Voyeur, Myself

In the case of child beauty pageants, Orenstein offers a shrewd critique of why media exposés of the phenomenon are so perennially popular. They “give viewers license, under the pretext of disapproval, to be titillated by the spectacle, to indulge in guilty-pleasure voyeurism,” she observes. “They also reassure parents of their own comparative superiority by smugly ignoring the harder questions: even if you agree that pageant moms are over the line in their sexualization of little girls — way over the line — where, exactly, is that line, and who draws it and how?”

That’s from today’s NYTimes review of Peggy Orenstein’s Cinderella Ate My Daughter. And while I’m definitely interested in the book, I’m even more interested in this bigger issue that she has hit upon here — the way we watch and read this and similar material (be it child pagents or something else) and both disapprove of what we are viewing/reading while being entertained at the same time.  Something worth reflecting on, I say.

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One response to “Voyeur, Myself

  1. Amanda

    Read James Kincaid’s book Child Loving. Excellent (if controversial) study of just this question (why do we demonize the sexualization of children while loving it at the same time?), from a scholar of children’s literature.

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