Performing the Ultimate Grand Supreme

Approval, Gender and Identity in Toddlers & Tiaras

in Girlhood Studies
Author: Christina Hodel
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In spite of its popularity, makeover television is controversial with reality programs such as Toddlers & Tiaras transforming young girls into pint-sized versions of sexualized women. In this article I use various methods of analysis to better decode the visual images of the children appearing on the sensational series. Understanding the program makes clearer how gender and identity are constructed for the girls profiled in each episode. Findings reveal that youngsters' identity is approved of during beauty pageants only when they are hyper-gendered, follow heteronormative gender conventions, and undergo careful scrutiny of appearance by experts, yet exude original personality.

Girlhood Studies

An Interdisciplinary Journal