MAIN Pop Culture Beauty Pageants
The very first major beauty pageant in the United States took place 1921 as a way to attract more people to the Atlantic City, New Jersey boardwalk.
It was the success of this first Miss America pageant that spawned similar contests such as Miss World, Miss Universe, and Miss USA that are still being held today and televised by the major networks.
Even with their rise in popularity, beauty pageants have came under increasing fire -- with accusations that they objectified women for their looks.
And, it was only under pressure from the more recent #METOO movement that Miss America became the first major contest to announce that it would discontinue the bathing suit portion of the pageant beginning with the 2019 contest.
Meanwhile, beauty contests still require brains and talent as top requirements. And winners are traditionally awarded thousands of dollars in scholarship money (which usually goes to paying off student loans!) Later, they may even go on to lucrative careers in show business, politics, or as health activists or human rights proponents.
Just up ahead, check out dates, times and TV channels for upcoming beauty contests along with related information on controversies, "first facts", and famous winners: