Little Girls And Dress Up (Jon-Benet Related)

I’ve been reading a couple of books on the Jon-Benet Ramsey murder. Both of them indicate how her mother dressed her up, one says “as a 30 year old slut”

But that aside, not ever having kids, don’t little girls love to play dress up.

I would think a little girl Jon-Benet’s age would get a kick out of wearing all that fancy dresses and such like that.

I mean I realize there are some, for lack of a better word, “Tom Girls,” but still as kind of a general rule, wouldn’t most little girls enjoy dressing up like Jon-Benet’s mother dressed her?

This question is obviously addressed to parents of little girls.

There’s a huge difference between choosing to be a princess or a tiger for an afternoon and spending hours every day practicing your routines before driving for more hours every weekend to compete.

IIRC, one of the major complaints about Jon-Benet’s costumes (from other show moms) was the ‘cut-out’ aspect, where she showed way more leg and torso skin than other contestants.

Like anything, there will be kids and parents that really enjoy it. There will be parents that push ridiculously hard because they’ve invested too much of their own self-worth in their children’s prize winning capability.
ETA: Maggenkid always wanted to dress as either a Pirate or later, as Hermione Grainger from the Harry Potter books. Not show winning choices.

One of the founders of the whole “child beauty” pageants had a change of heart of Jon-Benet was murdered and wrote a tell all book. They don’t simply dress the girls up in fancy clothes, nor do they merely go for outfits which would be seen as provacative if they were worn by adult women, but do insane things like putting duct tape on the girls chests in such a manner as to imply they’ve got boobs.

Nor do the girls necessarily enjoy it. One of the TV news magazines did an expose of the pageants and showed that many of the girls being physically abused because they either didn’t want to “perform” or weren’t performing the way their mother wanted them to.

Again I ask, whose needs are being met

Those pagents are the absolutely creepiest thing in the world.

Kids get kicks out of all sorts of things that parents have to limit or manage responsibly. Like someone else said, it’s a matter of degree.

When we played dress-up, the “dresses” were old lace curtains draped around our shoulders, our mother’s slips (over our clothes), shoes that were too big, and make-up we applied ourselves. We were fortunate to have the occasional tiara from a Halloween costume. We weren’t teeny little versions of grown-up women. We were little girls who were fascinated with the big girl stuff.

FWIW, some little boys love to play dress up too. At my daughters’ old daycare, there was one 3-4 year old boy who was unsatisfied with the boys choices of costumes (pirate or Peter Pan mostly), so he was often wearing a princess dress when I arrived to get the girls.

But yeah - little girl pulls dress out of box and wears it for a few hours - good. Little girl forced to wear dress and perform in front of lots of adults, whether she wants to or not - bad.

My sister and I were decidely not tomboys and we found the whole idea of dress-up somewhat boring. If you were going to make believe you were doing something, you could make believe you were wearing clothing that fit in that situation, too, and as a bonus, you didn’t have to put anything away afterward. This bit especially appealed to my sister who would never put away toys or clothes without being harangued endlessly.

My two daughters loved to dress up, but usually as part of an imaginary story: they were princesses going to a ball, or they were ‘mommies’ taking their baby dolls somewhere. They stole my shoes, they had a box full of dress-up clothes, and occasionally they were allowed to go wild with my makeup. It usually ended up looking more like a couple of clowns than sluts. Small girls don’t have good coordination skills. They didn’t care, they were involved in their play. But I didn’t take them out in public like that. Both of them are very creative to this day, and I think those imaginary worlds were very good for them. Putting them in slutty clothes and parading them around, expecting them to smile and show off is not “dressing up” in my opinion.

My two girls love to dress up, but that’s very different than wearing a coordinated outfit that Mom chose, which has to be cared for carefully, and spend hours driving, sitting quietly while having hair and make-up done, practicing routines, and performing whether you like it or not.

Dress-up involves doing your own thing–whether that’s being a knight, a mouse, an ancient Egyptian, Obi-Wan Kenobi, or a princess (some of my girls’ favored personas). You get to make some of your own pieces–like my daughter who makes sandals out of paper and yarn, or a shield from cardboard. You do your own hair with every barrett you’ve got, and it takes 2 minutes. Then you go jump around and run and act out a story, which is rather hard on the clothing.

