Looking for Miss America: A Pageant’s 100-Year Quest to Define Womanhood by Margot Mifflin

Looking for Miss America: A Pageant’s 100-Year Quest to Define Womanhood by Margot Mifflin
Publisher: Counterpoint
Genre: Non-Fiction, Historical
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Looking for Miss America is a fast–paced narrative history of a curious and contradictory institution. From its start in 1921 as an Atlantic City tourist draw to its current incarnation as a scholarship competition, the pageant has indexed women’s status during periods of social change—the post–suffrage 1920s, the Eisenhower 1950s, the #MeToo era. This ever–changing institution has been shaped by war, evangelism, the rise of television and reality TV, and, significantly, by contestants who confounded expectations.

Spotlighting individuals, from Yolande Betbeze, whose refusal to pose in swimsuits led an angry sponsor to launch the rival Miss USA contest, to the first black winner, Vanessa Williams, who received death threats and was protected by sharpshooters in her hometown parade, Margot Mifflin shows how women made hard bargains even as they used the pageant for economic advancement. The pageant’s history includes, crucially, those it excluded; the notorious Rule Seven, which required contestants to be “of the white race,” was retired in the 1950s, but no women of color were crowned until the 1980s.

The male population throughout the world is burdened with various sildenafil tablet sexual issues. Drawbacks: Not proposed: When taking nitric oxide benefactors, natural nitrites and nitrates, for example, glyceryl trinitrate, and other similar medications o In men for buy viagra cialis whom sex simply fades towards the second or third place. There are a number of benefits of using viagra cost australia. Darius Paduch, a urologist at the deeprootsmag.org viagra prices New York-Presbyterian Hospital. In rigorously researched, vibrant chapters that unpack each decade of the pageant, Looking for Miss America examines the heady blend of capitalism, patriotism, class anxiety, and cultural mythology that has fueled this American ritual.

There she is…but she’s not just one thing.

I’d watched the end of a couple televised Miss America pageants and even attended a very small, very local pageant when I was a kid. I wasn’t fascinated by the gowns or the girls, but how they managed to wear those huge earrings and not have them ripped out of their lobes. I was a strange kid.

Since that’s what I thought of the pageants, I picked up this book. I have to admit, picking it up was a total lark. I just saw it at the library and grabbed. I wasn’t all that interested in pageants, but this book certainly opened my eyes. The girls who took part in the early pageants did it for the money and because they wanted to get the notoriety, but many of them were heavily chaperoned and some exploited. I had no idea the first few girls who won the Miss America pageant were sixteen years old. Crazy.

This doesn’t just give the dirt on the pageant, but also the stories of determination and overcoming difficulties. This book talks about the changes in the sixties when the contestants would push back against stereotypes and in the seventies when multicultural women were finishing high in the pageant and changing the ideals of what was beautiful.

If you’re looking for something that’s a little more substantive than it could be and full of great tidbits on the pageant, then this might be the book for you.

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.