Justice

This Amy Schumer Sketch Nails the Problem With Pageant Culture

July 11th 2015

By:
Laura Donovan

With the "Miss USA" pageant in full swing, I can't help thinking about comedian Amy Schumer's recent sketch titled "Babies and Bustiers," which highlights the absurdity of beauty pageant culture and its outdated expectations of participants.

In the segment, which aired on "Inside Amy Schumer" two months ago, Schumer takes jabs at the Southern obsession with beauty pageants and stage moms who put pressure on their "little ladies" to be the prettier girls in the room and win. 

Schumer plays a six-year-old trapped in a grown woman's body and competes in a pageant against other young kids:

Schumer stands out from the other participants, not just in appearance, but in the way she refuses to abide by pageant standards. She stuffs her face with a burrito and passes gas in front of the other girls, throws a tantrum, and munches on food against her mother's wishes.

"You've got to understand that you have to act like a pretty princess," the pageant director tells Schumer a Southern drawl.

"I am!" Schumer yells as she rolls on the floor in a fit.

Jennifer Coolidge portrays Schumer's stage mom who considers herself the only "grounded" stage mom around, even though she forbids her child from eating.

"You need new teeth and a new personality," Coolidge's character says. "If God didn't want this for my daughter, then why the Hell did he make her so freakin' attractive?"

The sketch was well-received, with many saying Schumer channeled TLC reality star Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson, a young pageant competitor who loved joking about farts on her show: 

Fifteen years ago, "Miss Congeniality" premiered and made fun of the superficiality of pageants as well:

Several years later, "Little Miss Sunshine" mocked pageant culture as well:

Earlier this year, actress Sarah Michelle Gellar suggested pageants become a thing of the past, referencing Miss South Carolina's confusing remark at the 2007 Miss Teen USA pageant:

When asked why she thought some Americans are unable to identify the the United States on a world map, Miss South Carolina famously gave this mind-boggling answer:

"I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, uh, some people out there in our nation don't have maps and, uh, I believe that our education like such as in South Africa and, uh, the Iraq, everywhere like such as, and, I believe that they should, our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S., uh, or, uh, should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries, so we will be able to build up our future."