gender norms

Zander, 6, Is A Beauty Pageant King (And His Mother Loves It)

Hats off to mom Tracy Miller, whose two sons compete in beauty pageants that are regularly the territory of little girls. Zachary, 6, and his 3-year-old brother Casey have been competing since they were 18 months — which you might consider some form of child abuse, because these things can be awful, but that’s for another day. The best part, says Zachary, who appeared on TLC’s Toddlers & Tiaras, “I get to do my thing, and win trophies, and crowns, and sashes.” (Oh, and there’s some cash too!) As for our immediate assumption Zander is teased by classmates? He and his mom say it’s never been an issue. Adds token shrink Laura Markham: The problem isn’t with gender roles, but with any kid in any beauty pageant.

And for anyone who has a problem with boys competing in pageants, Tracy tells Good Morning America, “The people who say this is not for little boys need to wake up. We are in 2010. Heading into 2011. I honestly never thought I’d be doing pageants with my son. But he loves it. Everyone loves him.”

[Good Morning America]

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  • Randy

    Blech, neither boys nor girls should be competing in beauty pageants. This is all about the parents. The kid should be in a class learning karate, dancing, acting, science, or art. Heck, even just hanging out with his friends would be better than this.

  • Troy

    Is there a “It Gets Better” video campaign aimed at kids whose mothers enter them into kiddie beauty pageants?

  • j

    It’s obvious his mum is trying to vicariously gain the approval of others about looks and beauty through her son. Even if its not her being complemented it takes someone who is very insecure to try and seek out approval through her 18 MONTH OLD child. No child that age wants to compete in a beauty pagent regardless of what its mother says. How self centred can one get. Also no queerty, it isn’t a fight for another day. You seem to be turning a blind eye to this because its a boy. A BOY, mind you. A tiny, asexual child. Is this site about gay news or is it nambla?

  • lizcivious

    Zander is a beautiful little boy. I wish him and his brother all the best in growing up sane, not because of any gender issues, but because of having been raised by an overbearing lunatic. I saw his episode of “Toddlers and Tiaras,” a guilty-pleasure, train-wreck show that I’m ashamed to admit I watched, and his mother, like many in the pageant circuit, was an absolute bully. I wanted to rescue the kid and whisk him away from that ridiculous world. He seems none the worse for wear, but only time will tell. Most of these pageant mothers are homely, overweight souls who project their unrealistic hopes and fantasies on their innocent kids, who may have to pay later with many hours of psychotherapy – or become the next Sarah Palin or Carrie Prejean.

  • Jeffree

    Better for Zander to get involved in acting, music, sports, gymnastics, art, science etc. than beauty pageants, so he’d learn something he could enjoy for the rest of his life.

    Competing for “cutest” is just something he does for his mom, and doesn’t lead anywhere. Picking up a telescope would be better than learning to use blush!

  • Matt

    I’m not a registered psychologist, but I have an MA in it, and I’m always skeptical of them in an “expert” role. There’s not much critical thinking built into the pedagogy and I wonder how useful her opinion is.


    I’m sorry but this is child abuse. Its bad enough that little girls are exploited now they are doing boys? And please don’t associate this with being progressive. That is just a distraction from the reality of the situation. KIDS ARE BEING OBJECTIFIED IN THESE PAGEANTS!

    Male or female these things should only be for teen or adults WHO CHOOSE TO COMPETE IN SUCH EVENTS!

  • Wes

    I’ve known parents who stuck their kids into pageants. I also know some of them to be absolute mental wrecks. And over time, it looked as though that illness was rubbing off onto their kids. Along with the bad eating habits. My question would be if the mother, maybe at one time in her life, was able to do this. Is she trying to put her sons into this since she obviously can’t do it anymore?

  • Kieran

    It sounds like the Mom is the one into beauty pageants and little Zander is trying to please her.

  • Pip

    @Randy: Pageants are just an exhibition, which is something all childhood hobbies involve.

  • jobo

    Say hello to the second Buster Bluth.

  • Justaboringusername

    Of course the cow-like mother is doing this for herself. Beauty pagents aren’t good for girls and no better for boys. This only sets him up for issues he doesnt need; eating disorders, body image issues, possible unneeded gender identity issues

  • Vellis

    I wish only the best for this kid and his mom, but none of this has anything to do with gays or lesbians. This is another attempt by Queerty, a blog run by white men who think that it is cool to name their website after an anti-gay slur –
    to marginalize gay people by defining them as gender-conflicted.
    The urban, white professionals who run Queerty and the venture capitalists who fund it think that this is hip and
    transgressive, but couldn’t give a damn what impact this ha
    working class gays/lesbians, young gays/lesbians, and gays/lesbians of color.

  • Minako Aino

    Her sons going to grow up in a bad way… but who know’s he might realise whats going on. The mother basically wanted to be a beauty queen herself or beauty king but due to the fact that she was so fugly they didnt let her enter so she uses her kids instead like the rest of those beauty pagent mothers

  • JDC

    Hideous, unfulfilled parent living vicariously through child, quelle surprise. Child beauty pageants are vomit inducing. Adult pageants aren’t exactly great either, but the participants at least have a choice (and should know better).

  • Tanya

    @j: I am Zanders godmother. From a personal point of view, I don’t care for pageants. BUT, Zander really does love them. I thought that Tracy was full of it when she would tell me she was going to put him into pageants at 18 months. Then I moved close to them and got to spend a lot of time with him. This kid would pick up his chicken leg during dinner and start singing his version of Me and Bobby McGee (I sang it to him to go to sleep) or get up on our couch and start singing and dancing. He is involved in gymnastics and karate by his choice (he choose to not participate in dance classes and quit). You will never see Zander in football or soccer. He is just not interested. His brother will probably be football captian if he can be.

    I quess what I really want to say is that he is doing this because he likes it. You can pass judgement on Tracy if you want as she is an adult, but leave my godson out of your comments as he is only a child. Thanks.

  • lori44ky

    Ungrateful, self-centered, egotistical and not fit to be a parent!! I cannot believe what I saw and what I heard come out of Tracy’s mouth! She yelled at her soon on stage, on national tv!! One of the judges actually commented on her behavior and she went on to say how she felt bad for Zander. She was not alone! I am a parent of 2 grown children and a grandson. I would NEVER make a scene and act the way she acted towards her son. Tracy made a comment about “going back to her room, ordering a pizza, and going to sleep!” From what I saw – she definitely doesn’t need a pizza. She’s already a 300 lb. clogged artery who needs to stop using her son for what she thinks as her 5 minutes of fame!!! She is a shame and disgrace to all pageant moms and the contestants!

  • Cornelia deupmann

    Schließt diese fette Mutter weg und lasst die Jungs normal aufwachen.

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