BN.com Gift Guide

Beauty Queens: A Playful History

Overview

An affectionate chronicle of the beauty pageant from the 1850's to the present, illustrated with a wealth of photographs depicting beauty queens in all their glamour.

The 1996 Miss Universe telecast was seen by an estimated 600 million people in 60 countries around the world. Beauty Queens: A Playful History traces the evolution of the beauty pageant from its early days as a slightly scandalous display of feminine self-confidence to a ...

See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers.
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (40) from $1.99   
  • New (3) from $1.99   
  • Used (37) from $1.99   
Close
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
$1.99
Seller since 2005

Feedback rating:

(825)

Condition:

New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

New
1998 SOFTCOVER 1 Brand new. [I will ship immediately] Book in great condition: no markings, slightly worn covers and edges, nice binding.

Ships from: Rochelle, IL

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$33.00
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(312)

Condition: New
Brand New Item.

Ships from: Chatham, NJ

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$45.00
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(193)

Condition: New
Brand new.

Ships from: acton, MA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Close
Sort by
Sending request ...

Overview

An affectionate chronicle of the beauty pageant from the 1850's to the present, illustrated with a wealth of photographs depicting beauty queens in all their glamour.

The 1996 Miss Universe telecast was seen by an estimated 600 million people in 60 countries around the world. Beauty Queens: A Playful History traces the evolution of the beauty pageant from its early days as a slightly scandalous display of feminine self-confidence to a much-mocked sexist spectacle to its recent return to tremendous international popularity.

How did this quirky custom manage to become such a major cultural institution? When and where did the idea originate? (P.T. Barnum seems at least partly responsible.) And why have so many many women eagerly participated as both spectators and contestants? Emphasizing the glory years between 1920 and 1970, Candace Savage offers entertaining yet thought-provoking answers to these questions while having great fun exploring every aspect of the pageant's curious history. Anyone who has ever sniffled as the winner wept tears of joy will thoroughly enjoy this lighthearted tribute.

Other Details: 110 illustrations, 20 in full color, 90 quadtone 144 pages 9 1/4 x 9 1/4" Published 1998

occasional--if nonetheless indelible--impression on my teenage definition of womanhood. By the time my family got its first TV, circa 1964, the Miss America Pageant had been beaming its message into millions of homes for a decade, and the Miss Canada competition was already into its second year on CTV. Although I would have been well into my teens at the time, my first TV pageant has not left a detailed trace in my mind. All that remains is a hazy sense of a screen filled to bursting with romance heroines. Girls with unromantic addresses in Prince George, British Columbia, and Pine Bluff, Arkansas, floated in front of the cameras amid billows of chiffon. To the cynic in me, they looked like a fleet of animated lampshades or vivified meringues.

It was all very silly, and I knew it even then. The romance stories I fed myself on were trashy and cheap, with cardboard characters, stock plots and treacly endings. Smart aleck that I was, I mocked them as "and-he-kissed-her" books because of the inevitable, climacteric moment when the good-girl heroine got her man. But this elevated analysis did nothing to temper my compulsive desire for happy endings, and my loud-mouthed scorn of beauty contests did not prevent me from watching the telecasts to their glitzy and glorious conclusions. Yes, the girls looked ridiculous as they swanned their beehived heads; yes, the interview questions and answers made me squirm with embarrassment. The bathing-suit judging was tacky, and the "talent" performances made Ed Sullivan's weekly lineup look like a night at the Met. But the crowning of the winner--so "natural, young and sweet"--sent an electric thrill of pleasure through my pubescent body.

Dream the impossible dream: let it be me, let it be me . . .

Beauty contests on TV were a magic mirror that, willy-nilly, made every girl and woman into a participant, whether she was built like a willow or like a fortress; and recalcitrant tomboys like me were not exempt. In our dizzy identification with winners and losers alike, a whole generation of women and girls in the fifties and sixties tumbled in a narcissistic dream of our own potential perfection. I know, because I was one of them. Against my better judgment and with my whole heart, I was an armchair beauty contestant. And then, one day in 1968, the world began to improve--not only for brains and battleships but for beauties, too.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780789204929
  • Publisher: Abbeville Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/1/1998
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 132
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.48 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Preface: Confessions of an Armchair Beauty

When I was eleven or twelve in the early 1960s, my loving and ruthless mother offered me an unsparing assessment of my prospects in life. It was a good thing I had brains, she said, looking me up and down, because I was highly unlikely to get very far on my appearance alone. My dad amplified this assessment one day by telling me that I was "built like a battleship," a remark he intended me to accept as a compliment. But as he could no doubt tell from the wry face I pulled, this was not a phrase that the average young girl was dying to hear.

Inexperienced though I was in affairs of the heart, I was well versed in the language of love, and words like "brain" and "battleship" were not in the lexicon. The pink-bound teen romances that I borrowed by the armload from the public library studiously avoided any reference to female intelligence and instead did a brisk trade in adjectives like "pert," "bouncy," "tender" and "glowing." What's more, no romance heroine would ever have been likened to a piece of military hardware, however admiringly. Her qualities were more ethereal by far and could best be associated with wonders of the natural world such as sunsets, bird song and soft summer winds. "My dear," the handsome hero would whisper, as he stroked his girl's downy cheek, "you have the grace of a slender willow tree." Would anyone ever say such dreamy things to me?

