Miss Universe vs. Sports Illustrated: The Ultimate Goal of Swimsuits?

In honor of tonight’s Miss Universe pageant I wanted to share a clip from earlier this month about Sports Illustrated’s 2018 Swimsuit Edition open casting call. This five minute Good Morning America segment with the six finalists manages to capture basically all the major streams of my research: pageants, femininity, smart women, sports, and competition […]

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Miss AmeriCARA

My relationship with Miss America 2018, Cara Mund (North Dakota), began in September 2015, almost exactly two years before she was crowned. I was getting ready to teach my first class at Brown (called “Beauty Pageants in American Society”) and before the semester began I reached out to pre-registered students to see if any of […]

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The Pageantry of Politics

This is adapted from a Facebook post I wrote last week. Monday night Emma Gray sent me a link to her great Huffington Post article about how Clinton’s loss has motivated a new generation of women to consider running for office. I then proceeded not to share it. Why? Because I felt so much chagrin […]

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My Annual Miss America Predictions [edited with results]

It’s both a somber and celebratory day on which to hold the Miss America finals: September 11th. As much as people can criticize (with some validity, granted) various aspects of the Miss America program, remember that we are a country where women can decide to parade on live TV in skimpy bikinis while wearing the […]

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A Sweet New Set of Miss America Predictions

Today I arrived in Atlantic City for the 95th Annual Miss America Pageant. On the way down I caught up on some New Yorker reading. Last week’s issue had an article on Atlantic City, which somewhat tellingly does not mention Miss America (nor Monopoly for that matter). Nick Paumgarten’s “The Death and Life of Atlantic […]

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Playing around with Books and TV Shows

I’ve been writing elsewhere lately about various different interests– my kids, playing, pageants, figure skating, books, TV shows, and child geniuses. You can check out these three different pieces by clicking on the titles: 1) Play, Outsourced– Written as part of the blog series, 28 Days of Play, about what impacts and at times impedes […]

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You Gotta Have a Gimmick: Miss America 2015

Last night Miss America 2015 Kira Kazantsev was crowned Miss America 2015, making history in particular for being part of a never-before three-peat for a state at Miss America. The reigning Miss America and past two Miss Americas all represented New York (though all grew up in states other than NY, they went there for […]

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Mess America: But Still the Largest Source of Scholarships for Women

The past month has been full of “pageant scandals.” From discussions about bodies, state-hopping, age of contestants, and tabulation errors, I can scarcely recall a time that both Miss USA and Miss America were so talked about in the news. Unfortunately it’s all for negative reasons and not for positive ones… The Miss USA  pageant […]

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Why do people watch Miss USA?

Another year, another Miss USA crowned. You likely won’t remember,  or ever know, but Miss USA 2014’s name is Nia Sanchez and she represented Nevada. Her crowning has made a few headlines, like this article about her final answer on sexual assault on campus (though George Will is the one really making headlines about this […]

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My Thoughts on Miss America 2014: The Return to Atlantic City and Other Pageant Controversies

It’s been a little over two weeks since Nina Davuluri was crowned Miss America 2014. After an initial media burst, interest has faded a bit– though she is still in the public eye more than I might have expected. Also, thanks to the French ban on child beauty pageants, a proposed ban in Quebec, and […]

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