Polimicks

Leftist commentary from a mouthy bitch

Why You Won’t Hear Me Bagging On Toddlers and Tiaras.

Right now I want to talk about televised Class Warfare and the lower classes as the jesters of the Left.

Now, I think we all know what a screaming, pinko, commie, bleeding heart liberal I am.  Never a whinging Lefty, I’m a jumping up and down on your throat in combat boots Lefty.  However, I also come from what could generously be called the lower middle class.  Generously.

Yeah, I do think it's grotesque. But I see where it comes from.

Toddlers and Tiaras has become a sort of shorthand for some liberals for all that is wrong with lower class Red-Staters.  I mean, most of the families depicted are pretty damn Red-State. (You’ll note I’m not using the word “conservative,” there’s a reason for that.)  This show is also a “guilty pleasure” for a lot of my liberal friends, because, let’s face it, it reinforces their feelings of comfortable superiority over “those people.”  The reason I want to write about this is that it’s all about the use of media to keep the peons squabbling and at each other’s throats instead of paying attention to the robber barons behind the curtains. By televising shows like this and the show built around the Duggars, it serves to further divide the Left-leaning population from the Right-leaning population, when we have way more in common than most of us are comfortable admitting.

The main reason that I can’t be amused by Toddlers and Tiaras, is that while I agree that the majority of the families they show are train wrecks (or rather are edited to look as train wrecky as possible), all I see are mothers desperate for their little girls to do better than they did, reach further, go higher.  Whether they consciously know it or not.  Some of those women may well be living vicariously through those little girls, but part and parcel of that is wanting their little girls to succeed where they didn’t or couldn’t.  To me there is nothing funny about people doing everything they possibly can to see their children reach a better life.  If the methods are flawed as hell, that’s because they’re working with the tools they know.

A lot of women, particularly educated women, seem to think that it should be blatantly obvious to all women that Feminism is the way to go, be self-sufficient, take care of yourself, plan pregnancies or not have children at all.   To women who have been raised to let men make all their decisions, or at least the major ones, the idea of thinking for themselves can be downright terrifying.  If you’re raised with it drilled into your head at every turn that you are inferior, can never be as smart as a man, or even better yet that God Himself has decreed that you are lesser, it’s hard to shake that kind of programming.  Even those of us raised by Feminist parents are subject to fairly high levels of that kind of bullshit on a daily basis from the culture at large.  When you don’t have the counter balance of the most important people in your life telling that it isn’t so, when they spend their lives telling you that it’s all true and worse…  It takes a lot to break that bullshit. So, no, I don’t condemn those women for doing the best they can with the tools they’ve got.

Education is a privilege, and a good education is an even bigger privilege.  Public education in this country is far from even.  Curricula and budgets vary wildly from school district to school district, let alone city to city, county to county or state to state.  While children raised in more affluent neighborhoods and suburbs may get taught from up to date textbooks using all new computer equipment, people in poorer neighborhoods or rural areas may be learning from old textbooks, on substandard equipment, and being taught things in public school that quite frankly contradict everything that “Separation of Church and State” actually means.

If no one in your life ever tells you that you can be more than just someone’s wife, then you’re going to groom your daughters to angle for the “best” husband they can get.  That’s survival.

Do I hate it?  Oh, hell yeah.  Does it make me sad as hell every time someone posts a clip off that stupid show?  Yes.  And it makes me feel even worse to know that otherwise caring and empathetic liberals are laughing at these people in a stunning lack of empathy.

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11 comments on “Why You Won’t Hear Me Bagging On Toddlers and Tiaras.

  1. spitfire
    March 12, 2012

    Holy crap. Just YESTERDAY I was trying to explain to someone why I feel uncomfortable mocking this show. I agree with everything you’ve said here (especially the stuff about not condemning women who are doing what they can in the world they know) but I wasn’t able to articulate it. … I’m glad to know I am not alone in this feeling!

    Like

    • polimicks
      March 12, 2012

      Feel free to link this as many places as you want. Share on FB probably won’t work, as I keep my FB locked down pretty tight. But link away. I think if more liberals realized what they were doing by watching these shows, they might pull their heads out of their asses about all this class warfare shit.

