I've been watching quite a bit of TLC's Toddlers and Tiaras this holiday season. I'm completely addicted to watching the little girls in spray tans and fake eyelashes, ten-pound bedazzled dresses and fake hair wigs, staring at the screen with a mix of horror and disbelief.
The undeniable breakout star of the series is Arkansas-born six-year-old Eden Wood (and to a lesser extent, her mother). We've watched Eden dance as a warrior princess in the jungle, kiss her way to top titles and get signed with talent agencies. She's a really cute little girl, and she has the poise onstage of someone much older.
Off of the show, Eden is making pseudo-rap/spoken word music for kids. Her songs include catchy choruses and bright colors and mostly focus on becoming a world superstar or marrying Justin Bieber. One song called "Antz in Our Pantz" features Eden in street clothes with a bunch of other kids, dancing and talking about being young and cute.
The aforementioned song "Bieber Fever" has Eden speaking about a dream she had the night before that she--age six, mind you--and Bieber were married and adopted a bunch of children. Probably her most famous song is called "Cutie Patootie," which discusses Eden Wood's cuteness and celebrity. The accompanying video shows Eden performing at a mall in a pink, glitzy dress and a little pink top hat.
Since her celebrity flag started flying, Eden Wood has had a doll made of her likeness and a book called Eden Wood: From Cradle to Crown, a Life in Pictures published. She has appeared with Perez Hilton on Perez TV, and on various television morning shows. Eden has done more work before the age of seven than most of us have or will. She is even retiring from pageants because her celebrity takes up so much of her time, and none of the little unknown girls could really compete with her.
I really want to like all that Eden Wood is doing because she is so darn cute. Her mom also seems really likeable, and--although she probably is running the show--seems to give Eden a lot of choice in continuing with pageants and appearances and the like.
But the sad part about the whole thing is Eden's insistence on her own beauty and celebrity. Her talent, intelligent and charm--or developing these attributes--are pushed aside. Eden isn't immensely talented--just super adorable, and any sort of "beauty" in that's predicted by a six-year-old's cuteness isn't guaranteed. For now, it's just fun, but later?
Eden may--and most likely will--be discarded by the people who made her as she grows up. And then where will she be? Perhaps vying for Miss America.