Friday, Aug. 12, 2011

The 'Bra Burning' Miss America Protest

One of the most legendary protests by second-wave feminists took place on Sept. 7, 1968, when nearly 400 women protested the Miss America pageant outside the Atlantic City Convention Center. Organizer Robin Morgan wrote that the group was protesting the pageant's promotion of the "ludicrous 'beauty' standards we ourselves are conditioned to take seriously." As the pageant was taking place, feminists marched around the "freedom trash can" in which they tossed items they perceived as symbols of feminine oppression: high heels, makeup, girdles and bras. While it was widely rumored that the trash can was then lit on fire — sparking the decades-old myth of bra-burning feminists — the protest occurred incident (and flame) free. However, thanks to the widespread media that the pageant already drew, the protest and the cause was heavily covered in newspapers across the nation.