By the end of the 1960s the feminist movement had become increasingly outspoken in its beliefs. Central to their argument against society was the effects of gender stereotyping. Society’s response to women based on their appearance and “feminine” qualities was sharply condemned as being patronizing and as a way to subjugate women.
The annual Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City epitomized everything the feminist movement objected to in chauvinistic American society. In 1968, the feminist group New York Radical Women launched a militant protest against the event. Bearing “freedom ashcans” in which to dump various symbols of the oppression of women, New York Radical Women were barred from the convention hall, but staged a protest outside. The demonstration, however, attracted national media attention and elevated the cause of radical feminism. Protestors distributed the following handout stating their position to the media and spectators on the Atlantic City boardwalk.
– The American Experience: The History and Culture of the United States through Speeches, Letters, Essays, Articles, Poems, Songs, and Stories, edited by Erik Bruun and Jay Crosby.
Click on link to download full document. The document contains the full text of the pamphlet distributed in protest at the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, New Jersey, 1968.