chapter  8
15 Pages

‘The Beauty Walk’: interrogating whiteness as the norm for beauty within one school’s hidden curriculum

ByKIMBERLY L. OLIVER, ROSARY LALIK

These words were spoken by one of the adolescent girls who collaborated with us to study a taken-for-granted school practice known locally in the Southern US as the ‘Beauty Walk’. The practice occurred as a school-sponsored fundraiser. Its format was that of a beauty pageant. Adolescent girls who were contestants in the Beauty Walk appeared on stage and stood before an audience of peers, parents, teachers and community members. Twice the group was culled publicly as some girls were selected and others excluded, based on judges’ criteria for physical beauty. Ultimately a single winner was identified.