Published 7:00 am Wednesday, September 17, 2014

I have not watched the Miss America pageant since I was a child.

I enjoyed watching the pretty ladies in their sparkling gowns sing, dance and show off their talents.

My first time watching it again, occurred recently when I was viewing the sensationalized YouTube video clip of Miss New York playing with a red cup.

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As an adult, my views on pageantry have changed.

Admittedly, I have watched the reality show “Toddlers and Tiaras.”

I realize that this show is loosely based on reality and I’m pretty sure there is a scripted version of each episode.

However, at times, what does seem real is the child’s reaction to constant practice, make-up, long pageant days and overbearing parents living vicariously through the lives of their children.

The children scream, cry and throw temper tantrums, as children are prone to do when they are forced to do something they do not want to. On the other hand, some of the tykes really do seem to enjoy the spotlight.

The girls wear an enormous amount of makeup and their hair is teased and sprayed so high it could almost touch the ceiling.

They don’t look like children at all and they are certainly not dressed in proper children’s attire.

I can’t say that I’m for pageants, especially when babies and toddlers are involved.

At that age, they are incapable of making decisions for themselves based on their own needs and desires.

I haven’t been able to come up with a good reason as to why parents appear to enjoy dressing their kids up like grown-ups and subjecting to them to being judged for the most part based on their looks and how they walk and talk.

Once a child is old enough and capable of making that decision, then yes, pageants can be a rewarding venture.

There is scholarship money and many other benefits to competing and winning in pageants.

My only hope is that parents keep in mind that this is their child’s life to live, not theirs, and be respectful of their decisions.