Dress-up is all about choosing who to be, and in pageants, there’s no choice. There are only requirements.

Second. I know a woman who put her daughter into kiddy pageants. Said daugher is now 20 years old and totally messed up. She judges everyone by their beauty and doesn’t see why she should get a free pass based on looks.

So if I got this right, little girls like to play dress up so long as THEY get to choose the kind of clothes they can play with.

Actually, yeah, I was going to bring this up, too. I don’t know much about the child beauty pageant scene, but considering how tough it is for girls to grow up even without all that, it must screw with your mind in terms of how you see yourself and other people. I think for that reason, I’d never want to put a kid through that.

Plus it just seems so strenuous. I think it’s one thing to give a kid some dress up clothes and your old make-up to play for a few hours on their own, but another thing to drill them on what to wear, what to say, how to pose. Kind of like how kids like ice skating and sports, but it’s probably not all that much fun for most kids to live the life of an Olympic figure skater or gymnast.

Yes, and their choices tend to be based on their own imaginations and how they perceive the world, rather than on adult ideas of female sexuality. Any time I have seen any kind of documentary footage of child beauty pageants, there have been little girls fighting with their mothers about their outfits, usually with Mom being upset that the girl is messier than the pageant look requires.

I think maybe pageantry is like the evil twin of playing dress-up. Every element of what makes dressing up good is inverted into its opposite. Same with playing dolls, since the mothers are sort of treating their daughters more like dolls to be dressed up and shown off than like people.

I’m not a parent but I was a little girl, does that count?

I wasn’t particularly a tomboy except in this respect. I had knock-down drag-out fights with my mother whenever she tried to dress me in anything other than jeans and a T-shirt. I remember victoriously wearing a dinosaur T-shirt to church one day. And a photo of me at a family wedding, in a frilly dress, with a black scowl on my face.

To this day, I’d happily wear jeans and a T-shirt (a dinosaur one, even!) to church, to weddings, to costume parties, etc.

Not all little girls like dressing up.

I really don’t have a very strong opinion on this issue but for the sake of balance, I might as well defend the unpopular view.

But then again, there are a lot of childhood activities that require practice and other kinds of time commitment. Is every parent who pushes their kid to take music lessons and then practice at home being a lousy parent?
Beauty pageants may seem frivolous to a lot of us, but you could argue that girls do benefit from having the chance to learn about poise, accepting losses gracefully, fashion, etc. as well as just getting the added time/attention from their moms.
I can understand the concern about sexualizing young girls, because I do think that happens too early in this culture. I would hope that people who make their little girls look like tehy have boobs are marked down in the contest.
If you feel like by definition beauty pageants are wrong because dressing up little kids will attract pedophiles, should little girls avoid activities like ballet dancing, gymnastics, or figure skating too? You could argue that putting kids in tight leotards for events like that gives pedophiles the chance to ogle them too.

I don’t picture myself ever putting my own kids in beauty pageants, but then again I’ve never liked fashion or makeup stuff all that much. I could see how I might feel differently if those were things I liked, and how a little girl who is inclined to like fashion and makeup kind of stuff might enjoy the chance to get dolled up and go on stage.
If the family makes the kid feel bad for losing, sure, that is messed up…but that can happen in any competitive event kids are in. If they are doing it for fun, I could see it being positive for the kid to have an activity they can do with their mom like that.

If you really want to be disturbed by this, read, “My Sister, My Love,” by Joyce Carol Oates.

This just seems different than “Oh, play piano an hour a day.” This seems more like play piano till your fingers bleed…pageants seem like just so much work that could be better spent letting kids be kids. And I’d say that about parents who are obsessive about athletics or music or anything, really. At some point, if the passion isn’t within, you can’t force a kid to do it.

You have a point here. I don’t think I’d avoid it for my own kid because of the pedophile angle, but rather because it would make ME uncomfortable. I don’t like seeing tarted up kids. I don’t like the idea of airbrushing the “flaws” out of a seven year old. It’s creepy and it seems sad. I mean, I’m not saying every kid who does it is going to emerge screwed up. Just that I don’ think I’d be doing a child any favors by already making them hyper aware of their bodies like that. I think we get self-conscious about our bodies way way too early as it is!