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Eleven Arrested At Miss California Pageant

June 17, 1986

SAN DIEGO (AP) _ Protesters denouncing the Miss California pageant as dehumanizing to women paraded outside the finals, chanting and carrying signs like ″Mold Jello-O, Not Women,″ and 11 people were arrested, police said.

The pageant, which ended Monday, was moved to San Diego after 62 years in Santa Cruz, in part because of protests there that began in 1980 and have attracted up to 1,000 people.

But demonstrators showed up two hours before the contest despite the 500- mile move.

The ″Myth California″ pageant, as protest leader Ann Simonton dubbed the demonstration, included several men dressed in high heels and skirts. The group sang and chanted, and displayed such signs as ″Beauty Comes In All Shapes And Sizes.″

Charges against the 10 women and one man arrested ranged from littering to battery on a police officer, said police spokesman Rick Carlson. Simonton, a former model, was charged with littering after she dropped a rose.

Inside the auditorium, Lisa Karen Kahre, 19, was selected to represent California in September at the Miss America Pageant.

Forty-one women competed in the contest, which organizers call a scholarship pageant but which the protesters criticized as dehumanizing and dangerous to women.

″We started out in 1980 with only four protesters in Santa Cruz, and what we’ve got here tonight is an overwhelming response to an issue that touches a lot of women’s lives,″ Simonton said. ″We believe this scholarship foundation should be giving scholarships to women of all shapes and sizes, and we believe there’s a correlation between violence against women and beauty pageants.″

Ethylene Wood, a pageant official, said of the demonstration: ″It hasn’t changed the attitude of the girls that want to participate in the pageant. I don’t think they (demonstrators) really understand the purpose of the pageant. If they did, they probably wouldn’t do it. This is a scholarship program, and these girls are interested in their educations and careers.″

Miss Kahre, a music education student at Hartnell Community College north of San Jose, was awarded a $10,000 scholarship, a fur coat, jewelry and other prizes.

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