03 September 2012

social commentary Sunday . . . 'child models, actors, athletes & stars'

Greetings all,
I find child beauty pageants wrong . . . the hair, make up, costumes & ridiculously inappropriate poses . . . what is childish about any of that??  What is with judging & competitions of children beauty full stop??  Even more alarming are the parents, living vicariously through their children, you see them on the side lines, reminding their child to "smile."  Surely if the child was having a good time, they'd be smiling, but there is nothing natural about child beauty pageants.
I have had strong views on child models too.  When we were living in Sydney 10 years ago, i was approached at shopping centres several times, asking if my 3 daughters would like to be models . . . very interested in my twins.  I went along to one agent to check it out, i wasn't serious but with a Hollywood actress cousin, i thought it might be interesting to see inside her world.  Twins are awesome for modelling, a single child can only 'work' 20 minutes an hour (or something like that) but twins, you can switch out & get 40 minutes 'work' each hour.  The basic story was that you pay a large up front fee for them to photograph your children & be on the books for when a brand needs models or actors to audition.  Immediately i felt really uneasy, especially as they kept insisting the twins could play a baby on a number of television shows, even though they are not identical, they weren't listening to me, they had dollars in their own eyes.  A childhood of dragging babies & toddlers around ALL DAY for a 5 minute audition without any guarantee of success sounded ridiculous.  Making money from my babies didn't sit right with me.  
Fast forward to teens . . . my eldest is being talent spotted at athletics.  I know the coaches have sport on the mind, but how young is too young to let your child travel interstate for sports, alone??  Last year she made the national finals for high school athletics, we were so thrilled but sending her to Queensland, to stay at a Uni campus & wander the grandstands for 3 days of competition, aged 12, supervised by who??  No darling, you can't go & bless her heart, she accepted that completely.  If my husband was in Australia & available to accompany her exclusively, we might have said yes.  
I heard supermodel Megan Gale recently say she believes 13 is far too young for a girl to be exposed to modelling (it's an adult world, high pressure + there is nudity/ dress changes - in front of who??)  I agree.  Do you know that cute children in the department store catalogues modelling swimwear, underwear & regular clothes - those catalogues have to be removed from the newspapers before they are handed to prisoners, for reasons i don't even want to mention.  
I'm not a fan of singing shows, so i cringed when Young Talent Time relaunched this year (after a couple of decades) & wondered how they would handle the over sexualisation of children these days & current/ modern song lyrics.  They confirmed it for me when a cast member aged 16 girl sang Jessie J's "i'm feeling sexy & free" & a talent hopeful sang Ella Fitzgerald's "at last my love has come along."  Ok, so Hi-5, Disney & Wiggles songs possibly aren't what children are listening to, but how one earth can an 8 year old be praised for singing sensual love songs when A Little Mermaid song can equally showcase her singing talent??  Who makes these inappropriate decisions??  Ditto X Factor/ Idol/ The Voice/ Got Talent auditions & competitions which include young teens . . . do they even understand the lyrics??   
Finally, last night flicking channels, i saw a sweet little 11 year old from the Blue Mountains, touted as wholesome & sweet by the interviewer, scored the role playing the young Pamela Travers (who wrote Mary Poppins) in a new Hollywood movie about Mary Poppins . . . & what did this little beaming face say "i want to be famous."  Ick.  All this after the Prince Harry naked photo scandals & everyone knows celebrities have zero privacy . . . who on EARTH would want to be famous??  Worse, her parents were standing there smiling.  Who on EARTH would want their child to be famous??  Give up their childhood, for what??  "Child star" is like curse.  FYI this young lady has had an agent since she was 5, so hardly plucked from obscurity to land the role.  Enough said.  Each to their own, not my child.
Watching the early news today, Australia is finally in line with other developed countries: one in five children is sexually abused, what a horrible record to achieve.  I know i have given my children every opportunity to avoid such an awful situation.  Missed opportunities, sure, if they are that beautiful, talented & athletic, those opportunities will still be there when they are 18.  Above all, not one of my children has ever shown the desire to be famous, or even rich, just to do their personal best & impress themselves.  My husband & i are so proud, thank goodness they have that mind set.  
Am i the only one who feels like this??  I appreciate children need to be cast in child roles, but who is protecting them??  Love Posie


Sarah B said...

