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The Evolution of Miss America

Margaret Gorman became the first Miss America by winning a popularity contest in Atlantic City in 1921 that measured the crowd’s applause as well as the judges decisions. She wasn’t called Miss America until the next year’s pageant. The pageant has changed a lot since then. Over the weekend, Miss Georgia, Betty Cantrell, won the title of Miss America 2016. noticed how much skinnier each Miss America has become over time, and constructed a chart to compare the Body Mass Index (BMI) of the pageant winners for whom weight and weight are available with the average young American woman at the time.

In the early generations, the BMI scores for Miss America winners hovered within the middle of the healthy weight range but soon began their descent toward the low, unhealthy range. Using historical data on both the pageant winners and the average American woman, we were able to estimate that the only decades during which Miss America fell into the same range as the average U.S. woman were the 1940s and 1950s. In the decades since, the pageant winners have become markedly thinner, while the average woman’s BMI has been increasing. Now more than ever, the ideal image of beauty portrayed by the contest inaccurately represents average American women.

The post goes on to discuss the dangers of an unhealthy body image presented by the Miss America pageant and how this contributes to eating disorders. But the real enticements are the several visualizations of Miss America winners from 1921 to 2015. -via Tech Insider

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"Now more than ever, the ideal image of beauty portrayed by the contest inaccurately represents average American women."

Who says the contest should accurately represent average American women? It should accurately represent the feminine ideal.
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