When a group of American chiropractors met in Chicago for a weeklong convention in May 1956, they decided to have some fun and throw a beauty contest. Fact!
According to a story in the Chicago Tribune at the time, the judges crowned Lois Conway, 18, Miss Correct Posture; second place going to Marianne Caba, 16, and third to Ruth Swenson, 26.
“All three were picked not only by their apparent beauty, and their X-rays, but also by their standing posture,” the Tribune reported. “Each girl stood on a pair of scales – one foot to each – and the winning trio each registered exactly half her weight on each scale, confirming the correct standing posture.”
It’s thought that these types of beauty contests date to the 1920s, although they became far more popular in the 1950 and 1960s. During a contest, contestants were typically judged on beauty and poise, posture, and X-rays to evaluate their spinal structure. Physical fitness tests were added to many contests after 1963.
They were organised to help improve the reputation of the profession which was unlicensed in those days and not trusted by the traditional medical community. By crowning posture queens, the chiropractors could send a message to traditional doctors that good posture leads to good health and that chiropractors were the people to get you on the right path.
In 1967, the reigning World Posture Fitness Queen even appeared on CBS’s game show To Tell The Truth. However, as chiropractors achieved their goals, the contests’ time had come, with the last big contest was held in Chattanooga, Tennessee., in 1969.