Monday, April 21, 2008

Hell revisited- I should have known better.

Now, I'm sure many of you must wonder what could drive a SAHM to claim she has been to hell not once, but twice.  No, I'm not talking about the obvious pains of childbearing, or even the scars of childhood acne.  I am talking about sitting for 4 hours at the Miss Virginia Pageant in Richmond yesterday.  For the 2nd time in my life.  I should have known better.  It's not like I was a pageant virgin.

First let me say this.  There should be rules about who can go to a pageant.  No one with a blog should be allowed in, because it's just too much fodder for one post.  I could feed off this for DAYS.  Weeks.  Possibly months, except that it's an election year and I'm sure one of the candidates will screw up & I can talk about that instead.

My neighbor's daughter, a lovely 19 year old girl, was nominated to compete in Miss Virginia Teen.  So, in support of her, I took my daughter (mistake #1) and went to watch, cheer her on, and as it turned out- wish for death by the 3rd hour.  The thing is, they combine the Miss Teen Virginia with THREE other pageants in the same genre.  So, I essentially sat through 72 contestants competing for the coveted Miss Virginia title in four age categories.  

Interestingly, despite the fact that they "claimed" to be judging those girls on a good personality, it did seem that they means of judging personality are determined by the firmness of their rock hard abs and perfectly toned legs.  Why am I focused on this when there is so much to choose from?  Well, for one, I had my impressionable 8 year old with me.  

C is a lovely girl, very pretty and very interested in the marketing that goes behind being the prettiest in her group.  (People tell me all the time that she is the prettiest in her group.)  She is thin with a beautiful unusual face, wide cheek bones and good hair.  With a swim suit model aunt and beauty-queen-like "nana", she certainly has the genes to grow into a fine looking young woman.  She is not however, brimming with self esteem.  I think its in the "nature" of her personality to question her self worth, no matter how much we "nurture" her.  So, in an obvious moment of stupidity, I have exposed her to the worst example of superficial beauty meets vanity meets ego run amok.  I mean- what was I thinking???  

(((In my defense, I'll tell you what I was thinking.  C watched all the pre-pageant fun.  She watched us help Neighborgirl choose her beautiful clothes and hair styles.  She saw the great shoes and she adores Neighborgirl so I thought- she has earned the right to watch 20 evening gowns parade across a stage.  (at the time I thought there was only one pageant going on).)))  

As the mother of an uber thin child with a weight concern, I could not have predicted the impact of the day, but let's be honest, I must have had SOME idea of how it would end.  

C is now toying with the idea of competing in a "beauty pageant".  She thinks she could eat Special K and lose some weight.  Did I mention that she is 51 inches tall & 48 pounds and FRICKIN EIGHT YEARS OLD?  Well crap.  Where have I gone wrong?  I try to preach "It's not about being thin, it's about being Fit and Strong".  Obviously my message has been distorted by my own neuroses and those stupid Special K cereal boxes.  Life with kid is so much easier before they learn to read.  

If I tell her she can't do a pageant, she will think I don't believe she can win or that I think she is TOO something (too fat, too thin, too shy, too etc).  If I tell her she can do it, I will be feeding the monster. 

Speaking of feeding things...  Mistake #2 was not taking any food.  Watching 72 underfed young women march across a stage in a swimsuit is enough to make anyone hungry.

I should have known better.


TMB said...

Seriously G - you totally should have trusted your first instinct and bolted for the door when you got the invitation ... as a product of a pageant family (My sis was Miss NJ in one of those many age categories you mentioned), I TOTALLY agree with you ... This is how I see it - pageants are nothing but evil ... really evil "scholarship programs"

Celebrate You! (A Dove Campaign) said...

I've been in pageantry for nearly 20 years, and yes, they are a playing field for bubbly fodder. However, they are not all the same and find the right system has a lot to do with how you will do. As a facilitator for the Campaign for Real Beauty, I also understand the pressures that can be on a young lady in the pageant industry. It's an interesting conflict, but in the end, do what makes you or C happy - that's what will be best for both.