so i dont know when it started exactly, or even why im so enamored, but i am kind of obsessed with child beauty pageant culture.
not in that, i wish i had been part of it, or in that my children WILL be part of it, and not in that im completely reviled and disgusted…
all the facets of debate just fascinate me; the awful parents and spoiled children, the supportive parents and good family units, the OUTFITS, the posing, the grooming, the sexuality, the bribery, the mental damage and abuse, the psychosis of all involved.
and then yeah, these girls end up looking like dolls, like mark ryden paintings and perfect lolita nymphs. they look beautiful and perfect, and plastic, discordant and terrifying all at once.
im just blown away. im left with no opinions on the matter just sick curiosity.
this interest culminated two years ago at halloween. i went as jonbenet ramsey, complete with strangulation marks and nightie (she was found in a barbie nightie)….tasteless yes i know. the next day i went to the hospital with a scratched cornea from wearing false lashes, so karma dealt swift retribution.
but everyone else seems to approach this subject with the same sort of morbid interest. many artists view these girls as victims of lost innocence and document them as such…
of course jonbenet is the ultimate beauty queen victim, paraded on stage dressed as a sex object and then molested and murdered at the age of six. she died as she lived and no wonder her parents were under so much speculation…this brings me to Miss Landmine, a project based in Angola and Cambodia. with the tagline, “Everyone has the right to be beautiful“, the project includes among its goals:
* Female pride and empowerment.
* Disabled pride and empowerment.
* Global and local landmine awareness and information.
* Question established concepts of physical perfection.
* Replace the passive term ‘Victim’ with the active term ‘Survivor‘
obviously Miss Landmine has a serious political agenda and intends to destroy typical stereotypes of beauty. but its such an interesting twist on the idea of pageant victims. if one overlooks the organization’s intention, or maybe stumbled upon a photo out of context, one may assume it was in fact commentary or a spoof on the pageant debate.
Honey in the Sunshine
Gretchen Ryan is a painter whose subjects are mainly beauty queens. most of the girls strike a coquettish pose, or are painted into fairy tale backgrounds, the above painting appears to be Ryan’s most outspoken piece. Honey takes a pose reminiscent of Marylin Monroe and at first one doesn’t notice her missing teeth. were they violently knocked out or did she lose them naturally? both ideas make honey out to be a victim: of violence or projected sexuality.
Girls in a Peril
Susan Anderson’s collected portrait series “High Glitz” was shot on location at many different pagents. the series captures the bizarre quality of this microcosmic culture while at the same time pays tribute to the grandiose perfection that pageantry entails. look how glossy and perfect and plastic these girls are…