Miss America Gets Rid of the Swimsuit Competition
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Arts Entertainment

Miss America Eliminates Its Swimsuit Competition

... And many more changes!

Miss America Eliminates Its Swimsuit Competition
Wikimedia Commons

On Tuesday, June 5th, 2018, the Miss America pageant announced that it has eliminated the swimsuit portion of the competition. Gretchen Carlson, the current chairwoman of the Miss America board of directors, announced this in an interview on Good Morning America.

Speaking for the organization, she said that "We are no longer a pageant, we are a competition." Carlson also declared that the competition "will no longer judge candidates on their outward physical appearance." The changes will go into effect in the next competition on September 9 of this year.

Before I move on, I would like to point out just how important of a step this is for women.

The message that society always seems to send is that a woman's value depends on her appearance. Beauty pageants simply reinforce that idea by literally giving awards to the girls who were judged as the most beautiful. No wonder girls put so much effort into their looks – they are constantly told that outward beauty gets rewards. These new changes in the Miss America competition will encourage girls to focus on their inner beauty a little more.

Carlson also mentioned that the Miss America organization will focus more on its role as a scholarship provider. The organization will now be more inclusive to women of "all shapes and sizes."

Upon stating that the evening gown portion will be revamped into an interactive session with the judges in their attire of choice, she said that "it's going to be what comes out of their mouth that we're interested in." In other words, they will give out scholarships based on who the contestants are rather than what they look like, which is how most other organizations give out scholarships anyways.

To provide some history here, the Miss America pageant started in 1921 as a swimsuit competition designed to increase publicity for Atlantic City beaches. Ever since then, the competition has grown to be so much more than a publicity stunt. Carlson herself talked about how ratings for the talent portion were higher than ratings for the swimsuit portion. Miss America is not the first to eliminate the swimsuit portion, however. Miss World eliminated it in 2014 and Miss Teen USA did so in 2016.

The new inclusiveness of the whole competition is amazing and I commend the organization's leaders for making such bold changes. It excites me to hear that so many more girls can participate in the competition and have an equal chance of earning those scholarships. I cannot say for sure if it will lead to fewer girls judging other girls based on looks because, let's face it, they always have and always will, but I'm excited to say that this is certainly a good start.

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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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