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Living Dolls: The Making of a Child Beauty Queen (2001)

TV Movie  -  Documentary  -  13 May 2001 (USA)
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 253 users  
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Documentary about the subculture of child beauty pageants (usually restricted to girls no older than 5), showing the lengths to which some parents will go to ensure that their children win these pageants...

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Title: Living Dolls: The Making of a Child Beauty Queen (TV Movie 2001)

Living Dolls: The Making of a Child Beauty Queen (TV Movie 2001) on IMDb 7.7/10

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Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Credited cast:
Swan Brooner ...
Herself
Robin Browne ...
Herself (swan's mother)
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...
Himself - Host
Tim Whitmer ...
Himself
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Documentary about the subculture of child beauty pageants (usually restricted to girls no older than 5), showing the lengths to which some parents will go to ensure that their children win these pageants...

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13 May 2001 (USA)  »

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Quotes

Robin Browne: Smile baby, people are looking at you.
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Connections

Referenced in Little Miss Sunshine (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

Critique of femininity in the film
10 May 2004 | by (Binghamton, NY) – See all my reviews

`Living Dolls' is a very amusing film to say the least. The 'accurate' depictions of beauty conveyed in the film only further promote the typical American male definition of beauty and femininity: Barbie. The film furthers these stereotypes with John Berger's idea of the surveyor and surveyed, meaning that men act and women appear based on how the male wants them to appear. The film portrays young children made into dolls as they are coached, dressed, and made up, in order to turn them into a 'beauty queen.' The viewer cannot help but be amazed at the lengths parents will go through to make their child 'beautiful.' Your mouth will be agape as you hear coaches talking about putting hair extensions on 18-month-old babies, and fake teeth on children whose baby teeth were not perfectly straight. It is almost disturbing to see the objectification of these little women as they turn into Barbie dolls. In the process of following one child's, Swan's, journey to 'femininity,' one cannot help but notice the lack of 'femininity' her mother possesses. Ironically, as Swan turns into the ideal female, her mother breaks all stereotypical barriers of what a women and mother should be. She is not nurturing nor does she protect and provide for her family. She is an ex-marine who spends the bulk of her time training Swan to be a beauty queen while she neglects her older children. As Swan is the center of her mother's attention and time, her mom fails to notice her other children. She does not notice her daughter maturing and starting to date, nor does she notice her son's cries for attention as he is constantly in and out of jail. Mom does not nurture and protect her children; she does not cook real meals for them and she acts as a drill sergeant with her children being her soldiers. The lower class white family feels the economic burden of Swan's 'perfection' as Mom spends the families money on the costs of pageant entry fees, transportation, professional coaching, custom made clothing, and rewards for Swan's performance. It is also enjoyable to watch Swan's mom be the dominant partner in her relationship. One cannot help but chuckle when watching Mom's boyfriend bike ride to work as she takes his van.

`Living Dolls' is a movie for the open minded that will undoubtedly make you laugh several times while making you awestruck at the objectification of these children.


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