Spray tans, mascara, foundation, wigs, crop tops, short shorts. Just your average five-year-olds attire don’t you think?
Children are vulnerable sources within the media, and are exposed to lifestyle shows such as Dance Moms and Toddlers & Tiaras, which both convey the message to encourage young girls to dress more sexually and act older than they really are. How is it okay to be dancing around in your crop top, performing positions that could potentially portray a sexual nature to the audiences? Is it okay for a three-year-old girl to have acrylic nails and spray tans? Both of these television shows are broadcasted by Lifestyle, who thrive off the motto “celebrates, entertains and supports women,” where is the line drawn?
Young girls featured on the television show Dance Moms, are seen more often than not in bare-all crop and shorts. Each episode reveals the girls, as young as eight years old, performing in front of the general public clothed in skimpy costumes, with faces saturated in make-up. With anybody being able to view the performances, it seems to be encouraging paedophilia amongst children and the media. A prime example is seen in a performance titled “Fantastic,” conveying the message to the audience that the young girls are “hot, “mean” and men “cant afford” them. From a personal opinion, being a dancer myself, I find this absolutely disgusting that young girls are being educated to believe this is considered acceptable. Although the dancers themselves are vulnerable within the media, the lifestyle television series portrays the message to young girls in particular that it is “okay” to behave in such manner.
Closely trailing is another lifestyle show, “Toddlers & Tiaras,” also following the notion of publicising young children throughout the media. The series focuses on young children, some younger than one, dressed as living dolls and performing in pageants in front of audiences. An article discussed in this weeks lecture, ‘Too Much? Too Young? The Sexualisation of Children Debate in Australia’, Media International Australia, No 135, May 2010, evidently reveals the inappropriate sexualisation of children in the contemporary media.
Do the children do it out of their own will or is it a purely pecuniary motive on behalf of the parents? The disheartening truth being that the children are too young and unmistakably vunerable to understand the difference between what is considered as acceptable. Toddlers and Tiaras portray the message to children that tantrums, and greediness is tolerable, leading to larger issues in regards to children’s behavioural manners. I personally consider the show to be teaching young children, particually targeting their market at young girls, that an individual’s value is purely based on their appearance.
Each show encourages young girls to dress older and more sexually as both lifestyle shows emphasize the normality to behave in such way. It is seen to interrupt the natural flow of age and social development amongst young girls, leading to self-confidence issues in their personal appearance at later ages. It is through these concepts that the media has disgustingly portrayed to young girls what “they should look like and how they should behave,” evidently causing a whirlwind on children and their self-images within the media.
Dance Moms, (2014). Dance Moms; Fantastic- Group Dance.
Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cA36WFp2uP0 [Accessed 17 Apr. 2015].
Hensen, M. (2011). ‘Toddlers and Tiaras’ and sexualising 3-year-olds. http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865567072/Toddlers-and-Tears-The-sexualization-of-young-girls.html?pg=all.
Morgan, M. (2012). Toddlers and Tears: the sexualisation of young girls. [online] Deseret News. Available at: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865567072/Toddlers-and-Tears-The-sexualization-of-young-girls.html?pg=all [Accessed 17 Apr. 2015].
O’Connor, M. (2012). Here’s the TV Episode About 8-Year-Old ‘Topless Showgirls’ Yanked Off the Air. [online] Gawker. Available at: http://gawker.com/5895847/heres-the-tv-episode-about-8-year-old-topless-showgirls-yanked-off-the-air [Accessed 17 Apr. 2015].