Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan on November 11, 1923 · Page 56
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Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan · Page 56

Detroit, Michigan
Issue Date:
Sunday, November 11, 1923
Page 56
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FREE PRESS jj 1PI Ay s j - o A v.! I' W , i i y:- VUi.-.-1-''''' Competitions Like the One Which Recently Ended in Such Ugly Quarrels Denounced by Churches and Women's Clubs as Vulgar and Undignified, Demoralizing to Our Young Womanhood o typical competitor in Atlantic City's recent stormy beauty contest : "j j ... (s W J awrf an Actual Affront to the Nation's Morals Miss Mary Catherine Campbell, of Columbus, whose selection for the second time as the winner of the capital prize and the title of "Miss America" caused considerable dissatisfaction among her rival beauties 1 .r "Miss San "Antonio," ivho thought her good looks didn't get a fair deal because her rolling chair was not . properly decorated mHE recent beauty contest at Atlantic City, in which young women from scores of cities all over the United States were entered, may be the last competition of the kind this country will ever see. As a result of the jealousies and bitter quarrels which have followed this latest attempt to determine just who arc the most beautiful American girls churches and women's clubs are protesting vigorously against any further contests of this kind and are even urging that they be prohibited by law. Beauty contests are denounced as vulgar, undignified 'and demoralizing to young womanhood. The costumes worn by some of the competitors in order that their comeliness may be better revealed to the eyes of the judges are called a serious affront to the country's morals. And It is urged that unless the good sense and decency of the girls themselves and their parents put an end to them the various States and the National government should take the matter in hand and pass laws forbidding them, just as alcoholic beverages are forbidden. Only a few days after the beauty contest at Atlantic City had ended in an extraordinary outburst of quarrels, including one $150,000 damage suit, the New Jersey Presbyterian Synod held its annual meeting there. A number of the clergymen attending the meeting had been on the Boardwalk when the competing bathing beauties passed in review, and so they were prepared to give . the synod vivid word pictures of the costumes that had shocked them. The whole subject of beauty contests was discussed at considerable length and the' result was the passage of a resolution denouncing the holding of them. These competitions were placed in the same category as cigarette Bmoking by women, the employment of child labor, prizefighting and disrespect for the Volstead act, against all of which similar resolutions of protest were passed. Women's clubs in various parts of the country, their attention drawn to the subject by the disgraceful squabbling which has resulted from the recent Atlantic City competition, are following the lead of the New Jersey Presbyterians and demanding that a stop be put to such contests by law if necessary. "No thoughtful and decent-minded porson can fail to see what an abominably' pernicious influence these beauty contests exert," says Mrs. J. Goodnow, a prominent New England club woman. "Thty are worse than vulgar and undignified; they are demoralizing to all that is best in- American womanhood. i '5 S t N "The beauty of our girls is to glorious, too sacred a thing to be put on exhibition like the freaks in a circus side show, to be commercialized and made the basis for all sorts of mercenary schemes. J A 'beauty contest, no matter how well conducted, cannot help . giving a . girl a false . idea of life and it may easily turn her ambitions in the wrong direction and wreck her future. ' "The harm they may do is not confined to the actual competitors. The ideals of every girl are menaced by the wide publicity given these contests and the foolish hon ors that are heaped on the misguided young women whose parents and friends permit them to cheapen and tarnish their God-given beauty by entering such competitions. - "I do ' not believe the people of America want to see their girls become silly, vain creatures, with not a thought in their heads except of fine clothes arid jewels and the admiring glances they excite when they walk along the streets. I think the moral influence of the fathers and mothers and the 'good sense of the girls themselves will be sufficient to end this menace to our womanhood. But if not, then our lawmakers should take prompt action." Probably all these indignant protests would never have been made if the recent contest at Atlantic City had proved the harmonious affair it was intended to be and if the winners of the capital prizes had been allowed to walk off without any indignant howls from the less fortunate competitors. Beauty contests have become almost a national institution and it is a surprise to almost everybody to find them denounced in the same breath with prize fighting and women smokers and illicit drinking. But the plans of the managers of the Atlantic City competition, who hoped to have everything go as merrily as the proverbial wedding bell, with the losers heartily congratulating the winners and everybody going away feeling happy, went sadly awry. Even mythology's golden apple which Paris awarded to the Olympian beauty who appealed to him most brought no more distressing discords than followed the distribution of the various expensively glittering prizes at Atlantic City. To start with, there was not a little dissatisfaction over the fact that tho capital prize wa3 gten to Miss Mary Catherine Campbell, representing Columbus, Ohio the same young woman who had been acclaimed "Miss America" in the contest of a year ago. Nobody could deny that Mary Catherine is an extraordinary beautiful girl, but that her winning the capital prize twice in succession was thought r si Mrs, Helmar Liederman, who is suing the directors of the Atlantic City contest for $150,000 damages because they refused to allow her to enter the competition as "Miss Alaska" Ethclda Ken-tin, w h o became the storm centre of one of the icorst squabbles