100 books like "There She Is, Miss America"

By Elwood Watson (editor), Darcy Martin (editor),

Here are 100 books that "There She Is, Miss America" fans have personally recommended if you like "There She Is, Miss America". Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Most Beautiful Girl in the World: Beauty Pageants and National Identity

Margot Mifflin Author Of Looking for Miss America: A Pageant's 100-Year Quest to Define Womanhood

From my list on how the Miss America pageant was born.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write about pop culture and women’s history, often as it relates to the body and beauty. I’m intrigued by the ways women claim unconventional means of expression for their own beautification (such as tattooing) and how they harness beauty in the service of social and economic mobility (as in pageant culture). These books offer insight into the varied ways pageantry, from campus pageants to the Miss America stage, inform American identity and ratify the historian Rosalyn Baxandall’s belief that “every day in a woman’s life is a walking Miss America contest.”

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

Margot Mifflin Why did Margot love this book?

Starting from the premise that beauty pageants are often dismissed as “frivolous, meaningless, or carnivalesque and therefore unworthy of serious sustained intellectual scrutiny,” (4) Banet-Weiser shows how class and race, patriotism, and community values are embodied on the pageant stage. Crucially, she proves that the Miss America pageant doesn’t mean “one thing to one audience” and explains how what may seem like an expression of individual ambition is more frequently a reflection of national ideals—and biases.  

By Sarah Banet-Weiser,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Most Beautiful Girl in the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Sarah Banet-Weiser complicates the standard feminist take on beauty pageants in this intriguing look at a hotly contested but enduringly popular American ritual. She focuses on the Miss America pageant in particular, considering its claim to be an accurate representation of the diversity of contemporary American women. Exploring the cultural constructions and legitimations that go on during the long process of the pageant, Banet-Weiser depicts the beauty pageant stage as a place where concerns about national identity, cultural hopes and desires, and anxieties about race and gender are crystallized and condensed. The beauty pageant, she convincingly demonstrates, is a profoundly…


Book cover of Being Miss America: Behind the Rhinestone Curtain

Margot Mifflin Author Of Looking for Miss America: A Pageant's 100-Year Quest to Define Womanhood

From my list on how the Miss America pageant was born.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write about pop culture and women’s history, often as it relates to the body and beauty. I’m intrigued by the ways women claim unconventional means of expression for their own beautification (such as tattooing) and how they harness beauty in the service of social and economic mobility (as in pageant culture). These books offer insight into the varied ways pageantry, from campus pageants to the Miss America stage, inform American identity and ratify the historian Rosalyn Baxandall’s belief that “every day in a woman’s life is a walking Miss America contest.”

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

Margot Mifflin Why did Margot love this book?

Miss America memoirs tend to be a frothy, humble-braggy business, but Kate Shindle’s well-researched, searingly honest exposé Being Miss America: Behind the Rhinestone Curtain is complex and entertaining. It includes a lively narrative history of the pageant, a warts-and-all account of her own (successful) bid for the 1998 title, a damning analysis of its hypocrisies and shady business practices, and the revelation that competing gave her eating and exercise disorders. She courageously calls herself a hypocrite for publicly pretending Miss America “was all about the big picture while privately striving for an impossible aesthetic.” Still, because of the power it gave her to change the world through her AIDS awareness platform, Shindle, now an actress and president of the Actors Equity Association, says “I wouldn’t trade that year for anything.” 

By Kate Shindle,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Being Miss America as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For nearly a hundred years, young women have competed for the title of Miss America-although what it means to wear the crown and be our "ideal" has changed dramatically over time. The Miss America Pageant began as a bathing beauty contest in 1920s Atlantic City, New Jersey, sponsored by businessmen trying to extend the tourist season beyond Labor Day. In the post-World War II years, the pageant evolved into a national coronation of an idealized "girl next door," as pretty and decorous as she was rarely likely to speak her mind on issues of substance. Since the cultural upheavals of…


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

Margot Mifflin Author Of Looking for Miss America: A Pageant's 100-Year Quest to Define Womanhood

From my list on how the Miss America pageant was born.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write about pop culture and women’s history, often as it relates to the body and beauty. I’m intrigued by the ways women claim unconventional means of expression for their own beautification (such as tattooing) and how they harness beauty in the service of social and economic mobility (as in pageant culture). These books offer insight into the varied ways pageantry, from campus pageants to the Miss America stage, inform American identity and ratify the historian Rosalyn Baxandall’s belief that “every day in a woman’s life is a walking Miss America contest.”

