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With no rule barring her participation, she finished as a runner up.But her inclusion fueled the fire started by women’s and religious groups against the competition as lacking in decorum.
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.Over fifty newspapers from across the country sent representatives to compete in the “Inter-City Beauty” contest. She was expected to defend her numerous 1921 laurels as the returning champ.In the end, it was Mary Katherine Campbell, “Miss Columbus” (OH) who was selected to succeed Margaret. It was estimated that three hundred thousand people attended.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.Jumping on the extra media attention the newspaper contests elicited, frolic organizers decided to include yet another event just for them: the “Inter-City Beauty” contest to be held September 7th.
It was judged on 50 percent audience applause and 50 percent judges’ decision after a day of mingling with the contestants, and a final appearance on stage.
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.
Miss America is more than a title, it’s a movement of empowering young women everywhere to achieve their dreams by giving them a voice to inspire change and by honoring their commitment to helping others.
Sixteen year-old Margaret Gorman, “Miss Washington, D.
C.” (and a Mary Pickford look-a-like) would eventually win the Watkins Trophy in this event.
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.