The Miss America pageant is gearing towards changing the nature of women’s beauty pageants as we know them. Gretchen Carlson, chairwoman of the Miss America board of directors, announced yesterday on Good Morning America that the next edition of the competition will not include the swimsuit portion.
‘We will no longer judge our candidates on their outward physical appearance. That’s huge,’ she reportedly said, adding that by turning Miss America into a competition rather than a pageant they are making it ‘more inclusive to women of all shapes and sizes.’ This change has been triggered by the snowball effect of the #MeToo movement: ‘We’re experiencing a cultural revolution in our country with women finding the courage to stand up and have their voices heard on many issues,’ Carlson said in her announcement.
Following this announcement, the Miss America Twitter account posted a video bidding farewell to the bikini with the hashtag #byebyebikini.
— Cara Mund (@MissAmerica) June 5, 2018
With swimsuits getting scrapped, the evening-gown section will also be revised, meaning that Miss America entrants will dress in (presumably formal) attire of their choice going forward.
So what will the swimsuits be replaced with? According to CNN, the Miss America Organisation, which is now led entirely by women for the first time in its 97-year existence, will now create a bigger focus on the contestants’ achievements, goals and vision for social-impact initiatives – an existing aspect of pageantry that was previously peripheral to the emphasis on outward appearance.