I have a bold statement to make. The kind that when I make it on the internet I get mocked or, in person, receive an eye roll followed by the question of, “Really?” I want to discuss it at length though, because I feel this is really important. Okay?
I don’t find it terribly unusual myself, but here it is: I like Honey Boo Boo Child. I like her a lot.
I mean it – this is not me being ironic or sarcastic. I honestly love her and her family. Possibly, maybe what I have to say will make you “redneckognize” the awesomeness they possess. (I had to throw that in there. Not sorry.)
First of all, if you have been living under a rock for the last eight months and are unaware of her and her family’s influence on pop culture, I will give you a quick run down on who Honey Boo Boo (HBB) is. Honey Boo Boo, aka: Alana Thompson, is a pint sized pageant queen from McIntyre, Georgia. Originally she was featured on the controversial show, Toddlers & Tiaras. The impression she and her family made had a great enough impact to bring about a spin off reality show following their day to day lives last summer. Since their show began airing, it exploded into a huge pop culture phenomenon – enough to lead to parodies of them on South Park and Saturday Night Live. However, they have received a lot of backlash due to them being “morbidly obese rednecks.” I assure you, there is a whole lot more to this family than merely being fat rednecks.
What appeals to me and what I often speak about when conversing with people in attempts to lead them on over to the Boo Boo side: how genuine they are. The show is not edited to show them in some pristine light. They fart, belch, and, on one episode, had a contest where they blind folded each other and smelled one another’s breath in a foul guessing game of who’s who. Whether they are “shopping at the department store” (dumpster diving) or goofing around about Mama’s fork lift foot at the local water park, they are always themselves. It is very apparent in the show that there is a lot of love and acceptance of one another. Alana has even been praised by the LGBT Community for stating that there “ain’t nothin’ wrong with bein’ a little gay” in regards to her Uncle Poodle – an out gay man. I mean, does that truly fit the redneck stereotype? There is a sincerity to me that seems to be lacking on a lot of reality shows. These people don’t have make up trailers and artists making them look “beautimous,” as June would say. These are people that jump in mud pits and get in food fights on a regular basis. This ain’t no HOUSEWIVES OF MCINTYRE, GEORGIA ON BRAVO, OK, Y’ALL!
Now, that argument tends to lead to the response of, “Oh whatever, Nicole, it is all fake. They are making a ton of money, and you are putting it in their pocket!” Oh, on the contrary, various reports have divulged the family makes about $50,000 per episode, and HBB herself has a net worth of $300,00o. All of which is being placed into trust funds for all of the daughters by Mama June! Any gift that is mailed out to Alana goes right back to charities, and they are always collecting food and toys for charities! The biggest splurge the family has made since becoming reality stars is on a 2005 Ford Expedition. You don’t see Mama June rolling up to premieres in a Rolls Royce throwing money around; she is still the self proclaimed coupon queen that we see on the show. If you can say anything about how June is raising those girls, it is obvious she is teaching her daughters how to be reasonable and responsible with money, caring and empathetic towards others, while giving them a good foundation for their future endeavors by showing them how to be financially independent. If that isn’t promoting grrl power, I don’t really know what is?
A lot of the comments and arguments I receive from people is that the show promotes obesity. Oh here we go – come to the fat girl to cry a river about other fatties taking up space on the boob tube! Lord, have mercy! HOW DARE THEY ALLOW FAT PEOPLE ON A SHOW THAT ISN’T A DIETING CHALLENGE, RIGHT? Now, do I really find some of their eating habits tantalizing? No, not at all. I really have no interest in eating “sketti.” This isn’t really a concern of mine, and it shouldn’t be anyone else’s considering they aren’t HBB’s pediatric doctor or the family members’ general practitioner for that matter. What I can say is all of those girls are confident and love themselves just as they are. And why shouldn’t they?
It is disgusting to me to read things on the internet written by adults shaming these girls for their weight. Watching Alana do her little strut at pageants and proclaiming that her size is beautiful does my heart good. I know it took me, a thirty one year old adult woman, years to come to terms with my own size and weight and to realize that I was gorgeous just as I am. If I ever were to become a parent, I would wish and hope my possible daughter would recognize her beauty and worth early on in her life and never allow anyone tell her otherwise. Alana is beautiful. So is her family. All in their own very unique, colorful, and loud way.
Before you flip the channel past TLC when a rerun of Honey Boo Boo Child is airing, take a closer look and maybe next time you won’t skip past it so fast. Maybe you will open yourself up to all the possibilities. All the bingo faces, sneezes, and, most importantly, the fun. Open your heart to the farts and the beauty of it all. Get your glitz on and enjoy the show.
Nar is living a fabulous punk life in Pittsburgh, PA. Her biggest inspirations are John Waters, Latrice Royale, and Divine. She’s the fiercest mama yinz has ever seen.