On September 7, 1968, Robin Morgan, a former child television star, along with other feminists, organized several busloads of women to stage a demonstration against the Miss America pageant. There, on the Atlantic City boardwalk, they crowned a sheep “Miss America,” set up a “Freedom Trash Can” into which various trappings of femininity like curlers and bras were hurled, and held up signs that read “Welcome to the Miss America Cattle Auction” (Douglas 1994, 13). It is hardly surprising that the first major feminist demonstration of the late 1960s targeted one of the highest rated programs on television; second-wave feminists, starting with Betty Friedan in The Feminine Mystique (1963), had singled out the mass media as a central culprit in promoting sexist representations of women. By 1970, when feminists staged a sit-in at Ladies’ Home Journal to protest its retrograde depiction of women, women at Newsweek and Time sued the magazines for sex discrimination, and the Women’s Strike for Equality in August featured guerrilla theater ridiculing the widespread objectification of women, it was clear that media criticism had become a foundational tenet of feminism.

This essay may be found on page 68 of the printed volume.

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