Category:
Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests

Norma and Normman

In the summer of 1945, the Cleveland Health Museum put a statue of "Norma" on display. Norma was said to be the "norm or average American woman of 18 to 20 years of age." Accompanying her was a statue of Normman, her equally average brother. The two statues had been sculpted by Abram Belskie, based on data gathered by Dr. Robert L. Dickinson.

The statues were celebrated at the time but seem like oddities now because a) their idea of 'average' didn't include any minorities, and b) they seem to represent a mid-20th-century obsession with being average or normal.

As the saying goes, the real weirdos are those who think they're normal.





Natural History magazine - June 1945



More details from The End of Average: How We Succeed in a World that Values Sameness by Todd Rose:

The Cleveland Plain Dealer announced on its front page a contest co-sponsored with the Cleveland Health Museum and in association with the Academy of Medicine of Cleveland, the School of Medicine and the Cleveland Board of Education. Winners of the contest would get $100, $50 and $25 war bonds, and 10 additional lucky women would get $10 worth of war stamps. The contest? To submit body dimensions that most closely matched the typical woman, "Norma," as represented by a statue on display at the Cleveland Health Museum. . .

In addition to displaying the sculpture, the Cleveland Health Museum began selling miniature reproductions of Norma, promoting her as the "Ideal Girl," launching a Norma craze. A notable physical anthropologist argued that Norma's physique was "a kind of perfection of bodily form," artists proclaimed her beauty an "excellent standard" and physical education instructors used her as a model for how young women should look, suggesting exercise based on a student's deviation from the ideal. A preacher even gave a sermon on her presumably normal religious beliefs. By the time the craze had peaked, Norma was featured in Time magazine, in newspaper cartoons, and on an episode of a CBS documentary series, This American Look, where her dimensions were read aloud so the audience could find out if they, too, had a normal body.

On Nov. 23, 1945, the Plain Dealer announced its winner, a slim brunette theatre cashier named Martha Skidmore. The newspaper reported that Skidmore liked to dance, swim and bowl — in other words, that her tastes were as pleasingly normal as her figure, which was held up as the paragon of the female form.

Martha Skidmore, "Norma" Contest Winner. Cleveland Plain Dealer - Sep 23, 1945

Posted By: Alex - Sun Mar 03, 2024 - Comments (0)
Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, Statues and Monuments, 1940s

Miss Grey Cup

Read about this beauty queen title here, with lots more pictures.

What's great though is the local titles of the individual beauty queens competing for the overall title. Nothing evokes femininity like "Winnipeg Blue Bomber" or "Calgary Stampeder."

CANADA - NOVEMBER 25: In training: Entrants in the Miss Grey Cup contest worked out at the Toronto Women's Club yesterday. Left to right are Miss B.C. Lion Debbie Kushner; Miss Calgary Stampeder Sherri Brooks; Miss Hamilton Tiger Cat Angie Balogh; Miss Montreal Concorde Lynda Mercier; Miss Winnipeg Blue Bomber Kim Walls; Miss Saskatchewan Roughrider Leslie McNaughton; Miss Toronto Argonaut Suzanne Housego and Miss Edmonton Eskimo Betty Jandewerth.





Posted By: Paul - Sun Feb 18, 2024 - Comments (1)
Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues, Odd Names, North America, Twentieth Century

Miss Frozen Rabbit Meat

In the 1950s there was a brief effort to make rabbit meat a more mainstream part of the American diet. In 1957, this led to the crowning of "Miss Frozen Rabbit Meat," whose job it was to convince housewives to buy more frozen rabbit meat.

I know it's possible to get rabbit meat in specialty butcher shops and markets here in the U.S., but I've never seen it in an American supermarket. So the effort to make it more mainstream evidently fizzled.

More info: Lola Mason's imdb page
Related Post: Recipes for Cooking Domestic Rabbit Meat

Daily Telegraph - Oct 26, 1957



Longview Daily News - Mar 31, 1958



Below, part of the marketing campaign to get Americans to eat more rabbit.

How many times have you said to yourself, or perhaps out loud, "I wish there were some new meat animal"?

Baltimore Evening Sun - July 18, 1957

Posted By: Alex - Sat Feb 17, 2024 - Comments (10)
Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, Food, 1950s

Esquimalt Hockey Queen

For two or three years in the mid-Sixties, the little Canadian town of Esquimalt featured a Hockey Queen. I am surprised there is no national Canadian Hockey Queen.







Posted By: Paul - Sat Jan 27, 2024 - Comments (0)
Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues, Sports, North America

Miss Stacked Job

As far as I can tell, the term "stacked job" (as it was used in 1960s-era computing) was roughly equivalent to what today would be called 'batch processing'. It was a stack of jobs (or programs) to be run by the computer.

When the Northern Arizona University Data Processing Club came up with the idea of awarding a young woman the title of "Miss Stacked Job," they admitted, "We didn't know how many, if any, girls would want the title." They ended up with ten contestants. Kathe Kline was the winner.



Posted By: Alex - Fri Jan 19, 2024 - Comments (0)
Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, Computers, 1960s

Miss Bay Beach

Better photos below the article.







Posted By: Paul - Sat Jan 06, 2024 - Comments (2)
Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues, Oceans and Maritime Pursuits, 1950s

Miss National Car Care Queen

As far as I can tell, the selection of a "Miss National Car Care Queen" was a one-off event, not repeated in subsequent years.

But it managed to attract the attention of George Kirstein, owner of The Nation magazine, who included it in a story he wrote titled "The Day the Ads Stopped" (pdf), published in The Nation in June 1964. The story imagined a future America in which all advertising had been banned and as a result:

One could no longer discover from reading the Times, or any other paper, who had been named Miss National Car Care Queen or who had won the Miss Rheingold contest.

New York Daily News - May 11, 1964

Posted By: Alex - Thu Jan 04, 2024 - Comments (1)
Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, Advertising, 1960s, Cars

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Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

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Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.

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