Queens of Academe

By Karen W. Tice,

Book cover of Queens of Academe: Beauty Pageantry, Student Bodies, and College Life

Book description

Universities are unlikely venues for grading, branding, and marketing beauty, bodies, poise, and style. Nonetheless, thousands of college women have sought not only college diplomas but campus beauty titles and tiaras throughout the twentieth century. The cultural power of beauty pageants continues today as campus beauty pageants, especially racial and…

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1 author picked Queens of Academe as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

A history of campus pageants going back to the 1920s, Queens of Academe considers not only their “calibrations of class and femininity,” but also their racial and (overwhelmingly Christian) religious underpinnings. Tice chronicles how campus competitions (many of which are feeder pageants for Miss America) allayed fears that educated women would renounce home and hearth, and traces the ways they’ve evolved to reflect social progress. Two chapters—“We are Here: Pageants as Racial ‘Homeplaces’ and Ethnic Combat Zones” and “Flesh and Spirit: Bibles, Beauty and Bikinis”—examine neglected aspects of pageant scholarship, showing how Black swimsuit contestants faced a unique challenge in…

From Margot's list on how the Miss America pageant was born.

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