TLC Exploits ‘Honey Boo-Boo Child’; Gives 6-Year-Old Own Show

TLC has already exploited children with its show “Toddlers and Tiaras,” showing 6-year olds wearing skimpy clothing and guzzling energy drinks or “Go-Go Juice” in order to win beauty pageants. The network has now decided to further exploit children for ratings, with a new 6-episode spin-off series of “Toddlers and Tiaras,” called “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.”

“Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” follows “Toddlers and Tiaras” 6-year old beauty pageant contestant Alana Thompson (her pageant nickname was “Honey Boo Boo”) and her family in their Georgia home. The network describes the new show as “an inside look into Alana’s world where the 6-year-old pageant sensation proves that she is more than just a Go-Go Juice-drinking beauty queen. When she’s not chasing after crowns, Alana’s with her family in rural Georgia doing what her family does best: four-wheeling through mud pits and picking up road kill for the family cookout.”

If the past is any guide, TLC will exploit Alana – they made a habit of doing so on “Toddlers and Tiaras.” Alana infamously yelled: “A dollar makes me holler, Honey Boo Boo,” and was shown spinning in circles while guzzling “Go-Go Juice.” “Go-Go Juice,” later revealed to be a blend of Mountain Dew and Red Bull, was created by Alana’s mother to boost Alana’s energy so that she could successfully compete in pageants.

“Toddlers and Tiaras” also exploited children sexually, regularly showing children dressed in skimpy outfits. One child dressed up as the Julia Roberts prostitute character in “Pretty Woman.” Other toddlers were similarly dressed in revealing outfits; another girl dressed up as Dolly Parton, complete with fake breasts and rear end enhancements. During the show, Alana squeezed her belly, saying: “I showed my belly to the judges. Look at this big thing. They don’t know a good thing when they see it.”

Even liberal Think Progress’ Alyssa Rosenberg criticized “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo,” declaring: “Whenever news of some media move that exploits children in a way that creates a permanent record breaks, I end up feeling like a Church Lady.  But it really does seem like we need some sort of media code of ethics when it comes to the presentation of children.”

TLC regularly explores controversial topics for ratings. TLC mocked virgins in a 2011 series, “Virgin Diaries,” and explored the lives of a polygamist family in “Sister Wives.”

Sexuality Culture/Society ThinkProgress Alyssa Rosenberg Julia Roberts Dolly Parton Alana Thompson