It’s been a long, long, looooong time coming, but thanks to some big changes at the Miss America organization, the famous beauty pageant is finally getting rid of its most controversial element. It’s time to say goodbye to the swimsuit portion of the event. Good riddance.
Initially a swimsuit competition, the Miss America pageant has grown in its almost 100 years of existence, with the pageant evolving to include scholarships, but much of the criticism of the organization continued to come back to its emphasis on looks and beauty. In the #MeToo era, that’s finally changing.
Gretchen Carlson, the chairwoman of the Miss America board of directors, appeared on Good Morning America on Tuesday and announced the huge change, saying the organization is no longer a pageant, but a competition. “We will no longer judge our candidates on their outward physical appearance. That’s huge. That means we will no longer have a swimsuit competition and that is official as of September 9 when we have our competition in Atlantic City.”
If you’re like us and wondering about the evening gowns, Carlson and her board are all over that beauty-led portion of the competition as well. “We’ll also be revamping our evening gown competition phase as well, so we’re no longer judging women when they come out in their chosen attire, their evening wear,” says Carlson. “Whatever they chose to do, it’s going to be what comes out of their mouth that we’re interested in when they talk about their social impact initiatives.”
Carlson says the newly revamped Miss America competition is aiming to be more inclusive than it has in the past, placing the focus on attracting women who previously didn’t think the competition was for them. Emphasizing the competition’s history of giving scholarships to participants, Carlson says she hopes the educational side of the competition will be more of a focal point going forward.
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) June 5, 2018
The removal of the swimsuit portion is just one example of the overhaul that has taken place at the Miss America competition over the past year. The board is now almost entirely made up of women, a big shift from previous years. As for Carlson, she’s the perfect person to introduce the new era of the Miss America competition. Having been crowned Miss America herself in 1989, Carlson was in the headlines in 2016, when she launched a sexual harassment lawsuit against her former boss, Fox News Chairman Rogers Ailes, which resulted in Ailes being terminated from the company.
It’s unclear whether other beauty pageants will follow (bathing) suit and eliminate swimwear, but a move by the Miss America competition will hopefully set a precedent for smaller pageants. One person who is loving the new changes is the current Miss America, Cara Mund. Bathing suits are for the beach and pools, amirite ladies?
— Cara Mund (@MissAmerica) June 5, 2018