At that time, I had to admit it didn't seem very likely. Although I might be clever and strong, in my mom's and dad's eyes at least, it was obvious to all concerned that I was no beauty. If the small prairie town where I lived had had a soda fountain (which it did not), Iwould clearly have run no risk of being "discovered" by a talent scout and whisked off to Hollywood. No matter how I primped and posed and slathered on mascara, I simply could not make myself look like Debbie Reynolds. The reigning teen queen of the day, Miss Reynolds (a former Miss Burbank) was svelte, fine featured and perky, like the girls in the romance books. I was short and plump, with big front teeth, bushy eyebrows and stubborn, straight-as-string hair. What's more, my mother said I had a smart mouth, and there was nothing pretty, she assured me, about a lippy girl.

Beauty was like baseball: I was just no good at it. But that didn't exempt me from playing the game or keep me from dreaming that, just once, I'd step up to the plate with the bases loaded and hit a grand slam. When it came to the sport of beauty, I didn't set my sights too high, I never aspired to be queen of the fall fair or the Valentine's dance. (Frankly, I wasn't prepared to be nice long enough to attain anything so grand.) But what I did want--what I longed for, with a hopeless, sickly teenage desire--was the admiring attention of a small, handpicked selection of boys. Boys like Tim in grade eight, who shocked everyone by claiming that he wanted to be a Playboy photographer; or Steve in grade ten, whose mother, notoriously, was having an affair with an appliance dealer; or someone called "R.S.," whose name I no longer recall but whose initials are still inscribed, with furtive passion, inside my desk drawer.

Does he love me? love me not? Would he like me better if I wore more eye shadow? less? If I wedged my stocky body into a panty girdle? If I lost five pounds or ten? If I smiled and giggled and flirted with him after French class? And what did I think of myself when, as my teen years progressed, I invented and reinvented my image through the feminine artifices of makeup, hairpieces, hair removal, high heels, body toning, calisthenics, corsetry and studied cuteness?

"All day long in my sloppy jeans, I just romp like a pup. But at night I put my French Heels on, and a teen-age girl grows up. Doo-wah-wah." As pathetic as it now seems, Debbie Reynolds's hit song "French Heels" was the anthem of my dawning maturity.

Compared with the round-the-clock influence of girls' fiction and pop tunes, beauty contests made only an occasional--if nonetheless indelible--impression on my teenage definition of womanhood. By the time my family got its first TV, circa 1964, the Miss America Pageant had been beaming its message into millions of homes for a decade, and the Miss Canada competition was already into its second year on CTV. Although I would have been well into my teens at the time, my first TV pageant has not left a detailed trace in my mind. All that remains is a hazy sense of a screen filled to bursting with romance heroines. Girls with unromantic addresses in Prince George, British Columbia, and Pine Bluff, Arkansas, floated in front of the cameras amid billows of chiffon. To the cynic in me, they looked like a fleet of animated lampshades or vivified meringues.

It was all very silly, and I knew it even then. The romance stories I fed myself on were trashy and cheap, with cardboard characters, stock plots and treacly endings. Smart aleck that I was, I mocked them as "and-he-kissed-her" books because of the inevitable, climacteric moment when the good-girl heroine got her man. But this elevated analysis did nothing to temper my compulsive desire for happy endings, and my loud-mouthed scorn of beauty contests did not prevent me from watching the telecasts to their glitzy and glorious conclusions. Yes, the girls looked ridiculous as they swanned their beehived heads; yes, the interview questions and answers made me squirm with embarrassment. The bathing-suit judging was tacky, and the "talent" performances made Ed Sullivan's weekly lineup look like a night at the Met. But the crowning of the winner--so "natural, young and sweet"--sent an electric thrill of pleasure through my pubescent body.

Dream the impossible dream: let it be me, let it be me . . .

Beauty contests on TV were a magic mirror that, willy-nilly, made every girl and woman into a participant, whether she was built like a willow or like a fortress; and recalcitrant tomboys like me were not exempt. In our dizzy identification with winners and losers alike, a whole generation of women and girls in the fifties and sixties tumbled in a narcissistic dream of our own potential perfection. I know, because I was one of them. Against my better judgment and with my whole heart, I was an armchair beauty contestant. And then, one day in 1968, the world began to improve--not only for brains and battleships but for beauties, too.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Preface: Confessions of an Armchair Beauty

Miss Steak

Heavy the Head That Wears the Crown

Voila, You Are Famous

Sex and the Single Flapper

Sand, Surf and Stardust

The Wicked Age

Daydream Believers

Miss America's Makeover

There She Is, Your Ideal

Black and White

The Show Must Go On

Notes

Sources

Index

Author Biography: Candace Savage, who lives in Saskatoon, Canada, has written extensively on natural history subjects--including the Sierra Club's phenomenally successful Wolves--as well as on a variety of popular culture topics.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)