||This paper investigates women’s confidence in the elite university setting in the
United States and argues that women often experience a decline in confidence in this
space. Within the scope of this paper the elite university is defined as a liminal
space and a bubble where destructive gender norms are continually performed and reproduced.
Focusing on women’s voices, beauty, sexual culture and Greek life this paper aims
to highlight how women’s confidence is undermined in this setting. The manner in which
gender is performed and reproduced in this space undermines women’s confidence, as
the quest for effortless perfection or an ideal, means women never feel enough. The
destructive habits that emerge out of this gender performativity also put women’s
confidence at risk. This paper furthermore elucidates that while external and institutional
factors impact women’s confidence women themselves contribute to their decline in
confidence as they perform and reproduce gender norms and police other women. The
paper highlights that there are multiple intersecting factors that contribute to women’s
decline in confidence and that the liminality of this space and its highly competitive
environment facilitates a confidence crash for many women during their time at college.