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Tom Hanks spoofs ‘Toddlers and Tiaras’

25 May

Have you seen the TV show ‘Toddlers and Tiaras’? Just to bring you up to speed, it’s an American reality series on Foxtel that follows little girls and their mums as they prepare to compete in pageants – kind of like Miss Universe – but for 5 year olds. A standard prep for such a contest includes manicures, pedicures, spray tans, industrial grade make-up (complete with false eyelashes), teeth whitening, and costumes that cost in the hundreds of dollars.
 Natural is out. Fake is in. Just to repeat – these girls are five. years. old. The mothers are stage mums on steroids. Each one insists they only do it as their daughter’s insistence, yet the regularity of their daughters’ tantrums suggest otherwise. You more get the sense that the mums are beauty pageant has-beens who are now projecting their own (failed) dreams onto their little girls – that is – ‘where I failed, you can succeed’. It’s the kind of show that makes you roll your eyes and think ‘only in America’. But to suggest that all Americans are comfortable with the pageant scene would be a mistake, as this spoof video by Tom Hanks suggests. Watch it here. Hanks produced it as a skit for a US talk show called Jimmy Kimmel Live. It’s a hilarious send-up of ‘Toddlers and Tiaras’ with a fantastic cameo by Ron Howard at the end. But underneath the comedy lies a potent message opposing the sexualisation of little girls, which is what these pageants appear to be doing.