I have a bit of a “thing” for beauty queens. Not Ms. America or Ms. Universe. But agricultural queens like Alice in Dairyland and the Wisconsin cranberry queen, food product queens like the Swiss Miss (an actual “Miss” at one point), and my newest discovery, the World Posture Queen.
The World Posture Queen was the queen of chiropractic, a way to publicize the fledgling healing system. The contest began in Michigan in 1955 as a way to bring attention to the annual meeting of the Michigan Academy of Chiropractic. The young woman with the straightest spine and the most perfect poise and personality would win. Contestants were given X-rays to determine whose spine was the straightest. Crooked spines were grounds for elimination. While strictly a local event the first year, the World Posture Pageant went national in year two, and international by year three.
Posture queens appeared on TV, including “What’s My Line” and “The Tonight Show.” In 1967, World Posture Queen Ruth McCarter visited the White House and got a personal tour of the Rose Garden by President Johnson.
For fifteen years, World Posture Queens brought attention to chiropractic, prompting the 1958 issue of Chiropractic Economics to announce that “Posture Contests are BIG Business.” Despite its apparent success, the contest for perfect posture was discontinued in 1969. The demands of the contest were simply too much for its organizers.