This dude is charged with murdering a woman unfortunate enough to have married him — she documented his violent episodes in her diary — and the Beeb reports that she had a “volatile personality”?
* * * * * * * * * *
In other antifeminist news, yesterday the satellite dish at Spinster HQ received a program called “Little Miss Perfect.” This turned out to be a reality show about women who have internalized the Global Accords Governing Fair Use of Women to the extent that they embrace an astonishing hobby. The hobby is the competitive display of their female children, whom they trick out in the most extreme, sexualized feminine drag imaginable, at an event called the Little Miss Perfect Pageant. Cameras follow around two young hopefuls and their mothers as they practice “wow-wear” dance routines, rent cheezy dresses, and glam up for the competition. Like all reality shows, the subtext of “Little Miss Perfect” is “Get a load of these weirdos!”
Of passing interest: the Little Miss Perfect Pageant is governed by a feminine male emcee. He is the only male character in the show. He sings a song about dreams coming true to the tots as they contort themselves into the celebrated “pretty feet” pose. I experience a momentary pang of prurient curiosity about this slightly sinister dude, whose degraded circumstances I perceive as dangling somewhere between bathos and pathos. What bizarre fusion of the tragic and the mundane might lead a girlyman to wind up singing syrupy ballads to creepy-looking kids at Little Miss Perfect pageants in meeting-rooms at Marriott hotels in red states? I guess I’ll never know.
Of course, now he’s on national satellite TV in stunning high-def, so I suppose it’s a moot point.
Meanwhile, the kids are on stage, gleaming in “eveningwear”: yards of gem-studded organza, full makeup, false eyelashes, spray tans, giant wigs, acrylic nails, and fake teeth. They look like they were dipped in a mixture of glucose and polyurethane, polished with an orbital waxer, and finished off with a couple of cans of Aquanet. They are 8-year-old proto-pole-dancing virgins with unceasingly bared teeth who shake their moneymakers and wink come-hitherly at the judges.
Fortunately, the gaudy spectacle did not blow my entire tiny mind, for I am acquainted with the child pageant phenomenon. The library at Spinster HQ contains a pink coffeetable book entitled High Glitz: The Extravagant World of Child Beauty Pageants. It’s full-o Susan Anderson’s lurid photographs of teensy beauty queens. In the foreword to High Glitz a chappie named Robert Greene makes a statement with which I cannot quibble:
“We are not used to treating the inner lives of young girls with the proper seriousness — as a subject worthy of study and analysis.”
This is certainly true of the producers of “Little Miss Perfect.” They depict the mothers as slightly batshit and the inner lives of the young girls as non-existent. The resulting pseudo-documentary smells, predictably, of burnt polyester.
Greene, however, chides horrified and nay-saying spectators for what he perceives as an outdated unwillingness to accord basic human agency to pageant contestants. He argues that everything about humans is “artificial” whether it is obvious to adults or not; therefore these junior artifice-junkies are cutting-edge visionaries and artistes, and their unsparingly spangled exaltation of fembottery is the authentic pre-pubescent girl fantasy. In other words, cheap frills is their culture, it has legitimacy, and you’re unevolved if you imagine that these kids are nothing more than victims of their batty stage mothers’ frustrated longings.
Thus far Greene and I are two hearts beating as, perhaps, one-and-a-half, but we part company altogether when he launches into a paean to the supposedly extraordinary insights of Victorian pedophile Lewis Carroll, whom Greene lauds as the lone personage in all of recorded history who has given the inner lives of young girls their due.* And when he as good as declares that child beauty pageants are the greatest thing since high-speed GPS internet iphone video chat blog shopping, I clench up; the desire to magnify femininity by a factor of about 6 million and put it on public display may be genuine, but, since femininity is the practice of obeisance to oppressive mores, pageants don’t exactly amount to the pinnacle of human endeavor, or even a minor victory for Truth and Beauty.
However, Greene gets no argument from me when he asserts that, unlike boys, who are applauded for their active inventiveness, little girls are universally and sexistly seen as “essentially passive and weak” and incapable of inventing a meaningful culture. There can be no doubt that human society generally smirks condescendingly at female children, dismissing them as vapid impotents-in-training, and that this treatment is totally bogus.
I further agree that, as far as the participants themselves are concerned, this kiddie burlesque has at least the same (if not greater) philosophic value as playing soccer or performing at a piano recital. An adult spectator may not credit it, but, given the porn-dominated zeitgeist, competing for rhinestone crowns by transforming into idealized miniature sexbots is a perfectly valid and fulfilling pursuit that has, from the perspective of the kid, nothing to do with seduction or titillation, and everything to do with plain old human creative impulses. What does a 7-year-old know from titillation? If a spray-tanned tap-dancing kindergardener in a wiglet and off-the-shoulder cupcake dress evokes spasms of horror in the onlooker, it’s certainly not the kid’s fault; she’s merely coloring with the available crayons, and plainly having pretty high time doing it. It’s not the stage mother’s fault, either; she indulges the kid’s young dream with thousand-dollar gowns, rhinestone corsetry, professional coaches, and bionic dentures, not because she’s a psycho abuser, but because she just wants her kid to excel at something.
But won’t they be scarred for life? Undoubtedly, but not because of the tawdry nature of the Little Miss Perfect contest. Beauty pageants don’t fuck kids up. Growing up in a culture that despises them fucks them up, and no little girl is immune from that.
I submit that anyone who is uncomfortable with Little Miss Perfect is ethically obliged to be just as uncomfortable with femininity in general. Little Miss Perfect is merely one of a gazillion equally nauseating points on the Porno-Feminine Continuum within which all female citizens of the globe are confined by a culture of oppression.
* Mr Greene apparently feels that Charles Dodgson’s hobby as a child pornographer uniquely qualified him as an expert on girl culture. Forget The Secret Garden, Mrs Basil E Frankweiler, Go Ask Alice, It’s Me, Margaret, A Wrinkle in Time, Diary of Anne Frank, etc.