Here She Is: The Com­pli­cat­ed Reign of the Beau­ty Pageant in America

  • From the Publisher
September 1, 2019

In Here She Is, Hilary Lev­ey Fried­man reveals the sur­pris­ing ways pageants have been an empow­er­ing fem­i­nist tra­di­tion. She traces the role of pageants in many of the fem­i­nist movement’s sig­na­ture achieve­ments, includ­ing bring­ing women into the pub­lic sphere, help­ing them become lead­ers in busi­ness and pol­i­tics, pro­vid­ing increased edu­ca­tion­al oppor­tu­ni­ties, and giv­ing them a voice in the age of #MeToo. Using her unique per­spec­tive as a NOW state pres­i­dent, daugh­ter to Miss Amer­i­ca 1970, some­times pageant judge, and schol­ar, Fried­man explores how pageants became so deeply embed­ded in Amer­i­can life — from their ori­gins as a P. T. Bar­num spec­ta­cle at the birth of the suf­frage move­ment through today. She looks at how pageantry has mor­phed into cul­ture every­where from The Bach­e­lor to Cheer and spe­cial­ized con­tests. Fried­man also acknowl­edges the dam­ag­ing and unre­al­is­tic expec­ta­tions pageants place on women in soci­ety and dis­cuss­es the con­tro­ver­sies. Pre­sent­ing a more com­plex nar­ra­tive than what’s been pre­vi­ous­ly por­trayed, Here She Is shows that as Amer­i­can women con­tin­ue to evolve, so too will beau­ty pageants.

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