Many predicted that pageants would disappear by the 21st century, yet they are thriving. Why do they persist? In Here She Is, Hilary Levey Friedman reveals the surprising ways pageants have been an empowering feminist tradition. 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 traces the role of pageants in many of the feminist movement's signature achievements, including bringing women into the public sphere, providing increased educational opportunities, and giving them a voice in the age of #MeToo. Friedman also acknowledges the damaging expectations pageants place on women in society.Presenting a more complex narrative, Here She Is shows that as American women continue to evolve, so too will beauty pageants.
Hilary Levey Friedman is a sociologist at Brown University, where she has taught a popular course titled "Beauty Pageants in American Society." She also serves as the president of the Rhode Island chapter of the National Organization for Women. This is her second book.
Sarah Naughton is an AudioFile Earphones Award-winning narrator and New York City-based actress, singer, comedienne, and voice-over artist. She began her work in the audiobook industry in high school, recording a few young adult titles with the Syracuse-based company Full Cast Audio.