the' contest developed when it ivas discovered that she was really not "Miss" "Mrs. Brooklyn;" and (on right) the representative of "City of Brotherly Love" who, quite fittingly, kept out of all the rows rather a reflection on America's capacity for the production of beauty. But the dissensions and heartburning but the the jealousies which the award of the capital prize started were nothing compared to those which followed the distribution of some of the minor prizes. When Ethelda Kenvin, as "Miss Brooklyn," was declared second to "Miss Columbus," and also the winner of three of the group prizes . the storm clouds gathered 8bout the heads of the judges in a way that must have made them wish they had chosen some other avocation. A dozen angry contestants at once protested against Ethclda Kenvin's being given any prize, much less four of them. . "Why," they said, "she is not 'Miss Brooklyn,' but 'Mrs. Brooklyn.' She has a perfectly good husband and it's an outrage to have an old married woman carry off four prizes in a contest that everybody supposed was limited to unmarried girls." One or two of the judges, not realizing what a serious situation they faced, made the mistake of admitting that last year they had barred a number of young TEST YOUR RUBIES After the diamond the ruby stands supreme among precious stones, being tfje most popular of all colored gems. The genuine stone is obtained from a mineral called corundum. To obtain one ruby thousands of tons of soil have to be washed and carefully examined. The finest gms come from the great ruby mines of Burma. All genuine stones contain certain tiny flaws and blemishes and characteristic peculiarities. Spurious rubies get their imperfections during manufacture; and as chemists are more careful than Nature, these imperfections are less no-, ticeabie. You can test your rubies by certain differences between the real and the artificial. A genuine ruby contains irregularly-shaped bubbles; the imitation gem contains bubbles which are perfectly round. Again, natural rubies have a silky sheen, due to a number of tiny parallel lines running in three directions. Imitation stones never have this characteristic. To examine your ruby place it in a strong light and look at it through a microscope. If the stone is in a setting, place a drop of oil on its face, and hold it up with the back fate to the light. The drop of oil prevents reflections of light which would confuse the eve. Betide "Miss America" is shown the magnificent silver trophy of which she retains v possession until the next beauty contest is held if it ever is fused admission .and that her prestige has therefore suffered $150,000 worth. These are the two chief quarrels that gave the Atlantic City beauty contest more publicity than it ever expected and that may result in this being the last of such competitions to be held. Th award of the prizes caused so many other rows and heartburning jealousies that nobody could think of enumerating them all. Little "Miss Antonio," for instance, felt that she was robbed of the rewards to .-which, she was entitled because through some oversight she was forced to ride along the Boardwalk in a wheelchair which- lacked all the elaborate floral decorations the chairs of the other beauties bore. Many of the cities that sent representatives to the contest are still rent with the feuds that resulted from their selection. And many of the girls who won the honor in their respective cities are said to have been grievously disappointed to find what it involved. The choice of a great many cities fell upon girls of wealth and social position. Of course, these fashionable debutantes were not at all pleased when they found that other cities had thought their beauty best represented by girls from the stores, offices and factories. It was a painful shock to many of the competitors to hear, as they did right in the midst of the contest, that "Miss Florida" had been named as the corespondent in a Jivorce suit in the District of Columbia. A still more painful shock it must have been to the competitors, whether fashionable heiresses or only working girls to hear Penrhyn Ptanlaws, the distinguished artist and chairman of the judges, say why he thought he must resign from his post. "In this contest," said Mr. Stanlaws, "I have not seen one girl who is a real representative of the tnie American girl." But how many Americans are there who would agre with Mr. Stan'aws, after viewing the array of loveliness recently displayed at Atlantic City? women from the competition when it was discovered they were married. Whereupon the disappointed dozen set up a still more wrathful yell. The distracted judges found no way out of their dilemma by talking things over with Brooklyn's representative for she frankly admitted that she had been married two years ago to E. D. Barnes. After her husband's graduation from Cogate last spring he had taken up baseball and had played with the Peoria club in the Three I League. About the time she wai swelling up with, pride over the capture of four prizes at Atlantic City he was enjoying the distinction of being sold to the Pittsburgh club of the National League. Did the judges nurse any suspicion that marriage ruins a woman's good looks? If so, as Ethelda Kenvin and her friends urged, all they needed to do was to take a look or two at "Mrs. Brooklyn." Whether is was because of Jheir scrutiny of the manifold charms of the baseball player's Brooklyn bride or for some other reasons, the judges finally decided that she might keep the four prizes she had been awarded. But this decision only started more trouble, and perhaps the most serious of all. When Mrs. Helmar Liederman, of New York, heard of it she at once started suit for $150,000 damages againBt Armand T. Nichols and Harry L. Godahall, the directors of the Atlantic City beauty contest. Mrs. Liederman alleges that she was barred from the competition because she was a married woman. In spite of her beauty, which she thinks should be evident to any discriminating eye, and the fact that she was authorized by a newspaper' published in Juneau, Alaska, to appear at Atlantic City as "Miss Alaska," she declares that she was re- (Copyright 1323)

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