There were a lot of feminist protests in the 1960’s, but one that was very important was the Miss America Pageant of 1968. The Miss America protest was a demonstration held at the Miss America contest in Atlantic City. What exactly happened? When? Why did this happen? Where did this happen? Who was involved? What were the results? You can also talk about other feminist protests that happened in the 1960’s (specifically) as well, but definitely go more into detail about the Miss America Pageant.
The Miss America protest took place on September 7, 1968 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. It was organized by a group of feminists and activists known as the New York Radical Women (NYRW) to challenge gender stereotypes and sexism perpetuated by the Miss America Pageant (Grossman & Simon, 2020). The protesters had five demands: an end to pageant competition, freedom from traditional gender roles for women, recognition of female creativity, removal of all beauty contests, and reparations for female oppression (Grossman & Simon.,2020).
The demonstration began with a “freedom trash can” where items typically associated with femininity such as bras, mops, makeup and high-heeled shoes were burned. This symbolic ritual served as an act of liberation from traditional gender roles The protesters also presented a satirical crowning ceremony in which they crowned a sheep “Miss America” while calling out issues like racism, poverty and war that weren’t being addressed during the contest (Grossman &Simon., 2020 ).
Ultimately, the protest sparked national conversation about feminism that continues today. It also helped usher in more inclusive standards for beauty pageants which eventually led to greater acceptance of diversity in terms of body size , race and sexual orientation (Dunn et al., 2020 ). Additionally, it encouraged other forms of activism throughout the country as people began to recognize their power to effect change through collective action.