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Here She Is: The Complicated Reign of the Beauty Pageant in America    by Hillary Levey Friedman order for
Here She Is
by Hillary Levey Friedman
Order:  USA  Can
Beacon, 2020 (2020)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Carrol Wolverton

Beauty pageants go back to the 1800's but came into their own in the Roaring Twenties. Always controversial, the contests had strong advocates and equally strong detractors. Those who like them say they give women a way to learn grace and presentation skills. They also allow women a way to enter show business and television broadcasting and other careers a great example being Oprah Winfrey, who won Miss Black Tennessee in 1972.

The contests helped secure the right to vote for women and to legalize contraception. Detractors say contests objectify women and use them to make money, mostly for men. Not all contests paid off what they were supposed to, either. The worst of the culprits is Donald Trump, but he is by no means the only one.

I think Donald Trump is the reason Friedman wrote this book, to give him a good thump on the head for his misogynistic ways. The prime example: Melania. Trump had no problems doing business with the Russians and was rewarded handsomely. The author points to his body-shaming of contestants who gained weight. Has he looked in the mirror recently?

Of key significance are the 2017 Women's March and the #MeTooMovement. Finally, women are freer from sexual harassment and able to work in a safer environment. Friedman commends the Third Wave of contests which provide excellent scholarship money, making college funding a key reason for entering such contests. I totally recommend this book.

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