HERE SHE IS: The Complicated Reign of The Beauty Pageant in America by Hilary Levey Friedman – SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY CLOSED

AND THE FIRST RUNNER UP IS – (screams) and a new Miss America is announced…. The other forty nine girls place a crown on the winner, she’s handed roses…. and makes her first walk down the center podium while wild cheers are heard from the audience. HERE SHE IS (BeaconPress) by Hilary Levey Friedman is a new book that reveals the relationship between beauty pageants and feminism.

Many predicted that pageants would disappear by the 21st century. Yet they are thriving. America’s most enduring contest, Miss America, celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2020. Why do they persist? 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 Miss Universe’s bathing beauties to the talent- and achievement-based competitions of today. She looks at how pageantry has morphed into culture everywhere from The Bachelor and RuPaul’s Drag Race to cheer and specialized contests like those for children, Indigenous women, and contestants with disabilities. Friedman also acknowledges the damaging and unrealistic expectations pageants place on women in society and discusses the controversies, including Miss America’s ableist and racist history, Trump’s ownership of the Miss Universe Organization, and the death of child pageant-winner JonBenet Ramsey.

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.
Hilary Levey Friedman, PhD, is the author of Here She Is: The Complicated Reign of the Beauty Pageant in AmericaandPlaying to Win: Raising Children in a Competitive Culture. She is part of the Department of Education at Brown University, where she teaches courses on topics like afterschool activities, sports, and qualitative methods. She is also a Fellow at the Taubman Center for American Politics and Society.
Prof. Levey Friedman is currently President of the Rhode Island chapter of the National Organization for Women (RI NOW). She is also a member of the Public Policy Committee of the United Way of Rhode Island and the Platform and Issues Committee of the Rhode Island Democratic Party. Additionally she volunteers as an active Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). She is a civic leader as well, having served as Chair of the East Greenwich Democratic Town Committee, as an Affordable Housing Commissioner in the town of East Greenwich, RI, and as a Board of Trustee at Temple Torat Yisrael.
Prof. Levey Friedman grew up in the suburbs of Detroit where she graduated from Marian High School. As an undergraduate at Harvard she discovered sociology, graduating magna cum laude with highest honors in 2002 and writing her honors thesis on child beauty pageants. She then earned an MPhil from the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences as a Gates Cambridge Scholar at the University of Cambridge, where her dissertation was about fashion and national identity. Following her time in England Prof. Levey Friedman matriculated at Princeton University, from which she earned a PhD in Sociology in 2009 as both a Spencer Dissertation Fellow and as a Harold W. Dodds fellow. During graduate school her research focused on competitive after-school activities (chess, dance, Kumon enrichment classes, and soccer). Prof. Levey Friedman completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard University quantitatively studying youth sports injuries, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
The mother of a first grader and a third grader, she spends whatever spare time she has reading (anything and everything!) and watching a variety of (reality) television shows and documentaries. We have one copy of HERE SHE IS to giveaway. Just tell us your thoughts about beauty pageants. We’ll announce a winner soon. Good luck. GIVEAWAY: USA only, please.
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10 thoughts on “HERE SHE IS: The Complicated Reign of The Beauty Pageant in America by Hilary Levey Friedman – SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY CLOSED

  1. I used to love to watch beauty pageants on tv in the 1970s and then stopped watching when I got older. They don’t interest me anymore. Thanks for the chance.


  2. My opinion of beauty pageants is that they focus too much on the outside of someone instead of what’s on the inside, the heart. I feel that beauty is from within, what a woman thinks, how she acts, how she cares for others, her community and the world.


  3. I think Beauty pageants are a good thing. The young ladies do get interviewed and we get to know them a little more of their personality and their giving hearts.


  4. I wish that pageants focused less on beauty and put more emphasis on talents, intelligence, education, and service to others.


  5. As a young girl growing up, I would get so excited about upcoming pageants that were going to televised. Now, I’m not even aware of them until after they’re over.


  6. They seem to be beneficial to those who take that route because the perks seem to help those people along. I have zero interest in them personally.


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