Chelsea Belanger is a doctoral student at the University of Central Florida. She currently holds a Bachelor of Arts in Women’s Studies and a Master’s of Science in Sociology from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Her research area encompasses social inequalities with an emphasis on gender, religion, race, and behavior health. Her master’s thesis investigated the relationship between religious beliefs and sexual decision-making among devout African American college women. Most recently, her research has explored cultural appropriation between secular and Christian beauty pageants. In addition, Chelsea has served and is currently serving as an instructor of record in the department of Sociology at UCF teaching courses including Women in Contemporary Society, Sociology of Sex and Reproduction, and Sociology of Sex and Gender.
By comparing the Miss Christian America pageant to other more well known pageants Miss USA and Miss America, Chelsea's study provides a look at the intersections between religion, gender, and collective identity. Using Christian Smith's ideas of subcultural identity, Belanger examines how the structure of the Miss Christian pageant helps develop a unique form of embodied religion.