Miss America has the answers

That Girl in the Mirror coverThat Girl in the Mirror
Van Dyke

Miss America 1965, Vonda Kay Van Dyke, authors a self-esteem manual aimed at teen girls. Van Dyke’s Miss America claim to fame is that she is the only winner of both Miss Congeniality and Miss America titles. The advice ranges from good grooming to friendships and is very generic. There is also a sprinkling of scripture to inspire girls to make the “right” choices and develop an inner beauty. Nothing particularly inspiring, but my impression was that this Miss America never struggled with doing the right thing.

I watched the Miss America pageant faithfully when I was a young kid in the 1960s. I think it was the pretty dress and the crown that were the selling points. These days, beauty contests just seem like a relic from the olden times. If it were up to me, beauty contests would be a thing of the past. Given the news, maybe Miss America is on her way out.


back cover

finding yourself

real beauty



  1. You feature so many of these dating/self-esteem guides for teens written by Christian authors. Are there any such books written from a Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist or whatever other faith perspective?

    1. Perhaps the books from other faith perspectives are less objectionable/do not lend themselves as easily to ridicule?

  2. “Your reputation is in your own hands, and when you’re out on a date, you are completely responsible for it. Don’t put the burden on the boy — he’ll usually follow your lead. After all, he has no choice if he wants to see you again.”

    Sigh. And anything a young woman might want is reduced to “being popular,” which will cause her to “throw out [her] principles.” Thank God I was only 10 then… if I’d had to live like that when I was 17, I think I would have run away, though I’m not sure where to.

  3. I watched this crud in the ’60’s as well. I absorbed way too much of it for a time. But then in the ’80’s, I lived in Santa Cruz, CA and attended all of the Myth California Pageant protests and we ran it out of town. I sure hope these contests are on their way out. Set up some sort of scholarship or grant funding instead and be done with the “beauty” bullshit.

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