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Tue, Nov 20, 2012
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Tiaras & Trouble


THE reality TV show on the child beauty pageant circuit in America has caused controversy since it first aired in 2009.

To call it warts and all would be an understatement. The past five seasons have featured tantrums from both pushy mothers and their dolled-up daughters, which have become rich fodder for talk-shows and snippets on YouTube.

Most of the controversy comes from how much make-up the girls wear and the costumes they put on.

The Huffington Post reported that in one season, a mother dressed her then four-year-old daughter in a padded bra along with sculpting underwear. This year, the woman’s estranged husband claimed that such outfits constituted sexual exploitation.

The mother could lose custody of the girl.

Yet the show gets ratings. But it also has its detractors, such as Facebook group Take “Toddlers And Tiaras” off the Air!


AN OFFSHOOT from Toddlers And Tiaras, but no less controversial.

It follows the life of Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson and her mother June “Mama” Shannon. The pair became famous thanks to “go-go juice”, an unlabelled pick-me-up given to Alana before a pageant show.

Her energy levels after drinking it raised questions of whether parents were drugging their children.

Alana hams it up for the cameras and comes up with odd phrases, such as the one that gave her the nickname – “A dolla makes me holla, honey boo boo, child”.

The show has drawn flak for perpetuating “white trash” stereotypes of their home state of Georgia. The show has an average of 2.4 million viewers an episode.

Daily Mail reported in October that the family is now paid US$20,000 (S$24,500) per episode, up from US$7,000.

TLC, the channel the show features on, also offered to move the family into a new, less-rundown home.

In a poll by E! Online the show is up for both best and worst reality TV show.

Success could be breeding a diva-ish attitude. In a recent appearance on the Dr Drew TV show, Alana slapped the eponymous host for asking a question.


IN THE world of child pageants, the sad case of JonBenet Patricia Ramsey is often brought to mind.

It was in 1996, in Boulder, Colorado, that the six-year-old girl was found bound and gagged in her parent’s basement .

She had been bludgeoned and strangled to death.

On Christmas Day that year, JonBenet’s parents – father John Ramsey and mother Patsy Ramsey – received a ransom demand.

Early the next day, JonBenet’s body was found in the basement and her parents quickly became prime suspects.

The fact that her parents had entered her in pageants did not help. The case was later dismissed for lack of evidence.

Since the murder, Mr John Ramsey has lost his reputation and business. His wife died of ovarian cancer in 2006.

Mr Ramsey has now moved on. He remarried last year and brought out his book on coping with tragedy – The Other Side of Suffering – earlier this year.

But he still hopes that his daughter’s killer will be found and brought to justice. The case is still open to this day.

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