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Girlhood, Beauty Pageants, and Power

Trailer Park Royalty


Elisabeth B. Thompson-Hardy

Girlhood, Beauty Pageants, and Power: Trailer Park Royalty explores the phenomenon of child beauty pageants in rural communities throughout the American South. In a bricolage of post-structural feminism, critical ethnographies, critical hermeneutics, and cultural studies lenses, this book analyzes how the performance of participants—most from a lower socio-economic bracket—and the power exercised by beauty pageant culture work to formulate girls’ identities. Girlhood, Beauty Pageants, and Power also examines how depictions in popular culture through film, videos, documentaries, and television shows add to the dialogue. Author Elisabeth B. Thompson-Hardy suggests rural pageant culture works to create girlhood identity and shapes the way participants view the world and themselves—through intricate cultural work in terms of gender and class. This book is intended for students and teachers who are interested in dissecting rural girlhood and development, Southern American beauty standards, and the effect of the media on girls’ identities.

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Advance Praise for Girlhood, Beauty Pageants, and Power


Advance Praise for

Girlhood, Beauty Pageants, and Power

“Occasionally a book like Girlhood, Beauty Pageants, and Power: Trailer Park Royalty appears and opens complicated conversations that are intriguing. Conceptualizations of female identity and beauty pageants dwell in this text within the context of Southern place. The analysis swirls with a bricolage of critical traditions. Elisabeth B. Thompson-Hardy deftly negotiates the relationships among language, social institutions, beauty pageants, subjectivity, class, power, and place. This book is a major contribution to fields as diverse as cultural studies, gender studies, and place studies. It is a first-rate scholarly contribution. Read it.”

—William M. Reynolds, Associate Professor of Curriculum,

Foundations, & Reading, Georgia Southern University

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