Friday, January 30, 2015

Miss Subways

One of my favorite things to listen to -- whether cleaning the house, getting ready for the day, or driving to work -- is NPR.  I've turned into a total public radio junkie, and it has extended to PRX and Radiotopia, which is a network that offers great shows like 99 Percent Invisible and Radio Diaries.  Radio Diaries is where I first encountered this story about the Miss Subways pageant, and I instantly knew I had to share it with you guys.

Miss Subways was a pageant that the New York transit system started in 1941, to pick a fresh 'girl next door' that would represent the best of the city.  At first the winners were selected by the contest organizers, but in later years they were chosen by public votes.  The young ladies' photos would be put up on placards inside the train.  Unlike mainstream beauty pageants, their races and backgrounds were varied and their biographies displayed their studies and talents.  This lady below, Juliette Rose Lee, was studying to be a physicist!  And her profile on the subway celebrated the fact that she was doing so, and didn't demean her goals.  

Miss Subways were diverse, intelligent women who were seen as worthy role models to younger New York girls.  At a time when women were mostly encouraged to stay at home, have babies, and cook dinner 7 nights a week, Miss Subways showcased women who were ready to choose the best lives for themselves.

To learn more about the Miss Subways pageant, take a look at this Life magazine article celebrating the 4th year of the contest.  Also, settle in and listen to this Radio Diaries episode, where they even speak to some retired Miss Subways.

1 comment:

  1. These are so cool! Every time I see or read something about the smart, sophisticated, beautiful Miss Subway ladies, I start to miss both living somewhere with subways and times (admittedly before my own) when things like this were still part of one's daily life and commute to work.

    Wonderful post, dear gal!

    ♥ Jessica


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