Honey Boo Boo\" height=People either love or hate Honey Boo Boo. The only public personality more divisive these days seems to be President Barack Obama. Crazy, but true. Alana Thompson and her down-to-earth Georgia clan have been criticized for everything from "the decay of Western civilization" to "complete f**king ignorance" to "her mother puts her onstage looking like a glorified hooker!" But I think recent photographs of the little pageant contestant reveal what kind of person Honey Boo Boo really is

Seeing Alana play with a hoola-hoop on her porch proves just one thing: she is first and foremost a child. It is easy to forget that when someone so young becomes a big TV star. Arguably, she is even more than that. Since the show debuted last year, Honey Boo Boo and her family have become a cultural phenomenon. There is no disputing that they are wacky and often crude. They do things most of us could never imagine doing -- at least not in public, anyway. 

But does that mean they should be demonized? Does that make it okay to pick on a little girl? It's especially dismaying to see adults poke fun at her size. A 7-year-old should never be the butt of fat jokes. I think what we have to remember is that Alana, despite her outsized personality, is still a very young child.

She may not seem particularly sensitive or fragile, but all those mean words can hurt. Yes, she is famous, but she wants the same things every kid wants -- to have fun, be happy, and feel loved and protected. I am not quite sure why it is so hard for her harshest critics to see that. Perhaps they should think about the harm they can do to her self-esteem and her body image. She may have catchphrases ("A dolla make me holla!"), but at this age, she isn't really all that different than your kids.

Do you think people forget that Honey Boo Boo is just a little girl?

 

Image via PCN