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How to Win a Beauty Pagent- Race, Gender, Culture and US National Identity

In the past few years, beauty queens have appeared with increasing regularity in mainstream U.S. media. Tara Conner’s frequent partying and underage drinking were highly publicized when they almost lost her the Miss USA crown in 2006. The following year, Miss South Carolina Teen USA’s 30-second response about Americans and maps grew to such heights of popularity that it became one of the most watched YouTube clips of its time. Two years ago, pageantry intersected with electoral politics, as debates arose around Miss California USA’s response to an onstage question about same-sex marriage in the wake of the passage of California’s Proposition 8. And last year, Rima Fakih’s crowning as the first Arab American immigrant Miss USA drew criticism from conservative bloggers who questioned her abilities to represent the US. Since the Miss America Pageant began in 1921, the popularity of beauty pageantry in the United States has ebbed and…

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