Maru KittehMaru Kitteh's Journal
On September 7, 1968, 50 womenone representing each state of the United Statesprepared to be judged on their beauty by millions of eyes across the country, in the 41st annual Miss America pageant. But this year would be different. As the contestants walked across the stage, protesters unfurled a bed sheet turned political statement from the rafters that read Womens Liberation in large letters. The women shouted No More Miss America! over the crowd in the first ever protest against Miss America. While they didnt get caught on camera, their words hit print in the next days newspapers, dragging the second wave of feminism into the mainstream.
As the protesters shouted from the rafters inside the show, outside hundreds of women took over the Atlantic City Boardwalk, carrying signs that said Can make-up hide the wounds of our oppression? and All Women Are Beautiful. One woman holding pots and pans and a baby mopped the boardwalk while another chained herself to a puppet giant puppet of Miss America to symbolize how women are imprisoned by beauty standards. The protesters even crowned a sheep to symbolize how the pageant treated women like livestock at a county fair competition to a crowd of laughing and grimacing spectators.
The protesters dumped feminine items they deemed symbols of oppression including bras, girdles, curlers, false eyelashes, wigs, and representative issues of Cosmopolitan, Ladies Home Journal, Family Circle, etc. into a giant freedom trash can that they intended to set on fire.Though they werent allowed to light a fire on top of the flammable boardwalk, the bra burners myth was born later, in a New York Post story on the protest.
The protest was inspired at a meeting of the New York Radical Women. The group of activists discussed a film about the role beauty standards play in womens oppression. The movie used the swimsuit competition as an example. Thats when feminist activist, Carol Hanisch, decided taking on the nearly 50-year-old iconic pageant might be the perfect way force this conversation around beauty into the public eye.
More at the link (History Channel) https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/protests-at-the-1968-miss-america-pageant
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