Pedophile's Delight? 'Toddlers and Tiaras' Star, 4, Dons Fake Boobs, Butt

PHOTO: Maddy Jackson dresses up like country star Dolly Parton in the Toddlers and Tiaras.
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Clad in a hot pink catsuit, complete with fake C-cup breasts and padded buttocks, 4-year-old Maddy Jackson channeled her best Dolly Parton in the most recent episode of "Toddlers and Tiaras."

"I want to show the judges how beautiful I am," Maddy said on the show.

"When she wears the fake boobs and the fake butt it's just like an added extra bonus and it's really funny when she comes out on stage and everybody thinks it's hysterical," her mother Lindsay said.

But not everyone is laughing. The online community has been buzzing with criticisms and expressions of disgust for Maddy's outfit and the sexualization of girls on the show.

"Is this child abuse?" asked one Twitter user in response to the episode.

"Hope for the future... fading...," another wrote as a retort to the show.

"OH MY GOD!!!! THEY ARE MONTSERS!!!! THOSE PARENTS ARE MONSTERS!!!!" a Facebook user wrote.

Maddy and her mother shrugged off the naysayers, acknowledging that the fake lady parts give her a leg up on the competition.

"We tend to score really well with it all the way around from most everybody," said Jackson.

But the ramifications for such behavior goes far beyond a single beauty pageant competition, experts say. Such sexualization at such a young age has potential to affect a girl throughout her life.

"This behavior has an effect on what it means for the child herself, and what it means for other people, including other children who see it," said Diane Levin, author of the book, "So Sexy So Soon: The Next Sexualized Childhood and How Parents Can Protect Their Kids." "The girl clearly sees being pretty as pretty in a sexy way, like a grown up woman."

The show has also been criticized as potential fodder for pedophiles.

"Paedophile's wet dream; 4 y/o girl in padded bra for Toddlers & Tiaras show," a Twitter user wrote.

"You are all disgusting child molesterors, how do you live with yourselves?" another critic wrote on the show's Facebook page. "What, you didnt go to the prom so now you gotta dress your 5 yr old up like a hooker to fill that achey breakey heart of yours?"

Levin noted that the girls' dolled-up looks could push some adults who have trouble keeping boundaries with underage girls even further.

"This could blur the boundaries for people who are having trouble controlling their pedophilia predisposition," said Levin.

While a 4-year-old wearing fake breasts is an extreme version of this type of objectification, this sexiness begins to normalize the expectation of little girls' appearances, Levin said.

In response to the "increasing problem" of the sexualization of girls in the media, the American Psychological Association created a task force to research and respond to the problem.

"We don't want kids to grow up too fast," Shari Miles-Cohen, senior director of women's programs for the American Psychological Association, told ABCNews.com in August. "We want them to be able to develop physically, emotionally, psychologically and socially at appropriate rates for their age."

Testing out adult behaviors as a child may have lifelong consequences, said Dr. Ari Brown, a Texas pediatrician and author of "Toddler 411."

While Brown said one cannot assume that all young girls who dress inappropriately turn out to have early sexual experiences or other risky behaviors, "I do wonder what type of limit setting and discipline occurs in their household," she said.

4-Year-Old Wears Fake Breasts on Toddlers & Tiaras

As a mother to a 12-year-old girl, Brown acknowledged the difficulty in shielding her from the sexualization of girls and the objectification of women in society.

"Childhood is a time to learn about the world, explore, pretend, imagine, and create in a safe vacuum of innocence," she said. "Bypassing those critical life experiences and developmental stages by trying to dress, act, and be treated like an adult leaves these children lacking important life skills that help them be confident and successful adults."

To combat the inevitable bombardment of images on shows like Toddlers and Tiaras, Levin encouraged parents to communicate with their children about what it is they're seeing on TV and hearing at school. It's important for parents not to brush these images off as inappropriate behavior, marketing and media, but to acknowledge and explain to children what they're seeing and what makes it inappropriate.

"Of course, you should protect children as much as possible, so you don't go and watch Toddlers and Tiaras with them," said Levin. " We have to set limits, but we also have to teach them how to live productively in this world."

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