Between Venus and Mercury

The 1920s Beauty Contest in France and America

in French Politics, Culture & Society
Author: Holly Grout
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This article examines the beauty contest as a cultural register for shifting definitions of femininity in the 1920s. It focuses on the photographic beauty competition, the “Miss“ pageant, and the film Prix de Beauté, to show how beauty contests in France and the United States engendered transnational debates about feminine beauty, identity, and visibility. It asks how, as valueladen cultural enterprises and as popular commercial entertainments, these events fashioned models of modern womanhood that were simultaneously respectable and risqué; national and international; ordinary and exceptional.

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