Looking for Miss America: A Pageant’s 100-Year Quest to Define Womanhood Audiobook, by Margot Mifflin Play Audiobook Sample

Looking for Miss America: A Pageant’s 100-Year Quest to Define Womanhood Audiobook

Looking for Miss America: A Pageant’s 100-Year Quest to Define Womanhood Audiobook, by Margot Mifflin Play Audiobook Sample
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Read By: Nancy Peterson Publisher: Brilliance Audio Listen Time: at 1.0x Speed 6.17 hours at 1.5x Speed 4.63 hours at 2.0x Speed Release Date: August 2020 Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download ISBN: 9781713551218

Quick Stats About this Audiobook

Total Audiobook Chapters:


Longest Chapter Length:

78:42 minutes

Shortest Chapter Length:

17:08 minutes

Average Chapter Length:

55:10 minutes

Audiobooks by this Author:


Other Audiobooks Written by Margot Mifflin: > View All...

Publisher Description

From an author praised for writing “delicious social history” (Dwight Garner, The New York Times) comes a lively account of memorable Miss America contestants, protests, and scandals―and how the pageant, nearing its one hundredth anniversary, serves as an unintended indicator of feminist progress

Looking for Miss America is a fast-paced narrative history of a curious and contradictory institution. From its start in 1921 as an Atlantic City tourist draw to its current incarnation as a scholarship competition, the pageant has indexed women’s status during periods of social change―the post-suffrage 1920s, the Eisenhower 1950s, the #MeToo era. This ever-changing institution has been shaped by war, evangelism, the rise of television and reality TV, and, significantly, by contestants who confounded expectations.

Spotlighting individuals, from Yolande Betbeze, whose refusal to pose in swimsuits led an angry sponsor to launch the rival Miss USA contest, to the first black winner, Vanessa Williams, who received death threats and was protected by sharpshooters in her hometown parade, Margot Mifflin shows how women made hard bargains even as they used the pageant for economic advancement. The pageant’s history includes, crucially, those it excluded; the notorious Rule Seven, which required contestants to be “of the white race,” was retired in the 1950s, but no women of color were crowned until the 1980s.

In rigorously researched, vibrant chapters that unpack each decade of the pageant, Looking for Miss America examines the heady blend of capitalism, patriotism, class anxiety, and cultural mythology that has fueled this American ritual.

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“[A] smart and witty narrative…Mifflin reveals how the contest wormed its way into the national subconscious, taking us through its disasters, hypocrisies and ambitions over the last century.”

— National Book Review 


  • “A comprehensive history of how a beauty contest moonlighting as a scholarship program evolved over a century.”

    — Bust magazine
  • “Mifflin also relishes the nostalgia and camp associated with Miss America, making this social history a perfect summer read.”

    — Booklist
  • “Lively and probing…A cleareyed look at an iconic beauty pageant and its efforts to stave off irrelevance."

    — Kirkus Reviews
  • “Vigorously researched and wryly humorous…This incisive and entertaining history deserves the spotlight."

    — Publishers Weekly


  • A New York Times Book Review pick of Best Books Now in Paperback
  •  A Cosmopolitan Best Book of the Year in Nonfiction
  • A PureWow Pick of Best Nonfiction Books of the Year
  • A New York Post Pick of the Year's Best Books
  • A Publishers Weekly Pick of Summer

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About Margot Mifflin

Margot Mifflin is the author of Looking for Miss AmericaBodies of Subversion: A Secret History of Women and Tattoo, and The Blue Tattoo: The Life of Olive Oatman. She has written for publications including the New York Times and New Yorker. Find out more at margotmifflin.com.

About Nancy Peterson

Nancy Peterson is a voice talent and audiobook narrator who won the prestigious Audie Award for best narration in 2018.