Accessing Womanhood: Jenna Talackova and the Marking of a Beauty Queen
In March 2012, Jenna Talackova was disqualified from the Miss Universe Canada pageant on the grounds that she was not a “naturally-born” female. Following this decision, Talackova and the media contested her exclusion, and Miss Universe allowed her to compete. This manuscript examines the ways that Talackova’s gender performance challenges notions of who can compete as a “true” woman while it simultaneously supports cisnormative understandings of the constitution of preferred womanhood. In their framing, media outlets articulate three markers of preferred womanhood: bodily markers, legal markers, and beauty markers. These three themes situate access to womanhood as contingent upon physical and legal markings, thereby using the narrative about Talackova to both challenge and reify gender norms.
KeywordsGender performance Public narrative Transgender Feminine gender roles Marked bodies Cisnormative
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
No conflict of interest exists for any of the authors.
This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.
No informed consent was needed because human subjects were not involved.
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