Miss Rat Tail?

Two news stories, published over 20 years apart (1955 and 1976), described beauty contests in the Philippines that were combined with rat-extermination campaigns.

Local residents decided to help the government’s rat extermination campaign by electing as town beauty queen the girl whose admirers deposited the greatest number of rat tails.

The 1976 story makes it sound like the contestants themselves were expected to do the rat-catching. I assume that's a mistake, though it would be interesting to see rat catching included in the talent section of the Miss America competition.

Pasadena Independent - July 27, 1955



Miami News - Feb 18, 1976



Update: Some more digging into the newspaper archive has yielded plenty of other stories on this topic. The practice seems to get reported in western newspapers about once a decade. Apparently using rat tails to vote in beauty contests is a long-established Filipino custom.
     Posted By: Alex - Fri Jul 01, 2022
     Category: Animals | Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests





Comments
There must be a lot of tail-less rats going around in the Philippines.
Posted by Yudith on 07/01/22 at 06:23 AM
Rat-catching and cat-calling...

(Oh, and @Judith: something similar proved the problem when they tried a scheme like this in India. People started breeding the rats.)
Posted by Richard Bos on 07/03/22 at 03:01 AM
Makes me wonder if the six-tailed rats in Indonesia is just a myth.
Posted by Phideaux on 07/03/22 at 03:56 AM
Dunno about six-tailed rats, but there is the cat-o'-nine-tails.
Posted by ges on 07/03/22 at 11:14 AM
When I saw "Minn Rat Tail", I figured she was the best at snapping people with a rolled-up towel.
Posted by Virtual in Carnate on 07/04/22 at 11:57 AM
"Miss Rat Tail", that is.
Posted by Virtual in Carnate on 07/05/22 at 08:04 AM









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