SF Talking Points: Real Little Miss Sunshines, The Female Midlife Crisis

What Are Beauty Pageants Doing To Young Girls? We’re all for sexiness, but maybe not when you’re two. If you’ve ever watched an episode — hell, even just a commercial — of the TLC show “Toddlers and Tiaras,” you know that dressing up like mini Madonnas can’t have anything close to a healthy effect on these children. Sexuality should be celebrated at the right time — not when you still think the stork brought your baby sister. But there is still no definitive scientific evidence to prove that toddlers might have an adverse reaction when they’re older after being forced to gyrate on stage in skimpy ruffled dresses. North Carolina Rep. Annie Mobley tried to set up a committee in 2009 to study the effects of beauty pageants on children under 13, but the law supporting it didn’t pass. Fortunately, now Senator Barbara Mikulksi and Change.org are trying to look into the lack of regulation in the child pageant industry — click the link to sign the petition to support their efforts.

The New Female Midlife Crisis: While in the 1970s women who felt stifled by the lives carved out for them often fled — their families, their homes, their countries — their daughters are now fleeing elsewhere: to yoga. But the feelings attached to this need to escape haven’t entirely changed. Judith Warner writes,

In a sense, it’s a measure of how far couples have evolved that women in midlife are facing the same realities that men have always faced: you can’t take off to “find yourself” when a family depends upon your salary and health benefits. Given the constraints of most family’s lives these days, there really is nowhere to go but in.

It’s interesting, sad, and at the same time, exciting, to see that at middle age, now that we have so many choices, the same feeling of being trapped arises. Because it no longer emerges from the sense of shackled dependency, but the stress of having people you love dependent on you.

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