Stage Dads Proud to Hit the Beauty Pageant Circuit

Filed under: In The News

Moms may fill up the majority of the audience at most children's beauty pageants, but there are plenty of daddy's little girls in the competitions -- and their fathers are not only teaching them talents and coaching them through routines, but also sewing their gowns.

Yes, stage dads are making their presences known in the pageant circuit, even gaining regular recognition on "Toddlers & Tiaras," returning for its fourth season on TLC June 15, "Good Morning America" reports.

Leading the charge is Texas divorced dad David Perez, who refers to himself as the Super Dad of Pageants, according to the news show, helping his two daughters, ages 4 and 1, through their competitions.

"Actually, at the beginning of this whole thing, I seem to have been the only one -- the only pageant dad that was brave enough to admit that they enjoy being there and I love it," he tells "GMA."

But others -- well, they just don't get it. Perez has been the object of a flurry of criticism following his appearances on "Toddlers & Tiaras." Bloggers and commenters say, like pageant moms, pageant dads are exploiting their daughters, sexualizing children and sending the wrong message to little girls. Oh, and the dad's sexuality? It's continually called into question.

"I wasn't so much surprised, it was hurtful at first (because) it wasn't towards me -- I could care less what people think of me," Perez tells "GMA. "What it hurt was that it would get to my children. Who I am is a dad. The only thing is that I know how to sew. I have never been one to label myself. As Americans, if I think that I'm fabulous, well, I'm fabulous."

Scott Dickey, also featured on "Toddlers and Tiaras" with his daughter, Paisley, tells "GMA" being a pageant dad wasn't exactly something he'd always dreamed of becoming.

"If somebody told me I was gonna be sitting here at a pageant with a daughter, I would have told them they were crazy," he tells the news show. "I definitely take the male traditional role. I'm there for the muscle to move things, get things together. ... (But) as long as she wants to do it, I'm gonna be there and support her 100 percent."

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.