SPARKLE MOTION

Not That It Makes Toddlers & Tiaras Less Gross, But Pageant Boy Brock Is Kind Of Great

The kid in this video is Brock. His mom is Tori. Brock calls himself a “diva” and likes to compete in pageants. Since contests for boys are in short supply, Brock sometimes competes against girls. And he wins.

He likes to sing, dance and, in the words of Tori, “sparkle.” So pageants seem like a good fit for Brock, at least until he can fulfill his Broadway dreams.

Of course, most reasonable adults find the child pageant circuit indefensible. You don’t have to dig very deeply to notice the blatant sexualization of little girls, the sometimes thinly-veiled parental attention-hunger, or the single-minded focus on trophies and crowns at the expense of school or other forms of childhood socialization. Reality shows like Toddlers & Tiaras enjoy poking that lip-gloss-smeared hornet nest with a stick and audiences love grossing out over the never-not-shocking sight of seven year-old girls doing stripper moves to “My Humps.”

But back to Brock. Is the pageant world and TV exposure less exploitive when it’s a gung-ho seven year-old boy sashaying about? Is a kid of any age ready for that kind of national attention? Can we applaud his boldness and still worry for his safety, emotional and otherwise, when people start sending him and his family horrible messages on the internet? He’s an innocent child, now “guilty” of public flamboyance. It’ll happen.

For a seven year-old he does seem to know exactly what he wants. And you have to give Tori credit for letting him dress up like Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz on Halloween and for not taking any shit from people who don’t think boys should be allowed to express themselves the way Brock does.

So… okay, yes, go Brock. You’re a cool little guy. Hope Mom and Dad do a good job at protecting you from all the terrible boy-in-Dorothy-costume-hating people out there.