Miss America Scrapping Swimsuit Competition: ‘We Are No Longer a Pageant’
In 2018, bikini season will be exclusive to beaches and pool parties: the team behind the annual Miss America pageant says the ritual is doing away with its famous swimsuit competition and, in the process, forfeiting its standing as a pageant at all.
Miss America 1989 and chair of the Board of Trustees of the Miss America Organization Gretchen Carlson said on Good Morning America Tuesday (June 5) that in the wake of the #MeToo movement, the show will center on more intellectual discourse. Carlson, herself, settled a lawsuit in 2016 against Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes.
“We are no longer a pageant. We are a competition,” she said. “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.”
“We’ve 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,” she added. “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.”
Lewd emails shared between members of Miss America's leadership regarding the physical appearance of the show's contestants surfaced in December, according to USA Today, leading to an overhaul of management. At the time, Carlson tweeted her disappointment.
The 2019 Miss America contest will air on Sept. 9 on ABC.
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