Whitley enters the Miss Hillman pageant in order to win the approval of her mother, a former pageant winner whom Whitley can never seem to please. Denise decides to fight the elitism of the pageant by convincing Dwayne to enter. The Gilbert Hall residents infuriate Whitley by backing Dwayne as their representantive in Miss Hillman. A fraternity sponsors Whitley; its members, along with other students, constantly mock Dwayne and play cruel pranks on him. Ron and Walter encourage him to save face by dropping out of the pageant. Dwayne refuses, and declares that the harassment he has received has prompted him to reconsider the way he treats women. Although Whitley receives more votes than Dwayne, she loses badly to another girl. Lettie and Denise recognize her disappointment and urge her to live her own life, without worrying about her mother’s opinion.