Publication date coincides with the Centennial Anniversary of the first Miss America pageant in September 2020.
Friedman focuses on presenting a different perspective of pageants. She does not come out against pageants as a whole. In fact, she argues in favor of beauty pageants as an empowering feminist tradition.
This is a history of beauty pageants (spanning over 100 years) and an exploration of what they mean to people. The content in Friedman’s book will include interviews with former contestants and their families as well as analysis of national and state level data, adult and child pageants. Other books on beauty pageants have not covered this issue as comprehensively.
Discussions around culture, politics, and pageants appear frequently in the news. Her book will provide a fresh perspective that is not found in traditional media portrayals of pageants.
For readers of Cinderella Ate My Daughter and The Beauty Myth.
“Friedman reveals the symbiotic relationship between beauty pageants and feminism, showing, unexpectedly, how their trajectories intertwine over a century, with each reflecting and responding to the other. The result is totally original, utterly compelling, wholly entertaining social history that surprised and challenged me in the best of ways.”
—Peggy Orenstein, author of Girls & Sex and Boys & Sex
“An accessible study of beauty pageant culture, this is an engaging, thought-provoking read.”
“I thought I knew about pageants until I read Hilary Levey Friedman’s book Here She Is. The depth of her research is impressive and makes for a fascinating read. It also put me in mind of the way the pageant world dramatically impacted my own life.”
—Delta Burke, Emmy-nominated actress and Miss Florida 1974
“Levey Friedman’s book combines a sociologist’s sharp insight and a daughter’s love of her own Miss America mother to render a fascinating and important portrait of the complicated history of women in the United States. It’s easy to dismiss the parts of femininity that run counter to the narrative we want to tell ourselves about feminism, but Levey Friedman’s book doesn’t shy away from the truth. She grapples with all the realities of the history of womanhood in America and creates a nuanced portrait of beauty and liberation. Deeply researched and insightful, Here She Is examines the complex and ugly truths about history, patriarchy, and feminism. Levey Friedman has created an important necessary book that provides crucial insight into the enterprise of being a woman in America.”
—Lyz Lenz, author of Belabored and God Land
“Hilary Levey Friedman is uniquely positioned—as the daughter of a Miss America pageant–winner and as a scholar of sociology—to make unexpected connections between the history of American beauty pageants and the progress of American women in the political sphere. From women’s suffrage to the #MeToo movement, she expands our view of the beauty pageant as a reflection of both femininity and feminism.”
—Johanna Neuman, historian and author of Gilded Suffragists
“Friedman’s book is at once searing and sympathetic. As she shows, beauty pageants have been problematic in all of the ways we might imagine. But they have also intersected with—and, at times, advanced—feminism in ways that might surprise us. Indeed, Friedman’s great contribution is to provide compelling, nuanced portraits of the women who forged their own paths through the world of beauty pageants, often reimagining and reshaping that world along the way.”
—Blain Roberts, professor of history at California State University, Fresno and author of Pageants, Parlors, and Pretty Women
“How fun and informative! A combination of American history, personal history, pop culture and social analysis, this delightful book of Americana has something for nearly everyone.”
—Daniel Hamermesh, Distinguished Scholar in Economics at Barnard College and author of Beauty Pays
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