There's one thing about allowing a child to participate in beauty pageants. But, it's quite another if the costumes being worn by the child are not age appropriate and could be viewed at as sexual in nature. For any parent, the thought that a custodial parent is exploiting their child is surely disturbing and could be enough of a reason to take that parent back to court for child custody.
This is exactly what is going on now between the mother and father of a 6-year-old girl who appeared on TLC's "Toddlers &Tiaras," which is a reality TV show highlighting the world of competitive child pageants.
On one episode, the little girl, Maddy, was competing dressed up like Dolly Parton. The outfit -- which her mother dressed her in -- came complete with a padded bra and butt pads.
After the episode aired, the estranged husband asked a court for sole custody of his 6-year-old daughter. He claims that when the mother dressed their daughter up rather provocatively like Dolly Parton she was sexually exploiting the little girl.
So far a court-appointed psychologist agreed with the father and recommended that he be granted sole custody. However, the mother claims that the costume was not supposed to be sexual in nature.
As of now, a judge hearing the case has thrown reporters out of the courtroom and has placed a gag order on Maddy's mother. Maddy is also banned from participating in any pageant activity until the trial comes to an end. The next court hearing is schedule for Aug. 31.
Source: ABC News, "Custody at Risk After 'Toddlers & Tiaras' Star Wears Fake Boobs, Butt," Aug. 20, 2012