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Posted on December 2, 2011 by Christine Crosby in 

The TLC To Stop Sexualizing Toddlers!

Reality television has hit a horrific new low, and we urgently need your help to hold the network and its executives responsible!

Whether you love or loathe child beauty pageants; everyone should agree that sexualizing a three-year-old little girl is wrong.  But that is exactly what the TLC network has done.

In what was likely a misguided effort to gin-up publicity and ratings for its controversial Toddlers and Tiaras reality series, TLC (formerly The Learning Channel) released footage of a three-year-old pageant contestant dressed as the prostitute character in the 1990 film Pretty Woman.

Such brazen and wanton material should qualify as child exploitation or abuse.  And this comes just one week after TLC was forced to pull their Facebook page due to the deluge of negative comments over another episode of Toddlers and Tiaras that featured a little girl dressed to look like Dolly Parton, complete with padded bust and buttocks.

Instead of creating ratings-friendly buzz, TLC has engendered outrage among countless parents and grandparents who are tired of seeing children exploited for ratings and robbed of their innocence by a greedy entertainment industry that will stop at nothing to make a buck.

You can take action now by clicking here and demanding executives at TLC and Discovery Networks immediately cancel the series.

Like the movie character just before she hits the streets as a prostitute, the toddler is shown strutting back and forth on stage wearing thigh-high PVC boots, a blonde bobbed wig, and white and blue tank dress with a bare midriff.

For years we’ve seen adult sexuality being inappropriately and aggressively foisted on innocent young children; but children today are being sexualized at younger and younger ages…  A decade ago parents worried about their teen daughters coming home from the mall with hip-riders; earlier this year push-up bikini tops and butt-toning shoes for grade-school girls hit the market.  Where does it all stop?  What have we come to when toddlers, not yet able to read, let alone make decisions for themselves, are getting schooled in dressing and acting sexy for adults?

Everyone in society suffers when children are sexualized, but those who are hurt the most are the children, robbed of their childhood.

In February 2007, the American Psychological Association released a report on the sexualization of girls which found that girls’ exposure to hyper-sexualized media content negatively impacts their cognitive and emotional development; was strongly associated with eating disorders, low self-esteem and depression; fewer girls pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics; and diminished sexual health.

But it’s not just our daughters who are being affected by these images.  Boys and adult men are also learning to value women only for their sex appeal, leading to increased incidents of sexual harassment, sexual violence, and increased demand for child pornography.

The PTC has been actively working to combat these harmful and negative messages in the media.  Last December the PTC released a special report exposing the rampant sexualization of adolescent girls on television.

You can help put a stop to this damaging trend by taking action now to demand TLC immediately cancel “Toddlers and Tiaras.”

And please consider making a donation to the PTC so that we can continue this battle against those in entertainment who would steal the innocence of our children and grandchildren.

Christine Crosby

About the author

Christine is the co-founder and editorial director for GRAND Magazine. She is the grandmother of five and great-grandmom (aka Grandmere) to one. She makes her home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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