I am not usually a parent who rants. I believe every parent has their own style of parenting which they trust is in the best interest of their children. So it’s largely live and let live. After all I’m hardly a role model for the ideal mum. I shout when I get upset (which is quite often) and I sometimes DO take the easy way out after a particularly hard day if it’s going to get my kid tucked into bed early.
|image courtesy: http://www.jennifermariepuglia.com/|
But recently I came across this event on one of the many online mummy fora I’m a member of (To assuage all the guilt of yelling at the kids when rushing about for school, I suppose) which had me foaming at the mouth. This claims to be the ‘India Kids Fashion Week’- the name itself suggests that it’s wrong on so many levels I wouldn't know where to begin. But, I thought, maybe, I read wrong, this may be an event for the trade in the kids fashion industry (which in itself had my hackles up, but hey, I may be in a minority here, after all, Baby Gap seems to laughing all the way to the bank), which meant it catered largely to adults. And to be fair, this is what the ‘About us’ said. It creates a ‘win-win’ situation for everyone concerned.
Right then. By ‘everyone concerned’ do they mean the kids involved as well? Because I'm struggling a see a single ‘win’ in this entire sordid contest for the participating kids. From what I understand (again, I have garnered this from the website), parents pay a fee for their child to be an entrant in this fashion event – ostensibly for training and personality development. Because surely a four year old needs to be trained to have a personality to carry off a frock. Or shorts. Because of course we think clothes and fashion at the age of four (or fourteen, or even forty for that matter) is an integral part of building our self-esteem and developing our personality.
The ‘agreement’ on the website further goes on to state that the agency is in no way responsible for any mishaps or injury to the participants of this misbegotten venture and will not be liable for any compensation or insurance. Now granted this may be standard wording thought of by the company lawyer to cover their collective behinds when the shit hits the fan, but why isn't this sending off alarm bells in ear-shattering volumes in the parents’ heads? And oh, here’s another gem I'm quoting directly from this ‘Agreement’ : “… I am also agreeing that in a competition the winning or losing is a part and my child will only be judged and rewarded if he is giving a healthy competition to the fellow competitors on the base of confidence…” Brilliant. So if my child didn't have self-esteem issues before the competition, I'm most definitely going to try my darndest to give him/ her one before the competition is through. Because YOLO, dude! Perfect.
Now I know what some of the mums are thinking – how is this different from the junior talent contests and the competitive exams that we force young children to sit through in our country. And you’re right. Perhaps those are equally traumatic. And detrimental to the well-being of the children. But one does not lessen the deplorable nature of the other. And so, here I am, raising my voice as the concerned mother of a four year old who doesn't need to be judged by how she can carry off a piece of garment. I'm raising my voice as a concerned member of society who doesn't like the message these events are sending to our kids.