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

Margot Mifflin Why did Margot love this book?

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 deflecting the pernicious Jezebel trope by proving their worth through demonstrations of etiquette, grooming, and racial progress. Even male contestants swagger through these pages—including a Mr. Harvard hopeful who competed in see-through tape and rose-petal pasties. 

By Karen W. Tice,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Queens of Academe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

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 ethnic pageants and pageants for men, have soared in popularity.

In Queens of Academe, Karen W. Tice asks how, and why, does higher education remain in the beauty and body business and with what effects on student bodies and identities. She explores why students compete in and attend pageants such…


Book cover of Drag Queens and Beauty Queens: Contesting Femininity in the World's Playground

Margot Mifflin Author Of Looking for Miss America: A Pageant's 100-Year Quest to Define Womanhood

From my list on how the Miss America pageant was born.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write about pop culture and women’s history, often as it relates to the body and beauty. I’m intrigued by the ways women claim unconventional means of expression for their own beautification (such as tattooing) and how they harness beauty in the service of social and economic mobility (as in pageant culture). These books offer insight into the varied ways pageantry, from campus pageants to the Miss America stage, inform American identity and ratify the historian Rosalyn Baxandall’s belief that “every day in a woman’s life is a walking Miss America contest.”

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

Margot Mifflin Why did Margot love this book?

Drag pageantry owes a lot to Miss America, especially an Atlantic City pageant called Miss’d America. Greene documents the symbiotic relationship between the Atlantic City gayborhood that spawned this contest and the Miss America Pageant, where many gay locals worked as stylists, dancers, and on production crews behind the scenes. Launched in 1993, Miss’d America unified this community in response to the AIDS crisis and offered an alternative pageant for people who’d missed the real deal. Greene couches Miss’d America in the context of Atlantic City’s fascinating drag history going back to the turn of the century (because what better runway than the Atlantic City Boardwalk?), describing, for example, men who swanned along wearing “trick pants, pale purple hose, tan shoes with two-inch soles and lavender neckties” in 1925. 

By Laurie Greene,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Drag Queens and Beauty Queens as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Miss America pageant has been held in Atlantic City for the past hundred years, helping to promote the city as a tourist destination. But just a few streets away, the city hosts a smaller event that, in its own way, is equally vital to the local community: the Miss’d America drag pageant.

 

Drag Queens and Beauty Queens presents a vivid ethnography of the Miss’d America pageant and the gay neighborhood from which it emerged in the early 1990s as a moment of campy celebration in the midst of the AIDS crisis. It examines how the pageant strengthened community bonds…


Book cover of Queenship in Medieval Europe

Elena Woodacre Author Of Queens and Queenship

From my list on queens and queenship.

Why am I passionate about this?

Queens and queenship is a topic that has fascinated me since childhood when I first read about women like Cleopatra and Eleanor of Aquitaine. They ignited a passion to learn about the lives of royal women which led me from the ancient Mediterranean to medieval Europe, on into the early modern era, and has now gone truly global. I am particularly passionate to draw out the hidden histories of all the women who aren’t as well-known as their more famous counterparts and push for a fully global outlook in both queenship and royal studies in the works I write and the journal and two book series that I edit.

Elena's book list on queens and queenship

Elena Woodacre Why did Elena love this book?

Theresa Earenfight is a renowned queenship scholar whose ideas about queens and queenship inspired me when I was a graduate student and continue to excite me today. This is a book that I recommend to my own students as the perfect place to start with medieval queenship. Earenfight’s book moves chronologically across the Middle Ages, drawing together examples of queens from all across Europe to illustrate key ideas about queenship and demonstrate how different women exercised the queen’s office. An engaging read which is underpinned by years of research and deep expertise in the field.

