Study Guide

Beauty Queens Genre

By Libba Bray

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Satire and Parody

The world of Beauty Queens is an exaggerated one: it's just a little weirder than our own. We learn a lot about it through the footnotes, which provide bits of trivia on the culture of the world:

"Roland Me'sognie, the notoriously fat-phobic French designer whose tourniquet-tight fashions adorn the paper cut-thin bodies of models, starlets, socialites, and reality TV stars. In fact, when the svelte pinup Bananas Foster, famous for starring in a series of medical side-effect commercials, was arrested in a Vegas club for snorting cholesterol-lowering drugs while wearing a Roland jumpsuit, he pronounced her "too fat to steal my oxygen. I die to see her misuse my genius. The earth weeps with me." Sales rose 88% that week. The House of Roland was the first to introduce sizing lower than 0—the -1. "We make the woman disappear and the fashion appear!" (1.F.2)

Like all good satire, Bray's notes take problematic aspects of our pop culture and exaggerate them so that we can see the problem more clearly. There is no clothing line with a size -1. But size 0's are common—at least, commonly sold or worn by models, even if they're not so common on most actual humans. So Bray highlights the problem of women feeling pressured to conform to such ultra-thin standards.

Throughout the book, Bray exaggerates the truth to make us laugh, but also to encourage us to think more critically about our own world. Yup, that's pretty much satire in a nutshell.

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