Worrying About Honey Boo Boo.


dirtyandthirty.com

dirtyandthirty.com

The other day I found myself worrying about Honey Boo Boo. Yes, there I was wondering what happened to Alana Thompson, AKA: Honey Boo Boo, the little girl who had her own show, for mostly behaving obnoxiously. I wasn’t a fan of the show; in fact, I’ve only seen two episodes. That was all I could handle. I found it tasteless, silly, and I felt like the very nature of the show was set up to make fun of this little girl and her family. A giant dose of bullying, that seemed to be validated by the fact that it was a television program… on a channel, no less, that was known as “The Learning Chanel” for years, now TLC. None of that was appealing to me, though it was an enormously popular show. However, I’ve always been intrigued by pop culture, and when this little girl who does pageants became a pop phenomenon, I was curious. I watched the two episodes, and that was more than enough to leave me utterly disheartened.

Then I started reading the covers of newspapers (the ones you see when you’re in the check out line) and hearing bits on TV, that Honey’s mother, “Mama June,” was dating a man who had sexually molested Honey’s older daughter, “Chicadee,” in 2002, when Chicadee was eight. For weeks there were updates and intense focus on the family. TLC cancelled “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo”… and it all just went away. There was nothing in the news– none of the salacious updates that had been so prominent for weeks; the subject of Honey Boo Boo just stopped being a media focus.

Again, none of this interested me that much; I didn’t watch the show. But over time, I realized that what did matter to me was that this little girl has been exploited by the media and possibly her own family, and now that she was potentially at risk, that same audience didn’t want a part in it. When her family was stuffing “cheese balls” and soda in their mouths, and talking and behaving like “hillbillies,” when folks could watch this little girl painted and dressed like a caricature and judged in pageants, it was all entertaining. These antics were making millions of dollars for TLC, and Honey Boo Boo’s family were living the celebrity life that so many reality stars seek: attention, attention, and more attention… and lots of money for it.

hollywoodlife.com

hollywoodlife.com

When it was revealed that Mama June’s lover was the same man that served 10 years in prison for sexually assaulting June’s then eight-year old daughter, Chicadee, TLC told the tabloid TV show TMZ: “Supporting the health and welfare of these remarkable children is our only priority.” Forgive me if I’m cynical about that, but how is the network doing that? The way I see it, the same network that was willing to exploit any and all antics of this family, promptly dropped the show when things got dicy.

I sit on the board of a local agency, Brigid Collins, that’s stated mission is “to break they cycle of child abuse.” They have set a goal of ending all sexual abuse in our county. If that sounds like a monumental goal; it is. However, in the time I’ve worked with the organization I’ve come to believe that this is actually possible. It’s all about awareness. It’s all about educating communities to know what to watch for– how to protect our kids from abuse and predators by educating ourselves, and being vigilant. Having just spent an entire weekend at a Board retreat, to discuss ways to achieve these goals, it is particularly jarring to me that Alana- Honey Boo Boo- Thompson, a nine year old child would be left in a situation where a known molester is present, when frankly, it might have been the most meaningful time for the cameras to be present.

Somehow it’s ok to film that child being dressed up in make-up and sequins and prancing provocatively down a runway, for our entertainment. It’s ok to film her eating unhealthy foods, and behaving outrageously for our amusement. But when that little girl could potentially be in a risky situation, with an known sexual abuser, the network found that inappropriate to film.

If TMZ and Honey Boo Boo’s family wanted to do a reality show, it could have been an infinitely meaningful dose of reality to talk about preventing sexual abuse, what to look for, and keeping our children safe– keeping Honey Boo Boo safe. There’s nothing to suggest that she has in any way been at risk with her mother’s relationship, but it’s disturbing to me that this child was sold in all kinds of ways, but when the potential for real harm was present, the cameras were pulled and the show was cancelled. Suddenly everyone was talking about what a train wreck the situation was, but there seemed to be no meaningful dialogue about what to do to protect that child.

I spend a lot of time thinking about, and talking about, how to end sexual abuse for children, with a group of people who work in the field and passionately seek to make our world safer for children. We all want that. However, when we find the topic so unsavory, so uncomfortable, that a network removes a popular show from programming because a sexual predator is present I wonder how we can really protect our kids. Citizens are strongly opposed to a known predator moving into their neighborhood, but as in the case of Honey Boo Boo’s sister, the vast majority (studies show 80%) of sexual abuse cases involve someone known to the victim, not a stranger. A shocking number of prison inmates were sexually assaulted when they were children– that may not elicit compassion for those criminals, but it bears consideration that the most of the people who molest others, were molested as well– making them victims, as well as perpetrators. That’s something worth looking at when we talk about both rehabilitation and prevention.

I didn’t watch the Honey Boo Boo show. I don’t know why I found myself thinking about her the other day, and worrying about her safety. In a time when we can Google virtually anything, I have found nothing on line that suggests she is currently at risk. However in canceling the program “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” right when things got uncomfortable, it seems to me that we all missed a real “teachable moment,” and left a little girl to the wolves.