By Theresa Earenfight,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Queenship in Medieval Europe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Medieval queens led richly complex lives and were highly visible women active in a man's world. Linked to kings by marriage, family, and property, queens were vital to the institution of monarchy.

In this comprehensive and accessible introduction to the study of queenship, Theresa Earenfight documents the lives and works of queens and empresses across Europe, Byzantium, and the Mediterranean in the Middle Ages. The book:

* introduces pivotal research and sources in queenship studies, and includes exciting and innovative new archival research
* highlights four crucial moments across the full span of the Middle Ages - ca. 300, 700,…


Book cover of The Sociological Imagination

Supriya Singh Author Of Domestic Economic Abuse: The Violence of Money

From my list on money, relationships and family violence.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a writer and a sociologist of money. I am passionate about money, relationships, and family violence, because I know from my research that talking about money opens up intimate conversations about the way people see themselves, their aspirations and hopes. Sometimes through hearing other people’s stories I have found mine. I realised while researching family violence that I too had suffered economic abuse. For me too economic abuse was ‘hidden in plain sight’. One of the most meaningful things for me is to help women and men overcome family violence and empower themselves to live with freedom.  

Supriya's book list on money, relationships and family violence

Supriya Singh Why did Supriya love this book?

Mills’ description of the sociological imagination has become central to the way I think.

He writes of the importance of linking personal troubles to social issues, of moving from the deeply personal to the impersonal, and of linking biography and history.

The sociological imagination is at the heart of my research on domestic economic abuse. It links the stories of personal devastation to the global social issue of family violence. The personal gets transformed to policy and legal issues of the criminalisation of coercive control.  

By C. Wright Mills,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Sociological Imagination as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

C. Wright Mills is best remembered for his highly acclaimed work The Sociological Imagination, in which he set forth his views on how social science should be pursued. Hailed upon publication as a cogent and hard-hitting critique, The Sociological Imagination took issue with the ascendant schools of sociology in the United States, calling for a humanist sociology connecting the social, personal, and historical dimensions of our lives. The
sociological imagination Mills calls for is a sociological vision, a way of looking at the world that can see links between the apparently private problems of the individual and important social issues.…


Book cover of Class, Citizenship, & Social Development

Nicos P. Mouzelis Author Of Post-Marxist Alternatives: The Construction of Social Orders

From my list on social sciences.

Why am I passionate about this?

After finishing my secondary education in Athens I got a degree in business administration at the University of Genova. The idea was to return to Greece to work in my father’s business. But I soon realized that I was neither interested in business theory nor going back to Greece to work in my father's organization. I decided to continue my studies in England focusing on the social sciences – first at Leicester University and then at the London School of Economics. After retiring I continued to write books and articles in Greek, English, and French. I have passion for reading and writing. It helps me psychologically as well to survive in a postmodern chaotic world.

Nicos' book list on social sciences

Nicos P. Mouzelis Why did Nicos love this book?

Marshall provides a very interesting analysis of the development of human rights.

He identifies three developmental stages: First the rights referring to property, freedom of speech, and freedom to religious beliefs and practices. Second the rights to vote and be elected in parliament and third the development of social rights (decent education, health care, and social welfare for old age). His analysis is focused in England.

But as a general overview is very useful for the study of citizenship.

By T. H. Marshall,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Class, Citizenship, & Social Development as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Reprint of the 1964 edition published by Doubleday under title "Sociology at the Crossroads". Contents: Introduction by Seymour Martin Lipset; Preface; Part One: Sociology Today and Tomorrow [Sociology at the Crossroads; Sociology: The Road Ahead; International Comprehension in and through Social Science]; Part Two: Social Class [Citizenship and Social Class; Changes in Social Stratification in the Twentieth Century; Recent History of Professionalism in Relation to Social Structure and Social Policy; Nature of Class Conflict; Nature and Determinants of Social Status; A Note on 'Status'; Work and Wealth; Property and Possessiveness]; Part Three: Social Welfare [Social Selection in the Welfare State;…


Book cover of Empty Labor: Idleness and Workplace Resistance

Yiannis Gabriel Author Of Return to Meaning: A Social Science with Something to Say

From my list on reigniting meaningful social sciences.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Greek social psychologist and have spent much of my academic career studying myths and stories in social life - stories, even when inaccurate or wrong, serve to create meaning, a fragile and valuable resource, especially in these post-truth times. At the same time, I believe that we must not lose sight of the distinctions between story and fact, fantasy and reality, truth and fiction. I am greatly concerned that the social sciences today, as shaped by the academic publishing game, are preoccupied with trivia and act as black holes into which meaning disappears. I strongly believe that it is our responsibility to restore the meaningfulness of academic research.

Yiannis' book list on reigniting meaningful social sciences

Yiannis Gabriel Why did Yiannis love this book?

This is an old-fashioned sociology book that shows what can be done with some sociological imagination. Many of us do entirely meaningless work and get paid for it, and what is more, we know that we do. And yet, we pay a high price for it. How to avoid doing empty labour and rediscover the meaning of serious academic work.

By Roland Paulsen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Empty Labor as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

While most people work ever-longer hours, international statistics suggest that the average time spent on non-work activities per employee is around two hours a day. How is this possible, and what are the reasons behind employees withdrawing from work? In this thought-provoking book, Roland Paulsen examines organizational misbehavior, specifically the phenomenon of 'empty labor', defined as the time during which employees engage in private activities during the working day. This study explores a variety of explanations, from under-employment to workplace resistance. Building on a rich selection of interview material and extensive empirical research, it uses both qualitative and quantitative data…


Book cover of Theory and Practice

Nicos P. Mouzelis Author Of Post-Marxist Alternatives: The Construction of Social Orders

From my list on social sciences.

Why am I passionate about this?

After finishing my secondary education in Athens I got a degree in business administration at the University of Genova. The idea was to return to Greece to work in my father’s business. But I soon realized that I was neither interested in business theory nor going back to Greece to work in my father's organization. I decided to continue my studies in England focusing on the social sciences – first at Leicester University and then at the London School of Economics. After retiring I continued to write books and articles in Greek, English, and French. I have passion for reading and writing. It helps me psychologically as well to survive in a postmodern chaotic world.

Nicos' book list on social sciences

Nicos P. Mouzelis Why did Nicos love this book?

Habermas is one of the most important living philosophers. In his eighties, he still writes important texts and articles.

I have never met him but I have studied his work and written about it. He has a profound knowledge of social sciences (American, continental, and Anglo-Saxon). He is difficult to read but it is worth trying.

Book cover of Pareto's General Sociology

Christopher Adair-Toteff Author Of Vilfredo Pareto's Contributions to Modern Social Theory: A Centennial Appraisal

From my list on Vilfredo Pareto’s sociological writings.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was trained as a philosopher and have been a professor of philosophy for more than three decades. Beginning with Plato, I have been persuaded that reason is powerful. I am also a social theorist and have published scholarly books on Max Weber, Ferdinand Tönnies, and Raymond Aron. Yet Pareto’s writings have convinced me that people are most often motivated by interests and passions and then use reasons to justify their behavior. Plato showed people as they ought to be; Pareto showed them as they are. Philosophy is important, but so is Pareto’s social psychology.

Christopher's book list on Vilfredo Pareto’s sociological writings

Christopher Adair-Toteff Why did Christopher love this book?

Lawrence J Henderson was one of the first Americans to take Pareto’s writings seriously. He was a professor at Harvard during the 1930s, and this 1935 book was an outgrowth of his interest in understanding Pareto’s thought.

The subtitle "A Physiologist’s Interpretation" indicates that his approach to Pareto’s work differed from most because he was a natural scientist rather than a social scientist. As a physiologist, H. was able to recognize Pareto's engineering background with the recognition of universally valid laws, yet he was also able to see how Pareto was influenced as an economist where there are high degrees of regularity.

That makes him one of the best authorities on Pareto's "General sociology". Henderson could see generalities that most social scientists could neither understand nor appreciate. 

5 book lists we think you will like!

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