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Queens of AcademeBeauty Pageants and Campus Life$
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Karen W. Tice

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199842780

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199842780.001.0001

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Flesh and Spirit

Flesh and Spirit

Bibles, Beauty, and Bikinis

(p.160) 7 Flesh and Spirit
Queens of Academe

Karen W. Tice

Oxford University Press

The recent infusion of religiosity and spirituality in national beauty pageants is registered on college campuses as many contestants increasingly use college beauty pageants for divine purposes. Body stewardship, God’s design, and inner spiritual beauty are increasingly platformed on campus runways. This chapter explores how efforts to merge the spiritual and the sacred with secular, body-centered transformation and materiality are reshaping evangelical bodies, sacred femininities, Christian identities, and the Christian makeover and beauty industry as forms of women’s ministry, as well as campus pageantry itself. The corporeality of bikinis and Speedos and the display of cleavage and curves in evening gowns continue to present quandaries, however, for all contestants whether they claim spiritual or secular motives for participation. The chapter probes how contestants attempt to navigate displays of the flesh while neutralizing the ever-present reality of body politics in campus beauty pageantry.

Keywords:   religion, spirituality, Evangelicalism, body stewardship, body display, body politics, Christian makeovers, ministry, secularism, body-centered transformation

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