Tracking the country's oldest beauty contest -- from its inception in 1921 as a local seaside pageant to its heyday as one of the country's most popular events -- Miss America paints a vivid picture of an institution that has come to reveal much about a changing nation. The pageant is about commercialism and sexual politics, about big business and small towns. But beyond the symbolism lies a human story -- at once moving, inspiring, infuriating, funny and poignant. Using intimate interviews with former contestants, behind-the-scenes footage, and photographs, the film reveals how the pageant became a battleground and a barometer for the changing position of women in society.
A special narration track is added to the series by Descriptive Video Service® (DVS®), a service of WGBH to provide access to people who are blind or visually impaired. The DVS narration is available on the SAP channel of stereo TVs and VCRs.