Study Guide

Beauty Queens Gender

By Libba Bray

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At least half the sentences in this book say something about gender. Particularly, what it's like to be a girl, and what is expected of girls. As supposed models of traditional girlhood, most of the Teen Dreams believe they have to follow unspoken rules that dictate everything from how they can act around boys to how they're supposed to talk in general. Whew—that's a lot to remember.

When they're in survival mode, though, the beauty queens can let some of those rules go. It's pretty cool to watch how self-assured they become when they're not trying hard to be likeable, humble, or any of the other stereotypes they think they have to live up to.

Questions About Gender

  1. How do the beauty queens speak to try to sound more likeable?
  2. How are the beauty queens underestimated by the men on the island, and how does being underestimated help them achieve their goals?
  3. Why do the pirates sail away from the girls who helped them? How does their decision actually affect the girls?
  4. How does Adina act differently from the other girls? How is she similar?

Chew on This

The character of Adina, a feminist who is skeptical of beauty pageants, is meant to mirror the readers.

Many of the Teen Dreams are victims of their upbringing and culture, rather than being evil enforcers of standards of beauty.

Beauty Queens Gender Study Group

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