      Like

  2. Ann
    March 12, 2012

    Good points. I personally think this as a way of life is a travesty, though I don’t mind the isolated contest (c’mon, whose little sister WASN’T in a Princess pageant at some point in the Midwest or South?). But I still can’t make fun. Hell, I can’t even watch it. I end up feeling more sorry than anything for them.

    (I would point out there are plenty of us girls who grew up in Podunk and didn’t participate in these things. In my case, a lot early on had to do with how fat and not-too-pretty I was; later, I just didn’t care. I learned my looks were NOT my ticket anywhere. Now I don’t have to worry about losing them in my old age. 😉 )

    I reserve laughing and pointing for political punditry – I figure laughs is why God gave us Santorum, Gingrich, Palin, et. al. They sure can’t be meant to be taken seriously.

    Like

    • polimicks
      March 12, 2012

      Yeah, I was never in any of those things, either, and neither was my sister. But I had friends whose moms did it with, or rather to, some of them. Dance lessons, voice lessons, hair, make up… for a couple it ended with particularly awkward adolescences.

      My folks emphasized education and intelligence over all else, except possibly athletic ability… which is why I have bad knees today.

      Like

  3. Sarmonster
    March 12, 2012

    I haven’t watched the show, so from the clips I’ve seen (and Sunshine State) I had always run on the assumption that the kids were the progeny of well-off Californian trophy wives. I was puzzled as to why they would take the effort and resources used for these contests and instead cultivate the children’s interest in genetics or some other worthy, lucrative pursuit. This post was an eye-opener as to why they likely don’t. Thanks.

    Like

    • polimicks
      March 12, 2012

      Yeah, there are a lot of people in this country who never got the message that women can do whatever they want, and don’t need men. My own family (grandparents and beyond) couldn’t understand why I’d waited so long to get married, at 22. They were very concerned that I was a lesbian or something, not that they’d SAY it. People from more moneyed, upper class backgrounds or even less monied but more education focused and such don’t get why when Ogre and I had been married for two years, when I went home for a wedding the two questions I answered that weekend were, “Why are you still in school, you have a husband?” and “Why don’t you have kids yet, is there something wrong with you?” That was at around 24 or 25.

      A lot of America still operates on that continuum.

      Like

      • Nerea
        June 26, 2012

        I can’t believe it, seriously. Here in Spain we marry at 30-something. Marrying at 22 is WAY TOO YOUNG, nobody is going to ask you about it, if you marry at that age, then the question is “are you pregnant or what? why so young?”. Marrying at 26-27 is marrying young here, to be honest. Although my country has had a dictatorship and we have had a very non-feminist past, even the old people get that women can do their business. I don’t know, I’m surprised. They sell me the US as the big potence in the world and I read this. This is like in the 50’s, 60’s here in Spain! And I hate those shows… in Spain they have never existed and we simply don’t understand why children have to compeate about beauty… they’re children! When we see that on a movie or something we say “these americans are crazy or what?”. Good article.

        Like

  4. Mila
    March 12, 2012

    Even without the inferiority brainwashing, it’s not hard for these women to see what it’s going to take to get their daughters out of their current circumstances. Like basketball for boys in the cities, which everyone seems to understand.

    But to be honest, I watch that show when I come across it for the kids who are eating up every minute on stage and the dads who think it’s all too much fun to miss. This is probably the same mindset that keeps me from putting “enough conflict” in my short stories, and I realize it must be pretty rare.

    Like

  5. Kristin
    March 12, 2012

    I feel the same way about this when people see ‘fat’ as shorthand for conservative, or Red-State, or whatever. Smirking liberals LOVVVE to laugh and/or rage about how all those silly fat Red-Staters don’t want Obama in their healthcare! It happens a LOT here in Seattle. But of course you know that, having written on the topic many times…

    Like

  6. MIke S.
    August 16, 2013

    “The reason I want to write about this is that it’s all about the use of media to keep the peons squabbling and at each other’s throats instead of paying attention to the robber barons behind the curtains.”

    I realize I’m a year and a half late to the party, but I think that sentence nails the overarching situation in a nutshell. I’m glad I found this site. The success of reality television is, “My life may be in a shambles, but at least I’m not as (desperate/stupid/shallow/naive/fat as) ______.”

    Like

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This entry was posted on March 12, 2012 by in Class, Featured Articles, Feminism, Media, Sexism.

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