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In order to build hype, the women were later put in the running for the Golden Mermaid trophy given to “The Most Beautiful Bathing Girl in America.” Margaret Gorman swept both events.By September 1922 she became known as “Miss America.” In the ensuing years it would grow and reflect some of the most powerfully held attitudes towards what it meant to be an ideal American woman. In the decades just prior to its creation, there was a marked transformation around women’s roles in society.Miss America remains a role model to young and old alike.Over the years, Miss America has continually made a difference in people’s lives through her charitable and community service endeavors, using her national platform to educate millions of Americans on important issues facing society.Newspaper organizations decided to sponsor photographic popularity contests from among their readership and awarded their respective winners with an all expense paid trip to the Second Annual Fall Frolic.Once there, frolic organizers placed the young women in an “Inter-City Beauty” contest in which the judging was largely based on their general appeal in appearance, personality, conversations with the judges, and interactions with the crowds.
As America moved headlong from the Victorian to the modern age, a new image for women developed, symbolizing the changing times.
According to leading magazines and periodicals of the time, the modern woman was vigorous. This was an unprecedented break from the rigorously controlled physicality prescribed for the ideal 19th century woman, with its emphasis on delicacy and fragility.
The first pageant winner reflected these changes in attitude towards beauty. She also bore a striking resemblance to silent screen star Mary Pickford, who was just achieving fame as ‘America’s Sweetheart’.
Samuel Gompers, head of the American Federation of Labor, noted in the New York Times, “She (Margaret Gorman) represents the type of womanhood America needs; strong, red-blooded, able to shoulder the responsibilities of home-making and motherhood.
It is in her type that the hope of the country resides.” Despite the best efforts of the pageant officials, the pageant gained a reputation for being a little risqué.