‘Toddlers & Tiaras’ Protests Heat Up on Facebook

Three-year-old "Paisley" dressed as Julia Roberts in "Pretty Woman."

The continuing controversy surrounding TLC’s kiddie-pageant series “Toddlers & Tiaras” has spawned a new on-line protest movement using — what else? — Facebook.

The new “Take ‘Toddlers and Tiaras’ off the Air!” Facebook page is quickly gathering “likes” and comments from people who agree that the series has gone too far recently, with controversies erupting over two kiddie costumes in particular — a 3-year-old clad as the prostitute character Julia Roberts played in “Pretty Woman,” and a 4-year-old costumed as “Dolly Parton,” complete with buxom “falsies.”

The “Take ‘T&T’ off the Air” page joins another Facebook protest page called “Does Anyone Else Think That ‘Toddlers & Tiaras’ Is a Utopia for Pedophiles?” as the clarion calls for the show’s cancellation — at least on Facebook — grow louder.

The controversy has even landed this eye-opening (and often jaw-dropping) TLC series on the cover of People magazine. In the story, the mom who dressed her 3-year-old in the “Pretty Woman” outfit is speaking out — again — in defense of the costume choice, calling it “tasteful and funny.”

“If I knew there would be a reaction like this,” Dickey told the magazine, “I never would have used it. Next time, she’ll be dressed as an angel.”

Tasteful? You be the judge — watch the clip here:

[iframe http://xfinitytv.comcast.net/tv/Toddlers-%26-Tiaras/101487/2122117977/Toddler-Dressed-as-Pretty-Woman/embed 580 476]

The People story that you can access here is apparently a mere excerpt of the story that appears on the People issue due on newsstands this Friday. So we don’t know if Dickey – who seems a little flippant in her statements above – addresses a key question (at least for us) – mainly, was she even aware that the character Roberts played in the 1990 movie was a streetwalker?

Our take is: It’s entirely possible that she either didn’t remember or simply didn’t know. Maybe she’s never even seen the movie, and just thought Roberts was playing some woman who happened to be pretty. To most of us, that scenario might sound incredible, but it is possible.

In delving into the controversy, the People story examines the central issue that arises every time controversy erupts about “Toddlers & Tiaras” in particular or these kiddie pageants in general (a debate that stretches at least as far back as the murder – still unsolved – of pageant contestant Jon Benet Ramsey in Dec. 1996. That issue, of course, is: Is it appropriate to dress up these little children in the manner of older women – with make-up wigs, swimsuits and gowns?

Understandably, one “expert” quoted in the People magazine says no. “Little girls are supposed to play with dolls, not be dolls,” says the expert, a New York-based social worker named Mark Sichel.

TLC had no comment on the growing controversy when contacted by XFinityTV on Wednesday.

Speaking of “Toddlers & Tiaras,” you can catch a brand-new episode Wednesday night (Sept. 14) at 10/9c on TLC.

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.


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