This GIF Shows How Miss America's Body Has Changed Since 1921

Photo: Ida Mae Astute/Getty Images.
Miss Georgia/the newly crowned Miss America 2016, Betty Cantrell.
It's been 94 years since Margaret Gorman of Washington, D.C. won Miss America's first pageant, though she was at first known as "The Most Beautiful Bathing Girl In America" rather than "Miss America." The contest has since evolved. Competitors are now expected to answer questions about current events and show off a fine-tuned talent, in additional to (still) meeting conventional standards of physical beauty. Those standards have changed, too. Mental health resource website Psychology Guides' newest project, "The Evolution of Miss America Since 1921," explores these changes, demonstrating how in the pageant's earlier years, Miss America winners' BMI scores fell within the middle of the healthy weight range and then began to drop. According to the report, "The only decades during which Miss America fell into the same range as the average U.S. woman were the 1940s and 1950s" (think Jayne Mansfield or Brigitte Bardot or yes, Marilyn Monroe).

This isn't to say that thin pageant contestants are (necessarily) unhealthy: Looks alone are a poor indicator of health in the first place, and the BMI measurement is known to be BS. Nor is it to say that every contestant should have the body type of the "average American woman." But an organization that, in its own words, champions "beauty, grace, and intelligence...a type which the American Girl might well emulate" and yet only features only the most slender women is missing the full meaning of "beauty." It's also missing a golden opportunity to celebrate the diversity it contains. See the GIF below to visualize how our idea of the "perfect" body has evolved.
Image: Courtesy Of Psychology Guides.

More from Body

Summer is over (for real). So it's time to face the facts: You're going to get a cold. Actually, you're probably going to get colds — plural. The average ...
The pelvic exam — complete with the stirrups and the speculum — isn't anyone's favorite thing about having a vagina. But it's really important because it's...
A few years ago, two Michigan urologists noticed a curious pattern among their patients: Upon returning from a Disney World vacation, patients would ...
Pregnant women get a lot of advice about motherhood, even when they don't ask for it. And in the first episode of Expecting, from Refinery29's comedy ...
It shouldn't be this complicated, all this body stuff: size discrimination, weight bias, the multi-factioned movement fighting to reverse it. At its core ...
On principle, I am skeptical of any internet health recommendation that has the word “challenge” tacked on to the end of it. These wellness fads come and...
Although he had been dead for decades, Jim Morrison said something a few years ago that shocked people. He wasn’t speaking from beyond the grave, but in ...
(Paid Content) Stress sweat is different from regular sweat in that it feeds off bacteria and causes odor. Then you start to think about it — producing ...
In April, I ran a story called “The Medium-Sized Woman Problem.” The “problem,” of course, was not the women themselves, but the way in which we frame ...
Jill Krause writes about all things mom, parenting, and relationships at her blog, Baby Rabies, and she has some words of advice for the non-pregnant ...
Let me introduce you all to the love of my life, Sienna Harper Gernon! I've never felt love like it! @justchrisgernon thank you so much, you have been...
Ragazzi mi state seguendo in tanti e vorrei ringraziarvi e scusarmi se non riesco a rispondere a tutti...vi proprio ho una foto che mi ricorda tutte ...
Update: Kopp's original Facebook post has been removed, and, as Shape reports, the chances of contracting an infection so severe that draining is ...
Breast-feeding has numerous benefits for both mother and baby, but it doesn't always come as naturally as we might assume. And, as one viral photo shows, ...