This piece is also on Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dawn-q-landau/why-we-should-all-be-worried-about-honey-boo-boo_b_7210584.html

To learn more about sexual abuse, check out these sources: International Sexual Assault Resources, Preventing Child Sexual Abuse Resources, Justice Study, Darkness In To Light (Childhood Sexual abuse prevention training–available around the country)

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GIPY

Make me smile; HELP ME REACH MY GOAL:  I’d love to see the Tales From the Motherland Facebook page reach 700 likes in 2015. Have you stopped by to spread some fairy dust? Follow me on Twitter, it’s where I’mforced to be brief.  Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. I love to hear what readers think. Honest, positive or constructive feedback is always welcome. Click Follow; you’ll get each new post delivered by email, with no spam.  If you see ads on this page, please let me know. They shouldn’t be there.  ©2015  Please note, that all content and images on this site are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland, unless specifically noted otherwise. If you want to share my work, please give proper credit. Plagiarism sucks.

About Dawn Quyle Landau

Mother, Writer, treasure hunter, aging red head, and sushi lover. This is my view on life, "Straight up, with a twist––" because life is too short to be subtle! Featured blogger for Huffington Post, and followed on Twitter by LeBron James– for reasons beyond my comprehension.
This entry was posted in Childhood sexual abuse, Education, Honey Boo Boo, Media, Tales From the Motherland, TV and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

37 Responses to Worrying About Honey Boo Boo.

  1. Dawn, I don’t blame you. I’d be concerned also. It worries me that “any” child has to live and survive under those circomstances. I don’t know how any mother can take someone into their home who commits such a crime. I can only imagine the hell the older girl was, and perhaps still is, going through having that man in the house. After all, we depend on our parents to protect us, not put us at risk. I hope that little girl is alright. This just goes to show how shallow and uncaring entertainment providers can be at times. — Suzanne

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    • In reading material on line, regarding Honey Boo Boo, there were several references to the trauma Chicadee felt, in having this man around again. It is reprehensible that her mother would bring him back into her life. That said, this is why parenting education is so important! We all owe it to ourselves and society, to be educated on the topic, so that we can all help protect children.

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  2. Thank you so much for writing about this. I completely agree with you and hope that Alana is safe. For some reason my post about this topic never showed up on the reader, but I, too wrote about sexual abuse very recently. About my own experience. Bless you for the work you do. Didn’t know about the agency.

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    • I’ll look that post up, Susan (feel free to leave a link here). While I think that Alana may have more eyes on her, I just think that there is a horrible irony in filming a child’s life, and then stepping out when she needs them!

      And yes, Brigid Collins is right in your back yard (they service Skagit as well!) and offers all kind of amazing services to the community, county, and state!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. We have TLC here in Croatia and I am constantly surprised by the “quality” of program. And to learn what TLC stands for, that made me sad. I don’t know if TLC was at some point “the learning channel”, but the stuff they air today is tragic.

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  4. digitalbogie says:

    Reblogged this on The Adventures of DIGITAL BOGIE.

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  5. wildbilbo says:

    Your comments on the importance of protecting the interests of the child here are correct, one might have hoped ‘obvious’, but clearly that’s gives too much credit to people. Anyway I agree & have nothing to add on that point.

    In relation to the ‘reality’ show itself, this show struck me as the lowest of a low bunch. People watch this and other similar stuff to be amused by the less educated, the less fortunate, and sometimes the simply stupid. It’s the modern day equivalent of the freak show – a mean spirited laugh at the expense of someone else, mainly to make us feel better about ourselves. I can’t stand most of it.

    KT

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    • What bothers me most, KT, is that “mean spirited laugh” is mostly at the expense of a child! She deserves to be protected and educated, not just highlighted for doing foolish things. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, KT; I appreciate your time.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. 143coaching says:

    Thanks for this Dawn!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. jgroeber says:

    It’s interesting to compare this train wreck of a show with its mirror image, the Kardashians. Opposite extremes but something about the ridiculousness and the possible exploitation feels familiar. And it’s interesting to consider how Bruce Jenner, whether forced by paparazzi or voluntarily, took the moment to do the more difficult thing, which is to say, make that strange “reality” life potentially mean something. (Btw- I know I may be overly optimistic about Jenner’s motives or impact, but still. One can hope…)
    Interesting perspective, Dawn. Glad you wrote this.

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    • Oh, I am with you on that, Jen– personally, I believe that Bruce Jenner is absolutely doing what he’s doing for authentic reasons, and I truly hope that his courage and willingness to share his experience publicly will help other transgender kids and adults.

      That said, I also agree that there is an absolutely exploitative element to both shows. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Jen; I always appreciate your time and compassionate view.

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  8. anita ibeakanma says:

    Reblogged this on Anita.com.

