There is a lot of argument that pageants provide helpful things like the ability to talk in front of crowds and poise during hard situations (though I'd say having to present a poster about your research while fending off the professors that hate your PI is a pretty good way to learn that as well) and the possibility of earning scholarships.
I can see both sides of the argument when a woman is old enough to decide she wants to get into that world and generally knows just what she's getting into, but every single reasoning behind why pageants are good falls by the wayside when it comes to baby idol.
What is Baby Idol? Only an incredibly stupid contest a local radio station is having here where parents send in pictures of their kids (must be from 6 to 24 months, so in other words the babies have no idea what's going on), the station puts the pictures up on the web, and then everyone gets to vote for who's the cutest and wins money (well the parent's anyway).
Let's face facts, radio stations are the last rung of creativity and are more prone to just stealing ideas from others. Googling "Baby Idol" brings up way more radio station web pages than I thought possible.
So what's the big deal? Why does this put a bee in my bonnet? It's just cute kids and they have no idea what's going on, right?
That's just it though. The babies are getting nothing out of it. There are no promises of scholarships or learning and growing through community service. No one get's close to anyone. or shares a bonding experience.
No, the parents may get some money if their baby is deemed the closest to societies standards of what a baby should look like (why do I have a funny feeling the winners are always white and blonde with blue eyes?) and the baby just may get to look forward to a future where they are associated with a picture of them naked playing in the tub.
There are enough PSA's out there telling teenagers and drunk college students that those picture you put up on the web will haunt you for the rest of your life. We can already see the backlash from Web 2.0. Is it really that hard to picture a good 10 years later little Johnie finds a picture of you from one of these stupid contests and promptly makes your life a living hell? Imagine how much worse it'd be if you find out that you were voted as one of the ugly babies? That's a great shot to the self esteem there.
Lasting pictures aside the whole thing just feels icky to me. It says that while the common adage that every child is beautiful in reality it is up to the public to decide just who is the most adorable and reward them accordingly while the parents of the losers should be shunned.
Must we enforce the rules that you are only worthy of rewards if you fit societies ideals of beauty when you're only 6 to 24 months old? How about we try just letting kids be kids for a few years and see how that goes?