• The Ideal Woman: Beauty Contests in Interwar Romania

    Sonia D. Andras (see profile)
    Cultural Studies, Gender Studies
    Romania, Women, Idealism, Ideology
    Item Type:
    Conference paper
    Conf. Title:
    3rd Global Conference
    Conf. Org.:
    Conf. Loc.:
    Conf. Date:
    September 2013
    miss romania, Beauty, interwar Bucharest, Gender
    Permanent URL:
    In the period 1929-1936, Romania evolved from a traditional agricultural society to a modern, cosmopolitan and consumerist society. Bucharest, its capital,synthesized these transformations. The ideal of beauty – as reflected in fashion – was subject to the same processes of modernization and commodification. Beauty contests showed how the changing beauty ideals were constructed and promoted in order to fit the requested pattern.While the ideal Romanian beauty was diversified in the contemporary media,Miss Contests were much stricter, adding restrictive moral criteria to the physical requirements. Aesthetically, the ideal woman who could become Miss Romania, and subsequently compete internationally, was closer to the Western-Hollywood type. The published portraits of the participants merged the idyllic, national-based beauty ideal with a host of the Hollywood role models: the siren, the vamp, the innocent, the glamorous, the voluptuous and the intelligent.My paper focuses on the official Miss Romania – Europe / Universe contests between 1929 with the first such official event and 1936 when they were cancelled due to the imminent war. Embedded in the Fashion Studies and Gender Studies,my research investigates the relevant interwar Romanian magazines, journals,fiction and non-fiction literature in order to identify and interpret the Interwar ideals of beauty in Romania and Bucharest. It explores the intricate mechanisms of gender relations, the role and position of women in Interwar Romania, as filtered through the pursuit and glorification of beauty.In conclusion, the ideal of female beauty in Interwar Romania was a complex phenomenon, encapsulating the social, political and historical issues, that were at times converging and at other times were dissonant. These issues, however,managed to blend together and coexisted in the multicultural Romania of that period. Key Words: Beauty, fashion, Romania, interwar, Bucharest, beauty contests, beauty pageants, beauty ideals
    Archived in December 2015. The archived PDF can also be found at https://web.archive.org/web/20151223054530/http://www.inter-disciplinary.net/critical-issues/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/SDAndras_wpaper-beau3.pdf .
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    Last Updated:
    2 years ago
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