Today was a glorious day, so we headed for the coast. Of course we expected the roads to be busy and the seaside towns to be even more packed and yes they were. The big advantage we have is that we are only a short drive from the North Antrim Coast. An absolutely stunning section of Northern Ireland, full of seaside towns and World heritage Sites like The Giants Causeway. The Giants Causeway and Carrick-A-Rede rope bridge usually feature quite high up the Fromers and lonely Planet lists of places to visit and I do thoroughly recommend them, if you ever decide to visit this wee country. They will take your breath away.
However, I digress from the main story. We decided to stop in one of the larger seaside towns for lunch and take the girls to the amusement rides. Our toddler just loves riding the carousel horses. After her 4th ride, I managed to prise her away with the promise of ice cream and a tiny lie that she could also have Candy Floss (there was no way, I was buying a 2-year-old a giant ball of spun refined sugar on a stick!) The ice cream made her forget about it, so I didn’t have to try to wrangle my way out it!
We took some cold drinks and ice cream and went to sit on the grass and watch the lifeboat men and women practising their drill, launching the boat etc. This section of grass also has events like radio road shows and children’s performers during the summer. Today however, there was a children’s beauty pageant. To be more precise a little girls Mini Miss World type contest. Bizarrely most of the competitors seemed to be from other parts of the UK rather than Northern Ireland, which leaves me in hope that maybe we aren’t that into this phenomena on this side of the Irish Sea yet.
All I can say is wow and not in a good way wow. Do people honestly think it’s cute to dress 4-6 year olds up in hair pieces, fake tan, false eyelashes and false nails. It has got to be the oddest and personally for me the most freakishly disturbing thing containing children that I’ve seen for a very long time. All these very pretty little girls, who would be just adorable as they are, made up to look like 25-year-old Miss Worlds, with spray tans ranging from David Dickinson to Robert Kilroy Silk! They had a ball gown section, so cue the ridiculous sequined Big Fat Gypsy Wedding style dresses that these poor little tykes could barely move in, complete with high heels. Then there was the costume section, which left me utterly speechless. There was one child dressed as Lady Gaga in a basque and platform boots and another as Beyoncé in a leotard and high heels. It was just wrong on so many levels. Holy smoke, these are children, tiny bloody children. We spend our lives going crazy about inappropriate behaviour, sexualising children, paedophiles, reporting images of mothers breast-feeding on Facebook, spitting feathers when someone posts an image of their children in the bath on Facebook and yet this seems to be ok! Seriously, to me this is not ok, this is more disturbing than any Facebook image I’ve seen of children in the tub.
Here they all were on full public display, with heaven knows who watching them and photographing them while they gyrate about on the stage in an attempted impersonation of Beyoncé dancing to Single Ladies. Wrong, just wrong. The tantrums and tears as they were eliminated were very sad to watch too from such little children.
I looked over at my 2-year-old and there she was in her regular children’s shorts with a Minnie Mouse t-shirt on, ankle socks and trainers, her hair tousled from whizzing around on the carousel and beginning to curl from the sea air. Her face covered in ice cream, her knees covered in grass stains as she lay with her nose pressed into the ground talking to a beetle and I smiled, because to me that’s exactly how she should be. A little child without a care in the world, other than where this beetle was going and why wouldn’t he climb onto her hand. She’s a bit of Tom Boy, yes she has some pretty dresses for Sundays and dressing up occasions, but they are little girl dresses, not some reincarnation of an Alexander McQueen. On the whole though, she’s happiest in shorts or jeans, getting dirty, crawling around the grass, digging in the soil or sand and investigating insects and I don’t mind a bit. Because this is her happy carefree childhood and it will be done her way. I couldn’t help but feel today that most of those little girls were doing all this because it was their mother’s way and not theirs, because their mother wanted to dress them up as dolls and make them perform. Ladies, if you ever feel tempted to take your daughter down this route, honestly think long and hard about it and maybe just buy yourself a doll instead and let your daughter be the gorgeous natural little girl that she is.
I don’t have a photograph of this travesty to share with you, number one because I wouldn’t photograph other people’s children without their consent and number two, I wouldn’t have wanted to photograph that show anyway. Instead I’ll attach some nice pictures of the North Antrim Coast, they are honestly much nicer to look at than a 5-year-old version of Lady Gaga!