We're against child abuse, aren't we? Then why is Universal Royalty's kids' “beauty pageant” coming to Ireland?
Why are we prepared to let this Texas-based company parade our toddlers and little girls like whores for cash?
Cash paid by their parents.
The Universal Royalty pageant in Dublin is publicised on their website for September 21, but the location has not been disclosed for fear of protests.
However, RTE's Late Late Show has been in negotiation with the company to interview the organisers and child “beauty” eight-year-old Eden Alexxa Wood the night before.
Child psychologists have warned them not to give the pageant publicity.
I beg them to listen.
We adults are in charge here and we have a duty of responsibility toward children.
Sexualising them and parading them for money is dangerous and it should be banned. But we have more rules protecting heifers parading around a ring than we have protecting our beloved children.
Go on the internet and have a look at
Universal Royalty's made-up, primped-up little princesses if you have the stomach for it.
There's a show called Toddlers and Tiaras which shows them mincing and swaggering their little hips like catwalk queens.
There's a fair bit of controversy about these shows even in the US. I caught an interview with a few of the mums which was so sad. Big, fat, hulking women who probably have little girls inside them crying to be told they are pretty.
The mums had spent between $15,000 (€11,400) and $25,000 each on entering the pageants, which cost about $200 a pop, as well as the cost of tanning and nails and hair extensions and false eye-lashes and cutesy little outfits in the hope their kids will win the big prize.
This might be $10,000, not forgetting a lovely rhinestone crown and a 1.5 metre high trophy.
Some of the mums said they were banking the money to send their little girls to college and you got the impression this was the only way they would get there.
There are so many awful comments about these little girls on the internet and this is another way in which they are abused.
As one Australian psychologist said when the show hit Melbourne: “This is a child sexualisation pageant.”
Alright, it's true we already parade our kids in competitions. We dress them up in curly wigs to do slip-jigs and reels, we put tiaras on them on the day of their First Holy Communion.
But don't tell me this isn't different. This demands no input on the part of the child except looking cute.
And not looking cute like a child. Looking cute like a Barbie Doll. A woman in every way except for curves and wrinkles and menstrual cycles.
In an era when you can't drive school-kids to camogie without garda clearance, why do we not have laws to protect children from being used in this way?
We had a Children's Referendum which was meant to put the intentions of the UN Declaration on the Rights of the Child into our Constitution. The declaration asserts children's “right to privacy”.
The little Universal Royalty misses who toss their curls for thousands on Facebook are having their privacy invaded in a way which may stay with them for the rest of their lives.
We're going to have to get serious about protecting children's right to their own image and identity. We've going to have to get serious about sheltering them from prying eyes.
But before we have that discussion let's at least keep Universal Royalty off RTE.