She was only six years old. Her face was painted with mascara, lipstick, and other makeup. She was dressed in clothing designed to expose a substantial portion of her little body. She was taught to effect hula hoop pelvis swaying and burlesque type dance movements that were sexually provocative. With those as assets arranged to provide a perceived advantage for her, she was entered by her parents in "beauty contests."
While I am the opposite of a prude…I cannot help finding it a morally and ethically reprehensible act to indulge in sex exploitation of children. When I look at videos of six-year-old JonBenet Ramsey made up and dressed to be sexy and gyrating her body in ways widely recognized as those used to incite and to effect sex, I find myself reacting much like a "Christian fundamentalist," and I want to know why the media is eliminating a discussion of the sex factor in the JonBenet story.
And it's true: If you take the wayback machine to Old '97 or so, you just won't find any books, magazines, papers, or TV newsmags wringing their hands about juvenile beauty pageants and the sexualization of children. It's like a total conspiracy of silence on this issue.
Of course, horror and outrage at these weirdo beauty pageants and their perverse dollmaking was the constant handmaiden of all JonBenet coverage, an attitude best summed up by my pal Mr. Cutlets, who dismissed John and Patsey Ramsey ("an affront to every tabloid-buying American") with the observation: "The mere fact that they entered their daughter in those sinister pageants is reason enough to despise the Ramseys, and the human race in general."
By the way, whatever happened to East Brunswick's own Hallie Kate Eisenberg, the anti-JonBenet who looked for a while like she might be bringing preteen feminism into a bold new millennium?