah and a lot of children do.
Live with a lot of self confidence is absolutely absolutely kids are brutal and and they are so mean and you may not want to go I'll go look it I was at this as their method of -- right confidence but for.
For those mothers who have chosen this I hope people will just watch this and not judge them and and kind of get a sense of what their motivation to want more chat you can response to an obviously you know that these are probably going to be a lot of people who don't -- and -- -- this is natural this is this is what people are saying.
A rabbit in Maryland writes pressuring children to grow up too soon these children are an extension of the parents egos.
It also has grown into a multimillion dollar business that rise on the shoulders of the vulnerable.
I agree and and as we continue to consume it.
We need to think about that as well write it it as long as there will be an audience for this stuff.
There will be people who.
You know will want to engage in want their children to to be part of that and I think we collectively need to look at these issues -- I do think it's a growing up too fast absolutely.
And did you talk to the kids I know you you had -- -- talk to kids I mean.
Today's say why they enjoy it did they say do they enjoy it because mommy says that this is what I should do.
None of them said they liked it because mommy wanted them to do it all packets wanted to do because they really enjoyed it and quite honestly.
Like soccer players have a community when they travel together and compete.
This pageant community is is is you know they find comfort in one another as well -- -- transfer of distinctive.
Right well that's very interesting because I mean I was judging it right off about god and I'd be interested to see the behind the scenes of that so I'll be definitely tuning and I think it will be very surprised -- -- they -- this.
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