Looking for Miss America: A Pageant's 100-Year Quest to Define Womanhood


Product Details

$28.00  $26.04
Counterpoint LLC
Publish Date
6.4 X 9.1 X 1.2 inches | 1.35 pounds

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About the Author

Margot Mifflin is the author of Looking for Miss America, Bodies of Subversion: A Secret History of Women and Tattoo, and The Blue Tattoo: The Life of Olive Oatman. She has written for publications including The New York Times and The New Yorker. Find out more at margotmifflin.com.


*Winner of the Popular Culture Association's Emily Toth Best Book in Women's Studies Award*

A Cosmopolitan Best Nonfiction Book of 2020
A New York Post Best Book of 2020
A Publishers Weekly Best Summer Book
A PureWow 12 Best Nonfiction Books of 2020
A Library Journal 2020 Title to Watch
A LitHub Best Reviewed Book
A National Book Review 5 Hot Books Pick

"Mifflin is no Miss America apologist. She's cleareyed about the pageant's many hypocrisies and failures . . . But Mifflin, too, is invested in the pageant's sense of specialness; she's mining Miss America for meaning . . . The pageant's tensions and ambiguities emerge most vividly through the way particular women understood them in the context of their particular time . . . Lively." --Molly Fischer, The New York Times Book Review

"Mifflin is as alive to the pageant's historical grotesqueries as she is to the weirdo details of its founding." --Lauren Collins, The New Yorker

"Nothing short of fascinating." --Laura Hanrahan, Cosmopolitan, A Best Nonfiction Book of the Year

"A fascinating look at how Miss America has struggled to stay relevant in the 21st century, without condescension or ridicule toward the women who have fought tooth and nail to be crowned." --Sarah Stiefvater, PureWow, A Best Nonfiction Book of the Year

"A comprehensive history of how a beauty contest moonlighting as a scholarship program evolved over a century . . . Looking for Miss America is an exploration into the pageant's past, but the contest's days might be numbered." --Shannon Carlin, Bust

"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

In her formidably researched book, Looking for Miss America: A Pageant's 100-Year Quest to Define Womanhood, scholar Margot Mifflin provides a lavish and detailed account of the various milestones that have defined the pageant for decades . . . A fascinating and entertaining account for anyone interested in reading a first-rate analysis of the United States's most distinctive beauty contest. --Elwood Watson, Los Angeles Review of Books

"Historian Margot Mifflin encourages us to view Miss America as more complicated than just sashes, hairspray and high heels . . . Even if you've never watched a single Miss America pageant on TV, anyone with an interest in American history would benefit from this deep dive into a complex cultural figurehead."--Jessica Wakeman, BookPage (starred review)

"Vigorously researched and wryly humorous . . . This incisive and entertaining history deserves the spotlight." --Publishers Weekly

"Lively and probing . . . Whether fans or foes of Miss America, few readers will see the pageant in the same way after finishing this book. A cleareyed look at an iconic beauty pageant and its efforts to stave off irrelevance." --Kirkus Reviews

"Smart and witty narrative . . . Mifflin reveals how the contest wormed its way into the national subconscious, taking us through its disasters, hypocrisies and ambitions over the last century." --The National Book Review

"Though she explores the serious failings of the contest, Mifflin also relishes the nostalgia and camp associated with Miss America, making this social history a perfect summer read." --Booklist