UK mothers are currently facing a great deal of criticism after their teenage daughters were allowed to pose for highly sexualized photographs—all in the name of a stupid fucking beauty pageant, of course.
The Miss Teen Queen UK "pageant" is a competition that promises to give 13-16 year old girls their ticket into the "world of modeling." The website is disgusting: the young women are posed in sexy, provocative pictures, with most of the girls giving "come hither" stares and showing off their bodies in the type of poses one expects to see on a Barely Legal! porn site. It is, for lack of a better description, a bit of a perv's paradise: many of the underage girls are bent slightly forward, showing off their cleavage, and their real names, interests, age, and yes, even their bra sizes, are posted below their photographs.
There are also several photographs of 14 and 15 year-old girls laying down with their legs in the air. Claude Knights of the children's charity Kidscape calls it "a shop window for paedophiles," and he's not far off. It's horrible, and I feel like I need to clean my computer eight million times to get the creepiness off of my screen. (The picture posted above is of an 18-year-old contestant—I didn't want to post the pictures of the underage girls.)
Naturally, it's the mothers of these young women who are singled out and blamed for "allowing this to happen." Beverley Pierce, whose daughter, Tamara, is a finalist in the competition, thinks the pictures aren't a big deal, and that there's nothing wrong with her daughter posing in sexy pictures in order to advance her modeling career. "'A pageant like Miss Teen Queen is perfect because it means Thalia can carry on modelling without worrying about whether or not she's a size 6. Girls of all shapes and sizes can enter, and the last thing I want is for her to start worrying she needs to lose weight," Beverley says, "Perverts could just as easily have been looking at Thalia in any of the other modelling shoots she's done over the years." Oh! Well!! Then whatthefuckever, right? If perverts are already checking out your kid, what's another damn pageant to add to the mix?
Lina Perrini, director of the pageant, stands by her organization and says there's nothing wrong with the pictures on the site: "As for whether or not I'm encouraging girls to grow up too quickly, well, unfortunately girls of 13 are thinking about their looks and figures regardless of whether they enter this competition. At their age, I was reading Bunty and playing with my toys. But I know from research we've done that in the UK today, girls of that age are already drinking alcohol and reading OK! magazine." So that makes it okay to post kiddie-porn esque pictures of them in the name of "modeling"? Are you fucking serious? Maybe instead of saying, "Well, screw it, they're already drinking alcohol, let's have them pose with their legs in the air," maybe you should start a pageant that encourages young women to have respect for their bodies and provide them with a positive alternative to OK Magazine and getting wasted after school. God forbid we ever encourage young girls to do anything else but shut up and look sexy.
'I do not encourage overt sexualisation," Perrini says, noting that she won't allow contestants under 16 to wear bikinis. But one look at her website says otherwise: the site, and the pageant, are filled with pictures that scream "inappropriate" and "over-sexualized." Whoever wins the pageant supposedly gets a modeling contract, makeup, and free clothes. But in reality, with a pageant like this, there are no winners, unless you count the people who are currently making money by broadcasting pictures that probably never should have been taken in the first place.