TLC's Toddlers & Tiaras In Hot Water Over Pretty Woman Costume

If imitation is the best form of flattery, then Pretty Woman‘s fictional prostitute Vivian will be pleased to know there’s a pint-sized aspiring beauty queen following in her footsteps (or thigh-high boot-steps), at least, as far as her pageant costume goes. TLC’s Toddlers & Tiaras is under fire over a recent episode, which included a 3-year-old dressed as Julia Roberts’ character from the popular ’80’s rom-com about a prostitute and a john.

According to Entertainment Weekly, PTC, a parenting group, spoke out against TLC for the episode.

“We have a serious problem when The Learning Channel* features a toddler, who probably hasn’t even learned to read, dressed as a prostitute showing off her sexy strut,” says Melissa Henson, director of communications and public education for the PTC: “There’s no question, TV executives are complicit in robbing these small kids of their childhood. For years we’ve seen adult sexuality being inappropriately and aggressively foisted on innocent young children, but children today are being sexualized at younger and younger ages.”

This can’t be the first time a parent group has targeted T&T. The TLC series regularly showcases the hectic, stressful, and frankly, strange world of child pageantry, where little girls are dressed up in grown-up like outfits, covered in make-up and done-up with elaborate hair designs. I don't quite get the appeal of these pageants, and if ever there was a movie that grasped the weirdness of them, it's Little Miss Sunshine.

?According to EW, the mother of the girl who dressed as “Vivian” from Pretty Woman defended the choice in costume by explaining that she’s a Julia Roberts fan. While that’s a fair explanation, there are a number of other more kid-friendly Julias she might have gone with like, say, Tinkerbell from Hook? Heck, even Vivian post-shopping-spree would’ve been a better angle than the Vivian we see walking Hollywood Boulevard and seducing Richard Gere in his borrowed Lotus Esprit.

EW has a photo of the child, and a video clip from the episode.

Kelly West
Assistant Managing Editor

Kelly joined CinemaBlend as a freelance TV news writer in 2006 and went on to serve as the site’s TV Editor before moving over to other roles on the site. At present, she’s an Assistant Managing Editor who spends much of her time brainstorming and editing feature content on the site.