Fashioning ‘Ebony Cinderellas’ and brown icons
Jamaican beauty competitions and the myth of racial democracy, 1955–64
in Imagining Caribbean womanhood
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This chapter explores the path of the 'Ten Types' multi-competition and its impacts, including the 'Miss Jamaica Nation' competition, a black-nationalist intervention to rival 'Miss Jamaica'. The 'Ten Types' competition replaced race with a gendered ideology of colour in which brownness symbolically desensitised racial confrontation and blackness was marginalised. The 'Ten Types' beauty contest symbolically called upon the history of (en)gendering race through the bodies of Caribbean women. Much like Brazil's official myth of racial democracy and the 'melting pot' rhetoric of the United States, 'Ten Types' would serve as a metaphor for Jamaica's successful assimilation of once disparate peoples in democratic harmony. The 'Ten Types' beauty contest provides the opportunity to examine the spectacle of the racialised feminine body in the construction of a multiracial modern Jamaican identity.

Imagining Caribbean womanhood

Race, nation and beauty contests, 1929–70

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