Being Miss America: Behind the Rhinestone Curtain by Kate Shindle

By Kate Shindle

For almost 100 years, younger ladies have competed for the identify of omit America—although what it capacity to put on the crown and be our "ideal" has replaced dramatically over the years. The omit the USA competition started as a showering attractiveness contest in Nineteen Twenties Atlantic urban, New Jersey, subsidized via businessmen attempting to expand the vacationer season past exertions Day. within the post–World struggle II years, the festival advanced right into a nationwide coronation of an idealized "girl subsequent door," as lovely and decorous as she used to be hardly ever prone to communicate her brain on problems with substance. because the cultural upheavals of the Nineteen Sixties, the festival has struggled to discover a stability among attractiveness and brains because it attempts to stay proper to girls who aspire to turn into leaders locally, no longer sizzling babes in swimsuits.

In Being omit America, Kate Shindle interweaves an engrossing, witty memoir of her 12 months as pass over the USA 1998 with a desirable and insightful historical past of the competition. She explores what it ability to tackle the mantle of America's "ideal," in particular contemplating the evolution of the yankee lady id because the pageant's inception. Shindle profiles winners and association leaders and recounts very important moments within the pageant's tale, with a unique specialize in pass over America's iconoclasts, together with Bess Myerson (1945), the one Jewish pass over the United States; Yolande Betbeze (1951), who crusaded opposed to the pageant's pinup picture; and Kaye Lani Rae Rafko (1987), a working-class girl from Michigan who desired to merge her well-known identify along with her paintings as an oncology nurse. Shindle's personal account of her paintings as an AIDS activist—and discovering how you can avoid the "gown and crown" stereotypes of omit the United States for you to speak truthfully with highschool scholars approximately more secure sex—illuminates either the demanding situations and the possibilities that preserve younger women competing to turn into omit the US.

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Extra info for Being Miss America: Behind the Rhinestone Curtain (Discovering America)

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One day at the North Ryde centre, I saw a brown-haired girl lying on a mat on the floor, a puddle of pink vomit near her head. I recognised the long rigid fingers and angulated thumbs, the tapered fingernails and the waxy skin of Elizabeth’s hands. She was small and skinny with the same funny ears and eyebrows and a similar downturned mouth. Elizabeth was fair, this girl was dark, but the features were unmistakable. There was someone else on earth just like our sister. Maybe because I was a twin, I registered her doppelgänger.

Mum and Aunty Marian visited each 35 a l way s l i z a t o m e other often and we would play with our twin cousins or watch the older girls dancing the twist with their friends. We would also visit our grannies. On our mother’s side, Grandpa had died just before Elizabeth was born. Although we had not met him in person, the tales of his adventures meant that he was as real to us as our living grandparents. On the other side there were Grandma and Papa. It tickled me that we had a grandpa with a nanny and a papa with a grandma, as though they had swapped partners.

The nurses wore uniforms, and they were not magical princesses. For the first time we saw a collection of disabled children in cots or lying on mats on the floor being nursed and supervised. They were not all the same as Elizabeth and they did not share each other’s peculiarities. Some were noisy, bleating or babbling, some completely 33 a l way s l i z a t o m e silent and motionless, some were rocking, or wringing their hands, or waving their arms in front of their eyes like a tiny baby. One had a huge head and could not lift it without support.

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