Beauty and the Boar

Karen W. Tice

in Queens of Academe

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199842780
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199933440 | DOI:
Beauty and the Boar

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This chapter provides an overview on the durability and elasticity of campus pageants over time and their various facelifts. It includes a fieldwork vignette to illustrate the investments made in campus pageantry and gendered performances as well as the divergent agendas of supporters and contestants. As locally-situated expressions of student life and institutional politics, campus pageants channel the tensions of beauty and popular culture and norms for academic distinction. Pageants help to bring to the surface the ways beauty and embodiment infiltrate all aspects of higher education. Since campus beauty pageants rarely lend themselves to one coherent narrative, they help to reveal shifting performative constellations of gendered collegiate excellence as well as socially-located discourses of communal solidarities, class mobility, and cultural education. This chapter introduces the concept of “platforming” to capture the deliberate and ongoing process of self-making and the “doing” of gender, race, and class evident on campus campuses.

Keywords: beauty; embodiment; platforming; student life; popular culture; campus beauty pageants; cultural education

Chapter.  8067 words. 

Subjects: Gender and Sexuality

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