Over 60 years ago, on September 7th, a group of women started a protest against a Miss America beauty pageant.
The movement created the ‘bra-burning feminist’ image.
They installed the ‘Freedom Trash Can,’ meant to be the place for all the things that oppressed women, such as lipsticks, bras, wigs, and high heels.
Everything that put a label on women was supposed to go in that trash can.
Robin Morgan, one of the organizers of the protest, stated in an interview for BBC that passers-by were welcome to join, and some even took the advantage.
“I remember one woman taking her bra off. Eased it out from under her shirt and threw it in, to great cheers.”
They walked around with signs saying, “Woman power,” “Let’s judge ourselves as people,” or “Can make-up cover our oppression?” Even though they were called ‘bra-burning feminists,’ they never burned anything. As they were in a public place, the police didn’t allow an open fire, as it would have been a hazard.
Women needed liberation. They needed the world to know they were more than housewives, and the looks weren’t everything. As powerful figures, they made everything possible to stand up and speak up their minds. They also threw in the can all the pornographic materials and beauty magazines they found.
That day, in 1968, the group of women lead the protest, also known as ‘No More Miss America“. As the pageant focused more on the women’s looks and less on their brains, Morgan sent a letter to the city mayor on August 29th. She demanded a permit for the protest, as she didn’t like that image to be mandatory for women.
Major changes ahead…
The New York Radical Women were the ones involved in the protest, along with the National Organization for Women, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the feminist Jeanette Rankin Brigade.
That year, major changes happened. For one, the abortion law was repealed.
“Nobody should legislate my rights to my body,” Jeanette said.
In March 1968, the first women-directed newsletter was established in Chicago, called “Voice of the Women’s Liberation Movement.” The ladies started gaining their powers and stopping the oppression men subdued them to. There was absolutely no reason for them to try and please everyone, as gender is not supposed to be discrimination criteria.
50 years ago, women were fighting for basic rights. They wanted to be respected, they wanted to have access to education, they wanted to be seen as more than housewives. It wasn’t fair to promote certain women over others, just because they were following the men imposed guidelines. And it wasn’t fair that no black woman ever won a Miss America pageant.
Some people now blame feminists, but they don’t realize that without their actions, the world wouldn’t have been here. Without access to education, without the realization that people are equal, we wouldn’t have a lot of things today. Thanks to their protests, now they can be whatever they want to. And it’s become a normal occurrence for women to be CEO’s, directors, scientists to change this world for the better.