Author of Here She Is: The Complicated Reign of the Beauty Pageant in America- Professor, Feminist, and daughter of Miss America 1970
Hilary Levey Friedman
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Hilary Levey Friedman, PhD, is the author of Here She Is: The Complicated Reign of the Beauty Pageant in America and Playing to Win: Raising Children in a Competitive Culture. She is part of the Department of Education at Brown University and also President of the Rhode Island chapter of the National Organization for Women. Hilary grew up in the suburbs of Detroit before attending Harvard College, where she discovered sociology, graduating magna cum laude with highest honors in 2002 after writing her honors thesis on child beauty pageants. She then earned an MPhil from the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences as a Gates Cambridge Scholar at the University of Cambridge and in 2009 earned her PhD from Princeton University. The mother of a first grader and a third grader, she spends whatever spare time she has reading (anything and everything!) and watching a variety of (reality) television shows and documentaries.
Named a Big Indie Book of Fall 2020 by Publisher's Weekly “This Brown University sociologist just wrote the definitive book on beauty pageant culture— and it’s awesome.” -The Boston Globe “An accessible study of beauty pageant culture, this is an engaging, thought-provoking read.” -Library Journal “Here She Is traces beauty pageants from their origins during the suffrage movement to their evolution and their push to become more inclusive, and it makes a clear argument: Whatever we think of beauty pageants, they’re a tradition that we’re unlikely to shake.” -Bitch (named as one of 15 books feminists should read in August) “Here She Is braids together seemingly contradictory strands, mapping the evolution of beauty pageants onto the arc of American feminism.” -The Forward “Friedman reveals the symbiotic relationship between beauty pageants and feminism, showing, unexpectedly, how their trajectories intertwine over a century, with each reflecting and responding to the other. The result is totally original, utterly compelling, wholly entertaining social history that surprised and challenged me in the best of ways.” —Peggy Orenstein, author of Girls & Sex and Boys & Sex “I thought I knew about pageants until I read Hilary Levey Friedman’s book Here She Is. The depth of her research is impressive and makes for a fascinating read. It also put me in mind of the way the pageant world dramatically impacted my own life.” —Delta Burke, Emmy-nominated actress and Miss Florida 1974 “Levey Friedman’s book combines a sociologist’s sharp insight and a daughter’s love of her own Miss America mother to render a fascinating and important portrait of the complicated history of women in the United States. It’s easy to dismiss the parts of femininity that run counter to the narrative we want to tell ourselves about feminism, but Levey Friedman’s book doesn’t shy away from the truth. She grapples with all the realities of the history of womanhood in America and creates a nuanced portrait of beauty and liberation. Deeply researched and insightful, Here She Is examines the complex and ugly truths about history, patriarchy, and feminism. Levey Friedman has created an important necessary book that provides crucial insight into the enterprise of being a woman in America.” —Lyz Lenz, author of Belabored and God Land “Friedman’s book is at once searing and sympathetic. As she shows, beauty pageants have been problematic in all of the ways we might imagine. But they have also intersected with—and, at times, advanced—feminism in ways that might surprise us. Indeed, Friedman’s great contribution is to provide compelling, nuanced portraits of the women who forged their own paths through the world of beauty pageants, often reimagining and reshaping that world along the way.” -Blain Roberts, professor of history at California State University, Fresno and author of Pageants, Parlors, and Pretty Women “Hilary Levey Friedman is uniquely positioned – as the daughter of a woman who won the Miss America pageant and as a scholar of sociology – to make unexpected connections between the history of American beauty pageants and the progress of American women in the political sphere. From women’s suffrage campaign to the #MeToo movement, she expands our view of the beauty pageant as a reflection of both femininity and feminism.” – Historian Johanna Neuman, Gilded Suffragists: The New York Socialites Who Fought for Women’s Right to Vote. “How fun and informative! A combination of American history, personal history, pop culture and social analysis, this delightful book of Americana has something for nearly everyone.” —Daniel Hamermesh, Distinguished Scholar in Economics at Barnard College, author of Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People Are More Successful
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