No, you are not the only one to feel that way, count me in too and I'm not even a parent! Seriously? One in five children? How can that happen? I don't even know what to say to that.

Melbourne Girl said...

Spot on Posie!!! Everyone should be aware that if you have to pay up-front for photographs, as was offered to you and your daughters, it's a RIP-OFF big time!

Chances are you'd never get a call back because they are simply wanting you to have stars in your eyes and hand over big bucks for photos that will never get to an Agents desk.

I've had personal experience with this from a couple of angles....and a family member had a similar experience with someone noticing their young daughter. Money was handed over, photos taken...last they heard from anyone. Nothing!

If any of your kids are interested in acting/performing, get them to join a local theatre group. They'll have much more fun!


tinajo said...

Well, that a child claims she wants to be famous isn´t that strange after all - they have no perception of what it all could mean; as in no privacy/hard work and so on.

I also do think that many children go through that phase - the urge of "being someone", until they one day realize that they already are someone.

In other words; the kids don´t get it and are not to blame - the ones to blame are parents without sense and with dollar bills in their eyes. There has been too many bad examples of what can happen with parents managing their kids careers, I can´t even count them all.

When I was 16 a model scout asked me to come to the agency to take some pics and audition. It was a serious agency that had been active many years - and I was flattered as most 16 year old girls would, so off I went.

Well, the first thing they complained about was that my 170 cm was too short, and already there I wondered why they had asked me at the first place since my height was pretty obvious. Then they said that I could lose some weight.


I may have been 16 and flattered, but I was not stupid. I was 170 cm tall and my weight was 55 kilos - I KNEW I was very thin (runs in my family) so the idea of me losing weight was totally idiotic.

I also knew that my dad would go absolutely bananas if he ever noticed me eating less (I´ve always loved food), so I took all courage I had and told them "thanks, but no thanks".

Still to this day I feel proud over that moment - they didn´t get to me with their insane and twisted values. However; had I not been raised with sound values, having parents that knew the difference between right and wrong - who knows what might have happened? I would have been a much easier target.

There´s some businesses kids just should stay out of - however; without child actors some movies understandable could get very hard to make, so it´s complicated.

Sally said...

Nope. I'm with you on this. It is all just too much.
...and the sexually abused static is just too scary. It really freaks me out, especially when usually the assaulter is known to the child. It really makes me worried about leaving my children in other people's care. awful.

Sarah said...

I couldn't agree more. I admire how you raise your children in today's world. I see my nieces with their all too revealing clothes and hair colours etc and just cringe. I don't want that at all for my children.
I feel today's children are too vulnerable and pushed into that adult world just way too early

Naturally Carol said...

Well said! I totally agree with you on all counts. Most famous people want privacy as well and it's the one thing they just don't have! Everything comes with a cost.

Bree said...

I've got all that to look forward to with my two. Eek. I'll bite tho, who's the Hollywood cousin?

ClaireyHewitt said...

There was a baby/kids competition down at our local mall last year, I was walking into Kmart and saw them setting up, I laughed to myself, thinking they were mad, why bother trying to host such a competition around here.

Half an hour later I came out to swarms of crazy mothers and kids. The trophies were HUGE. People were paying a fee to get their kids judged and hope to win a trophy confirming their children were, the happiest, prettiest, sparlyest...

I walked past desperate to say, "look at your baby, tell them they are perfect, ou don't need a trophy to tell you that".

Of course I just walked by shaking my head.

sascedar said...

what strange ideals to teach our babies: your value is a perception of others about how you look. no thanks. i need to spend to much time and energy instilling values of kindness, cooperation and compassion to waste time and money telling my children that their worth is only skin deep. makes me very angry to see pagents and modelling for littlies seeming to grow. :( sarah

Mum on the Run said...

Sometimes I just want to put blinkers on and raise my children without all this external rubbish - but that's not practical or fair.
Unfortunately, we're parenting in the context of this crazy media driven (and sometimes sick) world - and need to prepare our children for it.
Shock horror - sometimes that involves the words 'no' or 'not yet'.

Polly said...

Kids need to be kids, let's protect them for as long as we can.