Miss America, the annual event that was founded as a ‘bathing beauty‘ competition, will not have their swimsuit competition when they return to television in September. The organization announced that they will no longer judge based on physical appearance, and they plan to replace the swimsuit contest with a live, interactive session with the judges. These sessions will give them the chance to exhibit their passion and intelligence, rather than physical beauty.
The evening gown part of the event will also be scrapped. Instead, contestants will be asked to express their personal style and wear what makes them feel confident. The organization will also be introducing social impact initiatives, which will allow contestants to discuss why they chose their causes.
This progressive change comes after the Miss America Organization brought in the advertising agency Young & Rubicam for branding purposes. The agency had a clear message for Miss America- They needed to modernize and adapt to the women of the younger generation. They recommended focusing on career achievements. These efforts are being seen throughout the advertisement industry. The Association of National Advertisers created a movement called #SeeHer, which evaluates if women are portrayed respectfully, acurately and as good role models in advertisements and some television shows. This movement has said that they fully support the change in the Miss America competitions.
However this change will not yet be enforced in all of the individual state competitions. The Miss Georgia Organization took to Twitter to announce that they would not be making any changes this year, and will be having swimsuit and evening wear competitions next week.
But the Miss America Organization plans to completely stop judging by physical appearance. Gretchen Carlson, the Miss America of 1989 and chair of the Board of Trustees of the Miss America Organization, is an activist for the #MeToo movement. She had previously sued her former employer, the Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes, for sexual harassment, and settled the lawsuit.
In regards to the changes made she said, “We are no longer a pageant. We are a competition.”
Who doesn’t want to be empowered, learn leadership skills and pay for college and be able to show the world who you are as a person from the inside of your soul? That’s what we’re judging them on now.