I consider myself a Third Wave feminist (or Fourth if we are headed in that direction). I celebrate girlie/girly—that pink, sparkly, glittery moment when nail polish is the focus and shopping at Claire’s a must. I’m not girlie, mind you, more of a jeans and Doc Martin’s kind of woman. But I have several nieces and a few of the younger ones are into that whole princess thing.

As a Third Waver, I revel in the choice to embrace the ultra-feminine construct. I cannot imagine a Second Wave feminist as supportive of such an identity. Though I share many Second Wave ideals—I am strongly pro-choice—I identify just as strongly as pro-porn and I think that already removes me from Second Wave identity.

So I ponder today on what a Second Wave feminist would think of me if they knew about my summer obsession. Yes, I will admit here for the public to see:

I am totally hooked on TLC’s Toddlers and Tiaras.

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I cannot turn away. Like a car accident, my neck cranes back as my thumb clicks the remote to TLC every Wednesday night at 10p. Have you seen this show?

It really is the epitome of American culture at its worst.

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I told myself that I am watching because I am a scholar; my area of focus is Girl Studies so it seems logical to keep current with what is happening in girl culture. But somewhere along the way my fascination moved from scholarly interest to shocked consumer of popular culture. But with moments such as this, how can I not make that shift?

There is so much to say about Toddlers and Tiaras concerning how completely damaging these events are to girls and I don’t think we need to dig too deep to discover what some of those issues may be.

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I think there is a lot to say here about mother/daughter relationships, the beauty ideal, consumer culture…need I continue? I could easily change the focus of this blog to pageants and be just as content in filling it with posts of substance.

I question how it is that my fascination, as a feminist, as scholar of women’s issues—particularly girls’ issues—can be so completely sucked into such an event. Is anyone else watching this show? I know I am not the only one watching it; ratings on TLC are up and this is actually the second season.

I have some ideas on why I am so glued to my TV set every week for this show. Any idea why you are?

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