Watching Blinging Up Baby left me feeling uncomfortable, and not just at the thought of that scratchy tutu netting and diamante against little ones’ skins.
This new three-parter is an extension of last year’s one-off documentary on mums who like to spray-tan, bejewel and designer-clad their children. It ended in an Ofcom investigation into whether the children’s welfare had been compromised during filming and column inches in those mags that thrive on parent-bashing.
Undeterred, the channel has found more sparkle-loving mums to expose to public scrutiny. Granted, they may have had more of an idea what they were signing up for than the previous subjects, but you still felt for them. All clearly were trying to do their best for their kids, however misguided.
“Is it nature or nurture and good parenting?” asked the overly upbeat voiceover cutting to a clip of one mother calling her trussed up two-year-old a “sexy lady”. We all know this genre of telly - finger-pointing snobbery dressed (or blinged) up as entertainment.
Very few people are going to agree that forcing oversized diamante earrings on a toddler or letting a six-year loose on fake nail glue is a good idea and the production company knows it – and milks it. The mums, we heard, had their own painful motivations, whether it was trying to instil confidence they never had as children or compensating for a dad’s absence with (unwanted) presents: “The way I dress my children distracts me from what’s happening in real life…the bling keeps me ticking over,” said single mum Sammy who had given up her job to look after her son with special needs.
It was the kids who gave the game away, though. We watched Frankie, 6 (with, heart-warmingly, ambitions to be a police officer), banned from mud but gleefully running off and scuffing up her new white trainers. Later, she had to be bribed through a photo shoot with the promise of a pony ride. Bling, be gone.Reuse content