Posted by: hannahm22 | January 15, 2014

Army Sergeant turned Beauty Queen

I admire Theresa Vail who is known as the “army sergeant turned beauty queen.” She was Miss Kansas in 2013 and she got a lot of press this past year for showing off her tattoos in the Miss America pageant. Her side tattoo is of the Serenity Prayer and she is the first contestant to ever show tattoos in the Miss America pageant. Articles describe her as being a “tomboy” because she is a member of the National Guard and her hobbies are hunting and archery. She says that her mission is to break stereotypes of what society tells women they should look like as well as challenge the traditional idea of femininity. In her blog she asks why it even matters what women look like. Theresa Vail also does speaking tours about bullying which is something she struggled with as a child.

This is her blog:



  1. I had not heard of her. What a fascinating example of bucking (no pun intended) stereotypes, because she chooses identities, appearances, and behaviors that are on the extremes of what we consider feminine and masculine. It’s not about being androgynous in her case, it’s about being both/and.

  2. I’ve also not heard much about her but I think this is awesome. Miss America is the epitome of how media portrays women. For Theresa Vail to go on stage with tattoos and name her favorite hobbies just shows how influential women are. I think this is a perfect example of how easy it can be to break stereotypes. It only takes a brave person to speak out and in some way “dare to be different.”

  3. Absolutely love this! I also have not heard of this contestant until now, but this article really shows that it IS possible to break the gender roles that women have been put into. She is truly an inspiration to this cause. I really hope that young women can look up to her, and see that our roles as women should not be defined by our looks, and that it is ok to break the gender role mold.

  4. I remember hearing about this a few months ago and it really intruiged me. Before this class I had not really thought about women discrimination or the problem about gender roles. Interestingly enough Theresa still caught my eye for being an amazing role model and a breath of fresh air. The truth is I think even without knowing the specific problems of gender, we all have a longing for girls like Theresa to lay the stage for women to have a choice in what they wear, hobbies, or where they work with out it being labeled as ‘not normal’. And when situations like this arise, It is good for the women who will never get to take a class like ‘Women in Leadership’ to see that this is okay and is becoming more normal.

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