JonBenet's Dad Calls Toddlers & Tiaras 'Unhealthy'

Part of what made the story of the murder of JonBenet Ramsey so salacious and tabloid-worthy is that — back in 1996 — it was the first most of us had even heard of the competitive world of high-glitz child beauty pageants. Today, seeing a heavily made-up 6-year-old parading around a stage in little more than false lashes and a bikini is, weirdly, almost commonplace with the success of reality shows like Toddlers & Tiaras and Little Miss Perfect.

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Today, JonBenet's father John Ramsey was on Good Morning America, promoting his new book The Other Side of Suffering, about how he dealt with the death of his little girl and the public scrutiny that ensued. (It took 12 years before the Ramseys were cleared of any wrongdoing in JonBenet's murder.) When asked about the surge in popularity of child pageant reality shows, he told Robin Roberts that the level of competition exhibited on the shows is "unhealthy." Additionally, Ramsey told Juju Chang that he regrets letting JonBenet participate in pageants at all, saying, "That possibly might have drawn attention to us. For advice to a parent is just recognize that, regardless of where you live, there, there could be evil around you. And don't be naive about it. And keep your kids protected."

JonBenet Ramsey's Father Regrets Letting Her in Pageants, Says 'Toddlers and Tiaras' Is 'Bizarre' [GMA]

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DISCUSSION

This kind of thing reminds me of being a little girl (under 9 years old) running around in the summers with no shirt and just a pair of shorts. I wasn't the only little girl that dressed this way on hot summer days, and my mother thought nothing of it. Of course, this was on our own property, and certainly there were pedophiles in the world then. I have a young daughter now. Never would I even entertain the idea of letting her out of the house without a shirt, no matter the heat. I do understand that sexual predation has not changed since I was a child, but sometimes I feel that the sexualization of children has increased and might even be normalized or on its way there.