Mom makes 4-year-old wear fake boobs for US reality show. Experts say Indian parents are not far behind.
When Maddy Jackson’s mom dressed her in a sexy gown with a blonde wig, fake C-cup boobs and bum pads on a US reality show to make her look like voluptuous singer Dolly Parton, the viewers were left shocked. Maddy is four-years old. Wednesday’s incident, as reported by UK’s Daily Mail, caused an outcry among viewers and child rights activists who have set up a facebook page to urge the TV channel, TLC, to take the show Toddlers and Tiaras off the air.
“It’s parents trying to live their dreams through their kids. Disgusting!” writes Lianne Roberts on the wall. Yet another post calls it ‘child abuse’ and ‘a paedophiles’ dream come true’. Maddy’s mother seemed unperturbed and defended the pint-sized fashionista’s grown up act on NBC’s morning talk show, Today, “When she wears the fake boobs and the fake butt, it’s just like extra bonus.”
Closer home, experts are fuming over the trend of ‘adulti-fying’ kids on TV shows. “What a disgrace. It’s the parent’s ego that drives them to make a celebrity of their child. It's because their own life has been deprived of glamour,” says Ad guru Alyque Padamsee. The Chairperson of Delhi Commission for Women, Barkha Singh, calls it ‘absolutely sick and shocking’. “It’s disgusting that some Indian shows, too, dress up kids like grown-ups. It’s just the parents’ greed for fame and money,” she says. Child psychiatrist Dr Deepak Gupta concurs, “Such portrayal could cause severe damage to the child’s mental and emotional growth. She might end up adopting socially and sexually unacceptable behaviour.”
Some, however, term it an over-reaction. “People are over-reacting and need to grow up. Remember Bugsy Malone, the 1976 film that had children playing grown ups? The whole world appreciated it. Now, some 36 years later, we are calling it bad parenting. A little girl will always copy her mother. How can she imitate her mother without fake breasts? It’s just cute,” says ad filmmaker Prahlad Kakkar.