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Making the Perfect Queen: The Cultural Production of Identities in Beauty Pageants

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Abstract

Beauty queens are symbolic representations of collective cultural indentities and beauty pageants are fields of active ‘cultural production’. This article surveys the growing literature on beauty pageants to better understand how culture is produced within the contexts of pageants. To do so, the article examines how beauty pageants operate as sites of commodification and consumption in a world increasingly influenced by global markets and media institutions. It also illustrates how culture is produced in beauty pageants by examining beauty pageants as sites of oppression, sites to articulate cultural agency, and sites of ethnic, gender, cultural, and sexual identity production.

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