Being Miss America: Behind the Rhinestone Curtain (Discovering America)

Being Miss America: Behind the Rhinestone Curtain (Discovering America)

Kate Shindle


For approximately 100 years, younger ladies have competed for the identify of leave out America—although what it potential to put on the crown and be our "ideal" has replaced dramatically through the years. The pass over the USA festival started as a showering good looks contest in Twenties Atlantic urban, New Jersey, subsidized through businessmen attempting to expand the vacationer season past exertions Day. within the post–World battle II years, the festival developed right into a nationwide coronation of an idealized "girl subsequent door," as lovely and decorous as she was once infrequently more likely to communicate her brain on problems with substance. because the cultural upheavals of the Nineteen Sixties, the competition has struggled to discover a stability among good looks and brains because it attempts to stay correct to ladies who aspire to develop into leaders in the neighborhood, now not sizzling babes in swimsuits.

In Being leave out America, Kate Shindle interweaves an engrossing, witty memoir of her 12 months as pass over the USA 1998 with a desirable and insightful historical past of the competition. She explores what it ability to tackle the mantle of America's "ideal," particularly contemplating the evolution of the yankee lady identification because the pageant's inception. Shindle profiles winners and association leaders and recounts very important moments within the pageant's tale, with a unique specialize in pass over America's iconoclasts, together with Bess Myerson (1945), the one Jewish leave out the USA; Yolande Betbeze (1951), who crusaded opposed to the pageant's pinup snapshot; and Kaye Lani Rae Rafko (1987), a working-class lady from Michigan who desired to merge her well-known identify along with her paintings as an oncology nurse. Shindle's personal account of her paintings as an AIDS activist—and discovering how you can steer clear of the "gown and crown" stereotypes of omit the USA with a view to speak truthfully with highschool scholars approximately more secure sex—illuminates either the demanding situations and the possibilities that hold younger women competing to turn into pass over America.

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