Monday, February 15, 2010

Child Pageant TV Shows: A Pedophile's Heaven

by Stacy Dittrich

Clearly, I’m behind the times on this one. Many arguments have been waged against airing child beauty pageants on television -- or so I discovered after a little digging. Since I don’t watch much TV, I was flipping through the channels one day, and I came upon a small blonde child wearing more makeup than I've ever worn in my life. I assumed the show was a another documentary on the JonBenét Ramsey case.

Then I realized I was watching WE tv — which I believe stands for women’s entertainment. I was so far from being entertained I don’t know where to begin. The words "appalling" and "nauseating" come to mind.

Within a matter of seconds, I watched a mother grab her 5-year-old by the chin and force the entire contents of a Pixie Stick down her throat -- to keep the girl “energized.” The whining, exhausted, crying child looked like a pimped-up version of an American Girl doll. I was horrified, actually. As tiny contestant after tiny contestant paraded across the stage, shaking her hips and blowing kisses at the crowd, a sinking, disparaging feeling came over me. With my years of experience pursuing and dealing with pedophiles, I suddenly realized they've found heaven on Earth in shows like “Little Miss Perfect” — right there in the comfort of their own living rooms.

The parents of the little girls only exacerbate this. At one point, I watched as a mother inserted a “flipper” in her daughter’s mouth. Apparently, this is pageant-speak for special dentures. As the mother beamed and spun her daughter towards the father for approval, the child smiled — blinding the camera with the overly white mouthpiece. The father’s response summed up the show perfectly. The unfortunate part is that he was smiling as he spoke.

“She looks like a child prostitute,” he said.

Well, then. By all means, pimp her out in every living room across America, buddy. The pedophiles will love you that much more for it when it's your daughter they picture in their sexual fantasies. With luck, maybe she won’t be one of the unfortunate children they decide to pursue in real life.

I thought back to several of the cases of extreme child pornography I'd investigated. In these crimes, the pedophiles had stumbled onto a South American syndicate that distributed videotapes featuring young girls just for men like them. These tapes didn't show full-on kiddie porn. But in them, young girl between the ages of four and nine years old paraded around sensually for the camera. Despite their sadly and highly inappropriate behavior, the girls were clothed in most of the movies. In others, the film show them undress down to their underwear and play with their dolls.

If memory serves, one family made a series of movies -- featuring their daughter -- titled “Brazilian Lolita.” Obviously, her family knew they were onto something when pedophiles from around the world paid them for these tapes. And, in their eyes, were they really doing anything wrong? Their daughter was dressed, not engaging in sex acts, and merely flirting in front of camera.

Pedophiles, as disturbed as they are, will resort to anything to fulfill their fantasies and sexual urges. I've seen homes with stacks upon stacks of tabloid magazines. Ripped out and taped to their walls were pages featuring child actors and actresses; and newspaper clippings of young boys in snowball fights, playing t-ball, and swimming at the local pool. They also favor LL Bean kids and JC Penney children’s catalogs, to name just a few. Their fantasies demand the image of that young, beautiful, innocent child to be permanently embedded in their minds.

One suspect in particular, who openly volunteered his daily rituals to me, noted: “I’m in my own home, and I’m not hurting anyone.” True. But if you ask any expert in the field of sexual behaviors, it will be crystal clear that such rituals only satisfy them for so long. They escalate and escalate until the image no longer does the trick. They want and need to touch, smell, and feel the real child. It’s some pretty scary stuff.

A prime example is the recent case of a murdered, 7-year-old Florida girl, Somer Thompson. Her alleged murderer, Jared Harell, 24, stuffed his computer with child porn. We don't know how long Harrell had been viewing it, but my instincts tell me it was likely years. He probably finally tired of settling for images and acted out his fantasy in flesh and blood.

We're talking about images of young girls dressing and acting like grown women while bounding around a stage. What immediately comes to mind when viewing something like this photo of JonBenet Ramsey (at left)?

Whether you’re on the Team Intruder or Team John Ramsey side of JonBenet theories doesn’t matter. The bottom line is that when JonBenet performed in child pageants, it clearly caught someone’s attention.

