After nearly a century, the Miss America pageant is scrapping off its swimsuit competition as the board of directors said they will no longer judge a woman based on their physical appearance. One of the most controversial pageant traditions, wearing skimpy bikinis and posing on the stage has long been a part of beauty pageants. Previously, the organizers defended the segment as “a measure of women’s physical fitness”.
Gretchen Carlson, the new chairperson of the Miss America Organization, said on ABC’s Good Morning America, “We will no longer judge our candidates on their outward physical appearance. That’s huge. And that means we will no longer have a swimsuit competition.”
She further added that the Miss America will now be a “competition” and not a “pageant” that will judge on a woman’s outward appearance. It will, instead, focus more on providing scholarships and honouring talent. Shedding light on “inclusivity”, Carlson said, “We have heard from a lot of young women who say, ‘We’d love to be a part of your program but we don’t want to be out there in high heels and a swimsuit’. So guess what? You don’t have to do that anymore. You’re welcome. Please come join us.”
Ms Carlson, who had won Miss America in 1989, was named as the chairwoman of the organisation in January. Seven of its nine board members are women, after several women had been appointed to its highest ranks.
Drawing attention to the new rules of the competition, Carlson further said that it would focus more on the contestants’ talent, intelligence and ideas. “We are moving it forward and evolving it in this cultural revolution.”
JUST IN: “We will no longer judge our candidates on their outward physical appearance. That’s huge. And that means we will no longer have a swimsuit competition.” – @GretchenCarlson on the major changes coming to @MissAmericaOrg https://t.co/ICRIsRN71h pic.twitter.com/IWKcVvCC50
— Good Morning America (@GMA) June 5, 2018
The Miss America Organization will also change some aspects of the “evening gown segment” of the contest. Carlson feels that neither the swimsuit nor the gown competitions were among the highest-rated parts of the program. Miss America hopes “to be open, transparent, inclusive to women who may not have felt comfortable participating in our program before.” These changes will go into effect from this year’s contest, which has been scheduled for September 9.