Flesh and Spirit

Karen W. Tice

in Queens of Academe

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199842780
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199933440 | DOI:
Flesh and Spirit

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The recent infusion of religiosity and spirituality in national beauty pageants is registered on college campuses as many contestants increasingly use college beauty pageants for divine purposes. Body stewardship, God’s design, and inner spiritual beauty are increasingly platformed on campus runways. This chapter explores how efforts to merge the spiritual and the sacred with secular, body-centered transformation and materiality are reshaping evangelical bodies, sacred femininities, Christian identities, and the Christian makeover and beauty industry as forms of women’s ministry, as well as campus pageantry itself. The corporeality of bikinis and Speedos and the display of cleavage and curves in evening gowns continue to present quandaries, however, for all contestants whether they claim spiritual or secular motives for participation. The chapter probes how contestants attempt to navigate displays of the flesh while neutralizing the ever-present reality of body politics in campus beauty pageantry.

Keywords: religion; spirituality; Evangelicalism; body stewardship; body display; body politics; Christian makeovers; ministry; secularism; body-centered transformation

Chapter.  14133 words. 

Subjects: Gender and Sexuality

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