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16719-the-changing-body-of-miss-america-headerPhoto Credit: Splash 

Recently the 89th Miss America pageant was held, crowning Miss Georgia as the country's number one beauty queen. Thousands of young girls spend their early lives wanting to or actually working towards this ultimate title, sitting in front of TVs and computer screens, eyeing current competitors and taking note of their style, answers, and bodies. 

Many of the women who compete balance a full normal life of school, sports and work alongside participating in the high-stakes world of pageants. While being crowned Miss America is considered the highest title in American pageantry, the road to that path is tough. Not only is there immense pressure to win, there’s also an expectation of obtaining a certain look.

16719-the-changing-body-of-miss-america-compairsonPhoto Credit: PsychGuides.com

As noted by PsychGuides.com, an organization that brings awareness to psychological issues, the “look” of Miss America contest winners has altered significantly. As years have passed, Miss America has gotten much thinner as compared to the American public. According to a Body Mass Index (BMI) chart created by PsychGuides.com, as the typical American woman’s BMI has increased and verges on overweight, Miss America’s has dropped and dipped into an underweight range.

16719-the-changing-body-of-miss-america-chartPhoto Credit: PsychGuides.com

PsychGuides.com also has created a visual comparison of the earlier Miss America winners, whose BMI was similar to those of average American women, with those of today’s winners. Not only is there a notable size difference - as the years go by each winner’s body get’s more svelte - there is also a change in appearance overall. Although it can be argued that hair and makeup looks have changed significantly since the 1920’s, there’s more of an emphasis on visual perfection than ever before.












Photo Credit: PsychGuides.com

The reason why PsychGuides.com has brought this information to light is not to shame pageant girls, as there truly can be enjoyment that comes from beauty pageants and competition, or to tell others to conform to a certain BMI. Instead, it’s to raise awareness of eating disorders and the factors that may lead to them.

As women are fighting to find a stronger place in society, we also have to fight for more realistic body standards in our media. Although it may not affect us as adults, we can help future beauty queens sitting in front of that TV.

To see the history of the “ideal woman” in society, check out our article here.

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