TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. INTRODUCTION 1.1 PURPOSE 1.2 DATA DESCRIPTION 2. BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO CHILD BEAUTY PAGEANTS AND TODDLERS & TIARAS 3. TELEVISION AND REALITY TV AS A MEDIUM 4. REALITY TV RESEARCH 4.1 MEDIA SPECTACLES 4.2 OBSCENITY OF TODDLERS AND TIARAS 4.3 USES AND GRATIFICATIONS THEORY 4.4 STUART HALL’S ENCODING-DECODING MODEL 5. METHOD 6. FINDINGS 7. SUMMARY OF THE FINDINGS 7.1 LIMITATIONS 8. CONCLUSION 2 2 2 3 4 5 5 7 9 10 11 13 29 31 31 33 ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED. ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED. ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED. ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
9. REFERENCES 10. APPENDIX 10.1 PAPER DIVISION 10.2 INTERVIEW QUESTIONS 10.3 INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTS
Ever since the advent of reality TV at the end of 1990’s, television producers started to look for controversial subjects, which would capture the viewer, and make this new format a hit. This was also the case with the child beauty pageants industry, which has been a frequently discussed topic in the United States for decades. Nevertheless, after the emergence of the Reality TV (RTV) show, Toddlers and Tiaras, produced by the American broadcaster TLC, the controversy about this particular industry and children on television has increased rapidly. Toddlers and Tiaras is a show which might seem strange to people who do not know and have never heard of child beauty pageants. Especially the emphasis on making a girl look older, than her actual age, is hard to understand for many people. However, these shocking scenes that often cause certain emotions among the audience, is exactly how RTV producers are trying to capture and interest its audience. Toddlers and Tiaras might be a show that is judged rapidly due to the controversial nature of child beauty pageants, however the ratings of TLC prove that it is also a program which people enjoy watching and like to talk about.
The purpose of this research paper is to investigate what people think about a show that features little girls who are turned into beauty queens, how they perceive the characters as well as child beauty pageants in general. Furthermore, due to the fact that this phenomenon clearly reflects the American society, it is interesting to find out what European's actually think of this concept.
Most of the data collected in this research comes from academic articles used in the course, and books from the SDU library. Furthermore, online desk research played a major role, including research papers from the scholar.google search engine. Since Toddlers and Tiaras is a show that has only been broadcasted since a few years and has just entered the European market it seems to be a very current topic. This helped us in our research to find up-to-date information about the Reality TV show, as well as the child beauty pageant industry. Moreover, ten in-depth interviews served as a qualitative research method and added highly valuable information to our research.
Brief introduction to child beauty Pageants and Toddlers & Tiaras
Only in a climate of denial could hysteria over satanic rituals at daycare centers coexist with a failure to grasp the full extent of child abuse. (More than 8.5 million women and men are survivors.) Only in a culture that represses the evidence of the senses could child pageantry grow into a $5 billion dollar industry without anyone noticing. Only in a nation of promiscuous puritans could it be a good career move to equip a six-year-old with bedroom eyes (Richard Goldstein, 1997).
Child beauty pageants have in the past few decades grown into a multi-billion dollar industry, sponsored by multinationals such as Proctor and Gamble and Hawaiian Tropics. In the United States approximately, five thousand child pageants are held every year, with a subscription fee between $250 to $800 dollars, especially when competing on a national level (Giroux, 1998: 39). Pageants are held both on a local and national...
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