Miss America: Beauty Pageant No More

This has been a long time coming and is quite overdue if you ask me, but that does not mean it is any less of a huge step for women’s empowerment. This week, the Miss America organization announced that it is no longer a beauty pageant. What exactly does that mean? It means it is a scholarship program for women, and wearing an evening gown or a swimsuit is not a requirement for education, so those portions are ending. And other than misogynists like the guy in the White House, I don’t see much lost love here.

In an interview with Now This News, Cara Mund, the last Miss America to take part in the swimsuit competition noted that she has not worn a swimsuit as part of her duty since the night she won. It is not a part of the job description, so why is it a part of the competition?

As the organization recently took on female leaders, this move was highly anticipated. And rather than these two outer beauty portions, the contestants with show off their inner beauty. Live interviews with judges will allow them to show their passions, their ambitions, and more about who they are than what they look like.

Little do many people know that most of these contestants have been working for charities and fundraising before even entering Miss America. Viewers never had the opportunity to discover this and the women never had a chance to share, but the live interviews are meant to give them a voice, adding more weight to their platform and letting the audience understand what is dearest to them. In addition, the women will be asked to wear clothes to show their personal style.

Most of us know that Miss America has been restructuring since they replaced their former male leaders, who were sexists and cruel towards the contestants. It makes sense to have female running a women’s scholarship program. Not only does this move advance women's empowerment, but it enables them to understand their worth, rather than their abilities to walk in heels, get a spray tan, or wear a push up bra.

In the last few years, women have spoken out more than ever before, for equality and recognition of their work ethic, opinions, and place in society, and now Miss America is changing with the times. Unfortunately, if the competition were still ran by those same men such a step would have not taken place, even with the public’s desire for it. But thankfully, sexist men have been removed from positions of power in this instance, and replaced by those who understand what women should be judged on: efforts, dreams, goals, and strength.

Of course the contestants have always made the choice to enter the competition knowing these portions were requirements and a part of tradition, but removing these shallow and degrading aspects is an impactful addition to ending judgements based on physical attributes, thus self-esteem and body-image related disorders. This change also welcomes newcomers that may not have felt comfortable with the old format.

Hopefully, we will see a more diverse and inclusive group of women on stage this year. This can only guide more growth to women’s rights and equal treatment, for the organization has began in 1921, and has had an important role in the American Society. The 2019 Miss America competition will air September 9th 2018, you can look forward to seeing a new and powerful side to the contestants, and a revamped Miss America website titled Miss America 2.0.