Even Lesbian Teen Beauty Queen Can't Make Pageants Good for Girls

beauty queen tiaraIf your daughter wanted to compete in a beauty pageant, would you let her? What if she was the first openly gay teen in your state's history to compete, and in doing so would open doors for thousands of little lesbian girls to one day walk across a stage in a skimpy swimsuit? Welcome to the plight of Mollie Thomas, lesbian teen who wants to be the next Miss California.

While she's fighting a battle on behalf of LGBTQ kids everywhere, she's handing us parents another Catch 22 to suss out. If a kid is "doing good," does it matter where they do it?

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Because Thomas really seems to be doing this for the "right" reasons. Traveling the world with her family helping out with Hurricane Katrina relief, aiding in reforestation efforts in Australia, and volunteering in a elephant reserve in Thailand, she's got a strong sense that it truly takes a village. Her emphasis on being a humanitarian seems to play as much of a role in her choice to enter the Miss USA competition as her childhood dream of wearing a tiara on a glittering stage.

But the 19-year-old is doing it at a pageant. And it seems most moms are with me in worrying about pageantry today: at Mommyish, Koa Beck summed it up pretty well with: "When it comes to really young girls, I think that they’d do well to find their role models elsewhere."

What's troubling is that most of these parents are still justifying exposing girls to Thomas on the basis that she's doing the right thing, just in the wrong place.

But that's the problem. When we expose our kids to Thomas' good deeds, we aren't JUST exposing them to her. Sure, she's great. I'd love to have my daughter see this out loud and proud girl with a solid head on her shoulders who wants to help the world. I am not trying to bash this teenage girl

But my belief still stands. I still don't want my daughter to see a beauty pageant, where females are objectified, where a girl is measured not by that solid head on her shoulders or her ideals, but by the way she fills out her swimsuit. The impacts that a pageant can have on our daughters are so devastating, I'm having a hard time believing that Thomas' messages will even reach them.

Is it good enough for our teens to be exposed to good messages in bad places?

 

Image via Shelley Panzarella/Flickr

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