Pageant competitors in a dire situation? It sounds like a recipe for an overly catty misogyfest (or, let's be honest, a terrible porno). Instead, Libba Bray has crafted a complex, blistering satire that is, dare I say, one of the most explicitly feminist novels I have ever read.
It's hard to imagine that anyone in the audience for TLC's Toddlers & Tiaras has a deep passion for child beauty pageants. Okay, maybe there's a small contingent of fans who like frilly dresses and are impervious to real-time psychological trauma, but most can't help but be appalled by pageant parents' (read: moms') obsession with their children's ability to impress strangers who have god-only-knows what issues of their own (read: judges).
For the judges of Miss Moral Beauty, beauty is something that is (and should be) located beyond a woman's physicality, and instead of focusing on a woman's body, they believe one should determine beauty by a person's thoughts and actions. Pretty feminist-y... right?
In a show of humorous feminist triumph, a group of South Korean women organized the eleventh annual Anti-Miss Korea Festival to celebrate the seventh anniversary of the death of the beauty pageant in South Korea...