From an author praised for writing “delicious social history” (Dwight Garner, The New York Times) comes a fast-paced account of memorable Miss America contestants, protests, and scandals, showing how the pageant has both resisted and reflected the gains of feminism. In deeply researched chapters that unpack each decade of the contest, Looking for Miss America examines the heady blend of capitalism, patriotism, class anxiety, and cultural mythology that has fueled this American ritual for nearly a century.
A Library Journal 2020 Title to Watch
A Publishers Weekly Best Summer Book
“Vigorously researched and wryly humorous. . . . This incisive and entertaining history deserves the spotlight.” —Publishers Weekly
“Journalist Mifflin offers a lively and probing appraisal of a pageant that will observe its centennial in 2021.” —Kirkus Reviews
“While deftly commenting on the racism and sexism that have characterized the pageant’s history, she also makes space for the contestants to speak openly for themselves about their own experiences…” —Library Journal
“This history of the Miss America pageant is probing, scintillating and tremendously entertaining–a pleaser for feminists and pageant devotees alike.”
“In this well-written and thoroughly researched book, Mifflin explores how the evolution of the Miss America pageant has echoed ongoing women’s rights movements and examines the overall impact of a beauty-based scholarship competition.” ―Bitch Magazine