I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is, I have a letter written that I think, after I got a little editing help, will suit our needs in this respect. I feel that it is professional and to the point (unlike my original blog post on the topic, which contained plenty of profanity).
Here, I am going to post the entirety of the letter, and let you guys take a look over it. Let me know what you think. The letter, the way I thought this would go, would be copy and pasted into e-mails and to sent off to the offending producers/directors/whoever. Ideally, each of us might put a little personal touch on the letter. If one were inclined to throw out the letter entirely and just send a long string of swear words to these folks, I would totally understand.
However, as it turns out, I am having little luck finding e-mail addresses for any such people, a planning error due in part to my overzealousness and my shortsightedness. Discovery (the parent company to TLC, the channel which airs "Toddlers") makes it nearly goddamn impossible to e-mail them directly. It is possible to send them a brief message through their "viewer relations" site, but the comment section is not nearly big enough to contain the anger and disgust expressed by all of us at this show. So until I can dig up some e-mail addresses, it would appear that we are dead in the water here.
So I am appealing to anyone reading this: if you have any tricks or ideas on how to find a way to contact these goons, let me know. IMDB has a list of the producers and writers, but a brief period of googling availed me little with those names.
Any help will be graciously accepted, via e-mail, twitter, comment, facebook or ESP message. And if you know anyone else who might be interested in this endeavor, please let them know. I remember someone saying something about there being "power in numbers"...
We will definitely keep moving on this project, as I think that it has grown somewhat near and dear to the hearts of some of the followers here.
Special thanks to my father and Jera for looking the letter over and offering advice, and especially to follower "Alexa", who put the super-edit-smack-down on it. Alexa = hero, and you can find her blog here.
Here it is.
Sir or Madame,
My name is (your name here), and I am writing to you in synchronization with a number of other concerned people in regard to the television show “Toddlers & Tiaras”.
This is a collective effort on the part of a group of bloggers and blog-readers. We all want to express our moral outrage where this television program is concerned. While we have little doubt that you receive countless similar letters on this topic, we feel it our moral obligation to add our voice to that pool of disgusted consumers.
This television program frequently depicts, in great detail, the grueling and horrific treatment the young contestants in said pageants undergo at the hands of their parents and, presumably, at the hands of the producers and directors of the television program. I understand that the underlying premise of the beauty pageant circuit, including the “toddler” circuit, is that it is well and good that women be graded harshly by judges, fellow contestants, and therefore by society, according to their physical appearance, rather than the content of their character or the value of their intellect. By televising these events to a wide audience, no matter the personal opinions of those involved in the production of the “Toddlers”, the producers and others involved lend great credence to this premise, and thereby glorify the sexualization of very young females, and ultimately, of women in general.
The collective outrage of my fellow bloggers or blog-readers is based not on dogma or on any unbelievably strict code of “morality”, but rather on common sense and on a concern for the state of women in our society everywhere. In a world where women still struggle to make the same wage as men in many cases, in a world where sexual violence against women is still rampant, and in world where women must be an increasingly integral part of a growing and maturing economy and culture, I find it at BEST distasteful for the program “Toddlers” to be popularizing and glorifying a group of people who force their young girls (who have no choice in the matter) to behave in a vain and hyper-sexualized manner. Distasteful at best, but at worst I find it vile and deeply perverse.
I believe that the parents depicted in this program are setting their young girls up for a life in which they will accept their own second class citizenry, and even embrace it, by behaving in a way that degrades their value as a working part of society. Even still, in today's society, on all fronts, one of the biggest things holding us back from progress and peace is a media machine that encourages various people to accept less in their lives. “Toddlers” depicts parents who relegate their children to the world of the overtly sexual and mundane.
The show is abhorrent. The fact that it airs on “The Learning Channel” or “TLC” seems farcical or somehow macabre. The show amounts to little more than child pornography, especially in regard to some of the clothing that these mothers are forcing their children to wear. The self-sexualization of adult women is one thing, but the forced and publicized sexualization of children is something that cannot be tolerated.
It is bad enough that some parents would do this to their children, but for a major media outlet, which denotes itself as “The Learning Channel,” to promote and propagate this behavior is disgusting, and in my opinion, should be stopped. The crime here is against women everywhere, and of course, to the girls who appear on the show. This program and programs like it undermine the rising tide of women's rights and women's equality like little else does.
Please understand that this program is validating a terrible world view for today's young women, is pornographic in nature, devalues woman and people in general, and degrades the very moral fabric that will, with luck and perseverance, someday bind together a society truly based on equality and justice for every one of its members.
Here are some comments from a public blog regarding this topic, given here anonymously:
“These little girls are programmed to believe that the only thing that matters is their beauty and clothing (or lack thereof).“
“Those kids are being deprived of their childhood. Just let them play! That show should be shut down.”
“Kids at this age--of either gender--are so loving and so forgiving, all they want out of life is the approval of Mom and Dad. It breaks my heart to think about parents exploiting that innocence in such a way. Parents need to stop trying to live their own unfulfilled fantasies through their kids.”
“What these people are doing to their children is child abuse. They (and the tv companies) are feeding the dreams and desires of pedophiles.”
“I think we can only be so surprised with the types of images we were raised around as we learned to be women. It's an out of control cycle where puberty continues to get younger, and the clothes for young children more and more resemble those of a street-walking-harlot. The proportions of Barbies should have been the least of their worries.”
“I have two daughters and could never EVER imagine doing something like that to them! It hurts my heart to think about the horrid values being taught to these very young and very impressionable girls.”
“I happen to agree with you and still wonder what happened to The Learning Channel...just what exactly are you learning from Toddlers in Tiaras??? They used to run wonderful programs which actually taught you something......this show is an abomination and should be removed”
The slew of outrage only starts here.
I am wondering who becomes liable at the end of the day when some of these little girls grow up to struggle with insurmountable psychological problems linked to self-esteem, body image, and sex. Would not the parents of these children point a finger at TLC? Is TLC and “Toddlers & Tiaras” not at least partially liable for any subsequent eating disorder, drug problem, or social disorder that some of these children will no doubt face? I would be interested to see the liability waiver TLC has the parents sign at the time of shooting.
I, personally, would like to know what is going on behind the scenes at “TLC”, particularly in regards to this show. If you wouldn't mind taking the time, perhaps you could explain the meaning behind all of this? Is there some justification for this kind of programming that I have overlooked? Is my voice the minority, or have you not heard from others like me that are equally offended? If the toll that the show takes on society as a whole and, of course, on the innocent children cannot be magically justified, the program should be taken off of the air.
Regards,(your name here)
What say you, reader? Let's find some e-mail addresses and give these degenerates an earful, eh?
And one more thing: another fellow blogger mentioned me in a blog regarding our buddy Wycleff. Check it out here. He was a little more eloquent and thorough than I was, and it deserves mention.