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  9. You know Dawn, you took a very good angle on this. Frankly, I can’t even talk about it without getting furious — furious that we as a society consider this acceptable entertainment. This appeals to all the high school bullies all grown up and no one to laugh at or bully anymore. It’s a really good thing this isn’t the 1500s and I’m not the Queen, or else heads would be rolling left right and centre. We as a society are guilty of our own ills by creating a market. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If we, in solidarity, all turned off the TV, refused to buy the magazines, etc… and spent more time talking to each other, the world would be a much better place. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ditto, ditto, ditto! I love when you stop by Helena, as I know you will say some of the things I could have added, and totally agree with. As I typed last night, the issue of bullying ran through my head over and over… but the piece was getting longer and longer. It felt like a whole other and enormously important post to write. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here, and adding so much to the conversation!

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  10. Carrie Rubin says:

    I didn’t like the concept of that show from the start. I never watched it, but I saw snippets of it on the news and such, and I thought how unfair for that child. Just because she seems to love the camera and is a willing participant doesn’t mean she’ll still feel that way as an adult looking back on it. As an adult, she may be embarrassed and unhappy about being so visible as a child. As parents we need to weigh long-term outcomes for our children as well as short-term.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carrie, I could not agree with you more! While I understand that her parents gave permission for her to be in the series, it seemed exploitive on so many levels. I’m not sure anyone was weighing potential “long-term outcomes” for this child!

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      • Carrie Rubin says:

        I even worry about kids whose parents posts videos and lots of pictures of them online. I know as an adult, I wouldn’t want my childhood photos and videos available for anyone to see. I understand that’s a personal choice–others might not have a problem with it. But how can we as parents know whether our kids would want this as adults? We can’t. So like you, I think caution is always in order in these types of situations.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I have been fairly judicious with posting photos on my blog, for that very reason. I generally post the same batch of early shots, that my kids have all ok’ed. Anything more, I give a lot of thought to. I realize that in an age of “mommy blogs” this is a gray area, but in addition to what our kids want out there, I am also very aware that predators can follow any blog, just as easily as you or I. I may end up looking paranoid, but I’d rather err on the side of caution, when it comes to children.

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          • Carrie Rubin says:

            Me too. My kids don’t want their pics online, and the few I have used, they’ve okayed first. I like that my teenage sons want little to do with the online world. I think more teens are starting to feel the same. They’ve seen what all this “out there-ness” leads to.

            Liked by 1 person

  11. susanissima says:

    I’ve never watched the show, but I agree with you. It’s unthinkably horrific how we (and media) turn a blind eye to any hint of abuse. That’s exactly why perps feel free to do what they do. Thanks for writing this post, Dawn. BTW, who is protecting HBB right now?

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    • That is exactly the question that got me worrying, Susan. Who is protecting HBB now!? That’s my point. The network and viewers all walked away, when this child needed protecting. It takes a village… but a village that is willing to be hyper vigilant when, when it comes to our children. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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  12. hbksloss says:

    I’m am not a fan of reality shows at all. I think they appeal to the worst in us. Most of the time they are rewarding outrageous behavior that I find unacceptable. But when they ate about families in which the parents are encouraging the exploitation of their own children I can’t watch. Honey Boo Boo (and the Kardashian’s) is a great example of parents exploiting their children for Monday, fame and attention. Parents are supposed to protect their kids, not expose and exploit. Thanks for bringing this issue up, I too wondered what happened as I can’t imagine any positive outcome for this family.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I would be a bold faced liar if I didn’t own that I do watch some reality TV– I’ve shared that before. However, I am not interested in programming that exploits kids. I find it tasteless at the least, and appalling in general. What really scares me is the point of this blog… what happens when the cameras go away? For some kids, that’s when things really get tough. Thanks for weighing in, Heidi. I always appreciate your perspective.

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  13. Amy Reese says:

    Dawn, thanks for calling attention to child abuse, because we can’t discuss it enough. I’ve never seen this show, but I’m sure it’s horrible. It’s all about satisfying people’s thirst for trash TV and the network probably pulled it because of advertising dollars at stake. Who knows? It’s very sad. It’s why I don’t watch much TV any more. I hope these young girls are safe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Amy, I can see why anyone would avoid this kind of television. The dialogue about childhood sexual abuse is enormous, and you’re right: we can’t discuss it enough. It’s not about this show, it’s about allowing kids to be at risk, and not shining a light on it. Thanks for joining the discussion.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Valery says:

    A caring, compassionate soul would think of Honey-Boo-Boo with concern. I can only hope that there is someone in her life with even half your heart, Dawn.

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  15. Laurel Leigh says:

    I can’t stop thinking about this post. She’s not the first child to be exploited, but the entire premise of the show always seemed somewhat degrading. One can only hope there is some prevention happening behind the scenes to keep her safe, but somehow I doubt it.

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    • This post is up on HuffPo now too… I wanted to add some edits, that I was able to put in this one, but it went live too quickly! The main point being, that the show itself was (in my opinion) highly aimed at a collective bullying and teasing, of a young child and her family, that always bothered me. I found it particularly disturbing that when that same child was put in palpable risk, the cameras turned away and the public stopped watching. We should all be watching, all the time! There are far too many children like Honey Boo Boo, who are at risk– and it’s just too uncomfortable to get involved. Thanks for your thoughts, Laurel Leigh. I always appreciate your words.

      Like

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