Contestants Marianne Baba (L), Lois Conway (M) and Ruth Swenson (R) posing with their trophies and X-rays. Photo: Wallace Kirkland/LIFE via Google LIFE Archives
No slouchers here, ma'am! Just winners of the Miss Correct Posture beauty pageant.
In the 50s and 60s, American chiropractors held a series of rather unusual beauty pageants where contestants were judged and winners picked not only by their apparent beauty and poise, but also their standing posture (backed with X-rays of their spines, of course).
The contests were a publicity stunt, Reginal Hug, past president of the Association for the History of Chiropractic, told Scott Hensley of NPR, and was meant to burnish the reputation of the profession. The message, he said, was that good posture led to good health and that chiropractors could help with that. "In those days, nobody was concerned about radiation," Hug added, noting the use of X-rays to check for spinal structures.
Lois Conway, crowned Miss Correct Posture 1956, standing next to her X-ray.
Chiropractors checking the posture of contestant Marianne Baba - notice the
plumb bob used to check the straightness of her back.