Now, with shows like “Little Miss Perfect” or a similar show, “Toddlers and Tiaras,” on TLC (which ironically stands for The Learning Channel) — we've made pedophiles' pursuit of their fantasies that much easier. No longer must they physically travel to child pageants to scope out the young girls for their fantasies. No longer do they have to do the tedious work of finding out the child’s name or where she lives. “Brazilian Lolita?” Sorry, you’re out of business! WE tv and TLC conviniently provide the entertainment, the girls' names and hometowns, and their parents’ information.

The best part for the pedophile: it's completely legal. It's on cable, for crying out loud.

WE tv, although still airing “Little Miss Perfect” and using it to top the list of shows on its website, made a soggy attempt to appease people like myself who are outraged by the show:

"Documentaries are an integral part of WE tv programming. These series provide an inside look into a variety of topics, allowing viewers to form their own opinions. The programming in no way represents or implies a position by the network on any of the content."

This disclaimer is right at the top of the “Little Miss Perfect” web page. I’m sorry, but if the program is on your network, if you bought it and you air it, then in my opinion it certainly does represent your network. Still, I’ll give a slight nod to WE tv for even addressing the issue.

TLC did not.

Seriously, folks. Are we so desperate for reality-TV programming that this is the kind of show we have to resort to? Aren’t there enough other reality-show ideas floating around that don't put little girls at risk? We can't begin to identify all the pedophiles nationwide, but we continue to be vigilant, doing our best to protect our children. Do we really have to hand pedophiles their sick fantasies and evil acts on a silver platter, too?


Carrie said...

I've had to research a little into child beauty pageants for my webpage on JonBenet Ramsey; what I've read has really sickened me. How anyone can truly believe that is good practice is beyond me :(

FleaStiff said...

>clearly caught someone's attention ...
So far there is absolutely no evidence that the intruder in the JonBenet Ramsey case knew anything at all about her having participated in pageants.

I imagine there are excesses in dance lessons, horseback riding lessons, and whatever else little girls do to escape boredom.

Leah said...

I saw the program on TLC one evening while I was flipping theough channels and I was disgusted as well. I can't believe parents think this is ok. Most of those girls were miserable while their mothers had this glazed over look in their eyes like they were getting high off of it. It wasn't the least bit entertaining to me and I can't believe WE and TLC are airing such.

Anonymous said...

FleaStiff, there is no proof about anything in the Ramsey case. Except that it WASNT a family member. But another little girl that went to the same dance school as JonBenet was sexually assaulted by an intruder weeks after her murder.

California Girl said...

WE TV would obviously like to sell out and make a buck even if its making money from exploiting children. There is no excuse for these parents and stating that the kids love to do this is wrong. The parents have a sick need for attention and should be placed on the same level as parents with Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy. As in using the child to get attention. Sick.

Barbara aka Layla said...

Thanks for this excellent post on a topic that has sickened me for years. Its hard to fathom any mother (or father) wanting this for their daughter. It seems like it should be considered a form of child abuse, or maybe a mental illness.

I linked to you on my blog today:

shthar said...

Remember, it doesn't have to be good.

It just has to be cheap to produce!

Felicia said...

Very good post. I'd like to use some of this information on my blog if you don't mind, and I'll provide a link back to your site.


Anonymous said...

What about the mothers who put their little boys in the show and put lipstick and make up and eyeliner etc. Zander is one of them. The
mothers should have these children taken from them. Little Hope from Toddlers and Tiaras had a stroke and her mother was horrible to her on the video I just viewed no one that child had a stroke.

thirdwheel said...

Child pageant shows annoy the crap out of me. It's as though the mother is living vicariously through their child with absolutely no regard to their well being. Whenever I see one on the Lifestyle Channel or W, I keep flipping.

Mainstream Society said...

i hate these pageants as much as the next person but come on.... you are making a big deal out of nothing. i see some clips from toddlers and tiaras on the soup and generally the kids are happy. If questionable characters watch this crap then so what. Its a business and as long as the pedophiles are not out reeking havoc then nothing is wrong with airing the program. So chillax

SpeakUpNow said...

Nah, they APPEAR happy. Watch some background reporting and 'behind the scenes' on this stuff - it's terrible.

Like the post states - Pedophiles' show of shows.

A convicted pedophile, Jesse Whitaker, from Northern Vermont, has this listed as one of his 'likes' on Facebook. Come on!?

It disgusts me!