Miss America Eliminating the Swimsuit Portion is Incredible
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Why Miss America Eliminating the swimsuit competition is the change we need

It might only be a small step in the right direction, but it is still a step

different styles of swimsuits worn during Miss America Competitions with a red cross
Daily Mail edit by Anna Blackwell

Since 1921 the Miss America Beauty Contest has captured the imagination of women all over the country and world.
Images of beautiful women made up to look almost plastic, prancing around a stage that's broadcasted worldwide, in the most revealing bikinis and expensive evening gowns most people will ever see.
All of this done in the name of finding the most "beautiful, well-spoken, intelligent, talented" woman in the Unites States.

Now, that quote above is from the 2017 Miss America Judges Manual. In this manual, it lists the qualities and physical attributes required of its contestants.
The manual goes on to say that a contestant must be "able to relate to young people, reflective of women her age (she should not be a 35-year-old trapped inside a 20-year-old body), charismatic, dynamic/energetic, mature enough to handle the job and all of its responsibilities, comfortable in her own skin, manageable, punctual and flexible."
Wow, that's a lot of words.
A lot of words that mainly say that a contestant is only as good as her physical appearance, and that her merit and internal apparent don't really matter on the Miss America stage.

So basically for 97 years, women all over the country and world have been told by the Miss America Organization that they are only as good as their physical appearance.
Now, don't for one second think that there hasn't been any protesting and anger towards the pageant in the past, there definitely has been.
During the 1968 pageant, a group of feminist protesters stood out on the Atlantic City Boardwalk and burnt bras, girdles, false lashes, and other items that they designated as "instruments as feminine torture". Those ladies were so cool y'all, and they brought the issue of sexism and body shaming to the forefront of the countries mind at a time when it was still thought that a husband owned his wives body.
Ever since the 1968 protest, the Miss America organization has been under scrutiny to either become less about physical appearance, and more about scholarship and merit.
Less about what's on your face, and more about what's in your head.

However, for years the organization's board of directors' 9 positions were primarily held by men, with just enough women thrown in to be considered inclusive... so like, 3/9 of the board members were men. So on average 6 board members of an organization which is all about women, were men.
Because welcome to the 21st century, where logic doesn't matter!
There were many occasions when there was a call for the board to become at least equal in terms of the amount of women on the board, however those calls were largely ignored.

However, like in Avatar the Last Airbender; everything changed when the fire nation (men who use their position to sexually harass and degrade women) attacked.
In December 2017 three members of the Miss America Board of Directors resigned their positions after emails surfaced of them degrading previous winners in a misogynistic and disrespectful manner.
The emails were sent between former CEO Sam Haskell and lead writer of the telecast Lewis Friedman, and referred to the former winners of the pageant as a very bad word that no woman should ever be called if you catch my drift.
Emails also surfaced of him actively saying that he wished former winner Kate Shindle to die, and that he wanted to actively drive 1989 winner, and long time board manner, Gretchen Carlson "inf*******sane" because of her desire to modernize the pageant.
Once Haskell, Josh Randle, and Lynn Weidner resigned their positions as CEO, President, and chairwoman respectively, a new leadership team was implemented.
Former Miss Arkansas and CBS correspondent Regina Hopper was named as the CEO and President of the Miss America Organization in January 2018, followed by the announcement that former Miss America and current assistant attorney general for Florida, Marjorie Vincent-Tripp, would take on the mantle of the organization's board of trustees Chairwoman.
In January 2018 it was also announced that the 1989 Miss America, who was mocked and degraded by Sam Haskell, Gretchen Carlson, would take over Lynn Weidner's former position as the chairwoman for the Miss America Organization Board.

This bold and incredible change in leadership was a big middle finger to all of the former misogynistic tendencies and blatant disregard for women's rights an liberties.
From the very beginning of these incredible women's careers as leaders of the Miss America Organization, people hoped and prayed that this would be the change needed to make the competition more about merit and personal leadership than looks.
Finally, those hopes and prayers paid off, because on June 5, the Miss America Organization announced that starting after the September competition, the swimsuit and evening gown portions of the competition would be removed.

For years, the swimsuit competition itself has been viewed as blatant sexism and a way to put a physical marker on a woman's worth.
Disguised as a way to garner a woman's "physical fitness", the disgusting and outdated swimsuit portion of the competition always made me change the channel if I watched.
Many former contestants spoke out against the swimsuit portion, finding it made them feel objectified and caused many women to have unhealthy eating disorders.
The fact that the whole organization is making changes to not only the national competition, but to state and local as well, means that more women of different body types will be able to compete and even win the title of Miss America.

So for the organizers to finally see the light and discard this outdated and repugnant portion, makes me and millions of other women extremely happy.
They have also decided to remove the evening gown portion of the competition, instead replacing it with a "wear what makes you most comfortable" portion of the evening.
Now, you might be sitting there wondering,

"Without the swimsuit competition, WHAT WILL THEY DOOOO?!"
Well my friend, have a seat and let me tell you about the new portion.

Gretchen Carlson said on Good Morning America on June 5 that the new portion would be a live interactive session with the judges where the contestant would sit down and highlight her achievements in life so far, and her goals in the years to come.
Now, THAT is a portion of the competition that I would love to see.
My personal favorite portion of the evening is the interview portion, because to me that has been the only part of the evening where I could really gauge a contestant's intellectual level.
However, that particular portion only a-lauds 20 seconds for each contestants to answer a very well thought out answer on live tv.
So for this new portion to be implemented, allowing for the contestants to showcase their personal drive, achievements, and goals, is an incredible and monumental moment.
I know that there are a lot of people out there that simply wish for this entire competition to be done away with, because even though they have made many changes; a lot of people still find the whole concept quite archaic and sexist.
A bunch of women standing on stage, looking pretty, smiling for the camera, and being judged, doesn't sit very well with many people.

In part, I'm privy to agree.

The whole idea that a competition to judge which woman is the best, does seem a bit archaic.
However, seeing strong, independent, intelligent, kind, and amazing women compete to be the model for young girls to look up to, is a much better idea than young girls being forced to look at a false idea of what women should be.
I think this is an incredible and monumental moment for feminism, equality, and all of the young women that will grow up watching Miss America for the ability to see how an intelligent and talented woman should be, not what the male dominated industry believes a woman should be.

This might only be a small step towards a better future for young girls and women as a whole, but as Confucius said,
"The journey of 1,000 Miles begins with a single step."
This single step will be the step that potentially changes a generations view of women, and THAT is priceless.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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