The popularity of the first Miss Chinatown USA beauty pageant made the event one of the highlights of the Chinese New Year celebration, which it continues to be today. In defining the ideal woman to represent Chinatown, pageant organizers responded to developing cultural, economic, and political tensions within the Chinese-American community and the broader American society. CCC leaders explained that they wanted to organize 'something western' to attract the interest of the American-born generations as they became more assimilated. By presenting beautiful, charming, and intelligent Chinese-American women the competition also paid tribute to the families of these contestants, as implied by the lyric from the official pageant song, 'loveliest daughter of our Ancient Cathay'. The intensity of criticisms against the pageant coincided with the degree of community conflict surrounding issues of ethnic representation and gender roles and the international allegiances. The cultural event promotes recognition of disadvantaged groups without threatening the fundamental American values of individualism and meritocracy.