Pageant Moms, Dance Moms — How Far is to Far?

Whether it’s your guilty pleasure or you openly hate it, shows like Toddlers and Tiaras and Dance Moms show what it’s really like behind all the glitz and glamour. Some people don’t like what they see but that door can no longer be closed. Take, for instance, 6 year-old Alana Holler from McIntyre, Georgia. She has brought it to the attention of thousands of people to what kids really go through to be “Beauty Queens.”  Aside from her sultry outfits with dance moves to match and the pounds of make-up this little star indulges us with, her mother, June Shannon, has introduced us to a whole new thing to be angry about — “GoGo Juice.”As her mother so eloquently describes in her ABC News interview, GoGo Juice is Alana’s energy boost concocted of one part Red Bull and one part Mountain Dew. Yes, this is awful. However, Alana is not the only one getting a special kick. Pageant Crack, pixie sticks by the dozen, is a common behind-the-scenes element to pageants and many girls even have an energy powering drink they take before their pageant. So, what part of society makes it okay for these parents to essentially drug their children with caffeine? We can all clearly see what it does to Alana. I have a hunch that if I was given a thermos of this GoGo Juice to take with me to lunch in elementary school to help get me through the rest of the day, CPS would have been involved. Yet, here it is publicized on television.

Lifetime’s Dance Moms televises how much pressure these mothers put on their children and  even instigates arguments between these young and talented children. Many of these parents, it seems, are living out their life through their children. This puts a abundant amount of pressure of the shoulders of these pre-teens and though we can’t see it yet, these actions are certain to have an effect on their mental and emotion health growing up. This brings up the question of how far is to far? How far can these moms push their children to be the absolute best? How much pageant crack and GoGo Juice will it take to give a child a heart condition or cause diabetes and obesity problems later in life? And who is going to stop this insane behavior? Certainly not the viewers, they may bring attention to it, but in the end, the shows just gain more and more fans. Our justice system cannot do much of anything, these children want to win, to be the best—on camera where it really matters. It truly seems like it’s going to take this first generation of children and their later in life health problems to show us the real consequences of our actions, all of our actions. The parents, the other mothers, the competition’s, the fans, the viewers, every person that does not make a stand. Every person that doesn’t say, “Hey, this is not okay.”

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Pageant Moms, Dance Moms — How Far is to Far?

  1. Kati Trautzsch

    Ah America.
    People will do almost anything to get onto television today and media knows that people will eat this stuff up. Watching mothers go to ridiculous levels to give their child what they never had is silly and absurd. Yes of course it’s wrong for children to be drugged with this caffeine and there is no doubt society finds it wrong too. I know plenty of people who are against shows like this, yet watch it because they find it amusing (even though they know it’s wrong). This is exactly what media wants.
    How far is too far? As far as the mom is willing to take. On shows like Toddlers and Tiaras, some of the outfits they wear could almost be described as soft porn (you don’t know what kind of people are watching little girls bounce around in daisy duke outfits). As for pageant crack? Though sad, this addiction probably won’t stop. As long as these shows keep bringing in views, what’s to make the parent/media say “hey, I think I should stop this”.
    The parents should be smart and try and fix this terrible behavior but then again, our society is messed up.

  2. It’s absurd what some parents will do to achieve “greatness” for their children, or should I say for themselves. I was ranting literally last week about one of the episodes of Toddlers and Tiaras I saw when a parent gave their child some “go-go juice.” I agree with Nicole, It is outrageous that children-ages two through twelve should be given such a high sugar and caffeine dosage. Doctors have tried to convince adults of the bad outcome that can result if they consume such products too often. Energy drinks have been known to create heart problems. On top of the energy drinks parents are now adding mountain dew-which has its own high dosage of sugar- and to make it worse, the drink has caffeine also. One problem with caffeine is that it has an addictive aspect to it; the body begins to require the same amount of caffeine. When the body is not satisfied, it can result in caffeine headaches. Why are parents wishing this on their children? In the long run these children will undoubtedly have health problems but I guess today is more important than tomorrow. In the video the mother states she only gives her daughter the “go-go juice” on a pageant day and didn’t understand why that was so wrong. But these families who partake in pageants normally participate in pageants every other weekend, if not more. Therefore, these children are consuming unhealthy products at least two times a month. And that isn’t seen as wrong? There is a thing as parents neglecting their children’s health. Why haven’t these patents been questioned for their actions? Sadly I agree also that I do not see the consumption of unhealthy products at such a young age coming to an end. Fame has always been more important than health. What would make it change now?

  3. Rebecca George

    I agree Kati that our society is messed up and there are a lot of strange people out there. I think that these parents should be ashamed of themselves for giving their child all of this caffeine just to make their child do better in a pageant. I also agree with you where you say people know that it is wrong but they watch it for the fun of it. I hope that one day whenever I have kids, I won’t be this crazy. I understand that parents want what is best for their kids and want them to have a better life growing up but, I think they need to take a step back and look at what they have done. Honestly, I don’t think Alana needs “Go-Go juice.” I mean, she is 6 years old and already has plenty of energy on her own to make it through a pageant.

  4. Personally, I think that pageantry as a hobby is not entirely bad or good. While much of what is shown on television is negative, there is some good that comes out of such festivities. Take for example the Miss America program. Those young ladies are given scholarships and the opportunity to represent a good cause for a specific amount of time. (There’s more to Miss America than that, but for the sake of the argument, I’ll leave it at that.)
    Having said that, I do agree with Nicole that the practice of drugging young children for performance reasons is terribly wrong and abusive. That’s not healthy for the children! Such behavior should not be promoted.
    I’ve seen ridiculous pageant moms in “real life” and the bratty children that they flaunt. Not a pretty picture. While pageants can be seen as a fun hobby of networking for young children, it shouldn’t be about proving who is most beautiful. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Beauty is only skin deep. When you take away the glitz and glamour, what is left? That’s what should be focused on (the personality and character of the child), NOT the “pretty face.”

  5. Nicole Knight

    Kristen puts it really well. There is more to pageants than what we see and it truly is about more than beauty when it comes to pageants like Miss America. But seriously, they have a pageant division for 1 to 2 years (http://www.pageantinfo.com)…really? Babies are cute and all, but these kids can’t walk or talk so what business do they have to be in a showcase of beauty, brains and talent? It’s just gotten way out of hands.

  6. I agree, Nicole, the parents on these shows have taken it way too far. I honestly can’t even believe that Alana’s mother is giving her all that caffeine and sugar. If that continues, there’s no doubt that in the future Alana will have to face Type II Diabetes, seizures and the like (http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/127/3/511.long). When I first saw Dance Moms, I was completely disappointed that people would even watch this. Needless to say I haven’t watched it since, however I find it interesting that my 16 year old sister actually enjoys it. I don’t quite understand why because 80% of the show consists of Abby screaming from the top of her lungs at either the parents or the children. It’s sad because the negative effects as a result of the pressure, sugar, and lack of understanding on the parents’ part will be seen as these young pageant contestants grow up.

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