Girls as Role Models

Girls often represent the competing moral, political, and historical claims of communities. They embody many responsibilities and aspirations that are larger than themselves.

Why have we asked girls to play these roles?

 

 

 

Yolande Betbeze donned this tiara and scepter during her reign as Miss America. She accepted the crown but refused to wear the swimsuit, noting that people should see her talents and not just her body. "I'm a singer, not a pinup," she said.

Yolande Betbeze, Miss America, 1951

Yolande Betbeze, Miss America, 1951

Courtesy of Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Miss America's Crown, 1951

Gift of Yolande Betbeze Fox

View object record

Miss America's Scepter, 1951

Gift of Yolande Betbeze Fox

View object record

Yolande Betbeze's Sash, 1951

Gift of Yolande Betbeze Fox

View object record

Miss America Lunch Box, 1972

Fay Lanphier, Miss America, 1925

Fay Lanphier, Miss America, 1925

Courtesy of Center for Sacramento History, Sacramento Bee, 1983/001/SBPM05328

Unidentified girl, Queen of the Mexican Festival of Santa Catalina Island, 1934

Unidentified girl, Queen of the Mexican Festival of Santa Catalina Island, 1934

Courtesy of Security Pacific National Bank Collection/Los Angeles Public Library

Joyce Warner, Miss Black Florida, 1971

Joyce Warner, Miss Black Florida, 1971

Courtesy of State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory

[I]t is important that [a girl] believe in herself and to know that the mere fact that her skin tones are different does not make her ugly. She is beautiful and needs to know and feel that.

—Joyce Warner, Miss Black America, 1972

Patty Magaoay, Miss Filipino Community, 1977

Patty Magaoay, Miss Filipino Community, 1977

Courtesy of Center for Sacramento History, Sacramento Bee, 1983/001/SBPMP05397

Unidentified girl, Seminole Rodeo Queen, 1994–1995

Unidentified girl, Seminole Rodeo Queen, 1994–1995

Photo by Bjorn Lusth, courtesy of State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory

Pamela Fong, Miss Chinatown USA, 1974

Pamela Fong, Miss Chinatown USA, 1974

Courtesy of Center for Sacramento History, Sacramento Bee, 1983/001/SBPMP01879

I'm more complicated....I've learned to respect the old ways and old values and now I'm not just a 'California girl,' I'm Chinese.

—Pamela Fong, Miss Chinatown USA, 1974

Stephanie Flores, Señorita Durango USA, 2015–2016

Stephanie Flores, Señorita Durango USA, 2015–2016

Courtesy of Fermin Soto Munoz

Juneteenth Queen Brianna Forbes, left, and Junior Miss Serenity Sanford, 2017–2018

Juneteenth Queen Brianna Forbes, left, and Junior Miss Serenity Sanford, 2017–2018

Photo by Zachary Allen, courtesy of The Pueblo Chieftain

Maxine Henrietta Norris, Miss Indian America, 1973

Maxine Henrietta Norris, Miss Indian America, 1973

Miss NCAI, Miss Indian America, 1971-1979, 010_pht_271_001; Records of the National Congress of the American Indians, 1933-1990, NMAI.AC.010; National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center, Smithsonian Institution

We, the Indian people, need to realize that we can only help ourselves to succeed.

—Maxine Henrietta Norris, Miss Indian America, 1973

Victoria Rodriguez, Charro Queen, 2018

Victoria Rodriguez, Charro Queen, 2018

Photo by Al Rendon