1968 September 7

Feminists Protest Miss America Pageant – Do NOT Burn Bras


Feminists and others protested the demeaning image of women at the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on this day. Contrary to popular myth, they did not burn their bras. Participants in the demonstration have written that there were no fires, no one took off her bra, and no bras were burned. Women did throw into a trash can items that were symbols of traditional femininity, including high heeled shoes, girdles, bras, and other items. The trash can and its contents, however, were not set afire.

A web search of Google Images does find some pictures of women burning bras, but they are labeled as being at other locations or times, or were clearly taken years later, as evidenced by clothing, hairstyles, and other indicators. Read Jo Freeman’s account of the 1968 and 1969 Atlantic City protests below.

Learn more: Elwood Watson and Darcy Martin, There She Is, Miss America: The Politics of Sex, Beauty, and Race in America’s Most Famous Pageant (2004)

Learn more about Atlantic City 1969 from Jo Freeman: http://www.jofreeman.com/photos/MissAm1969.html

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