A discussion on the recent changes within the Miss America Organization that eliminated the swimsuit portion of the competition. My open, honest thoughts on this decision and what I think it means for the future of the competition.
In case you missed it, earlier this week the Miss America Organization announced across all media networks that they are doing away with the popular “swimsuit” portion of the classic competition.
As you can imagine a lot of opinions have been swirling around (in and out of the pageant world) about this monumental decision. I am actually personal friends with Miss New York (2017), so I’ve been hearing a lot from both sides of the argument; for and against the decision.
The swimsuit portion of the Miss America program has been around since its inception in 1921. Over 96 years of girls walking across the stage in swimsuits and high heels; being solely judged on how they look and how they present themselves. Of course, there are other portions of the competition (interviews, talent, etc.) that are less aesthetically based, but the swimsuit portion has gained the most popularity and notoriety over the years.
In a day and age where women’s empowerment is arguably on of the most important topics in society and the women’s movement is gaining traction throughout the world, it seems very fitting that the Miss America Organization has reevaluated the tenants they stand.
I personally could not be more pleased with the MAO’s decision. Although I don’t make it a point to watch the Miss America competition each year, I’ve always been aware of it and have felt that the contestants don’t really live up to what Miss America is supposed to stand for. Miss America is supposed to represent “every woman”. A woman who is gifted, hardworking, intelligent, and….apparently fits the body ideal set forth by society. I don’t know about you, but the Miss Americas of years past certainly don’t make me feel heard, seen or represented..and I’m sure most American women would agree.
Instead, I like that MAO has decided to only judge the competitors on what comes out their mouths, NOT what’s on their bodies or what they look like. My biggest hope with this latest development is that woman of ALL walks of life are encouraged and feel more comfortable trying to participate in these kinds of competitions/events.
You know what I’d like to see on that stage?
a woman in a wheel chair
a woman with short hair
a woman with tattoos
a married woman
a woman with children
a woman with an untraditional figure
an overweight woman
a woman with a mental or physical handicap
a woman with a birth mark or facial deformity
a trans woman
Because all these women (including the traditional types with see in the event in past years) represent America. America is a melting pot! And I’m sorry, but a 5 foot 10, skinny, model-looking woman with long hair and perfect features DOES NOT represent me. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with fitting those ideals, however women shouldn’t feel like they HAVE to live up to arbitrary standards. It’s time for diversity. It’s time for an accurate representation of the varied shapes, sizes, and looks of women all over the country.
A counter argument to the MAO’s decision discusses the fact that the swimsuit portion displays the contestants dedication to fitness and a “healthy lifestyle”. But that really irks me to the core! People can be “healthy” at a varied spectrum of sizes, shapes, and physical appearances. Just because someone looks good in a swimsuit doesn’t correlate with the health of their bodies. I could write another post entirely about health at every size, but for the sake of brevity I will stay on topic here.
I will say that I do have one singular gripe with this whole decision. That is the fact that it’s being lumped in with the #MeToo movement. Combining it with a movement based on sexual harassment and discrimination is setting a dangerous precedent. It’s as if MAO is saying that being an attractive, fit young women and proudly displaying it on stage justifies being objectified and potentially assaulted.
I still don’t think the swimsuit portion should have been included to begin with or ever reinstated in the future. But I believe the reasoning should have nothing to so with the #MeToo movement. Women (of all shapes, sizes, colors, etc.) should feel comfortable, confident, and SAFE wearing whatever they’d like. Like I said above, my issues with the swimsuit portion lies with the fact that women are being judged, rated, and ranked based on outward appearance.
My only hope, in terms of outcomes, with this decision is that some little girl out there that has or will watch the Miss America competition and idolizes the contestants will be able to see diversity being presented on stage from now on. I hope she will be able to identify with one of the contestants. I hope she will gain confidence in herself instead of trying to emulate an unattainable physique on TV. I hope she will realize how special and unique she is and that she too could be Miss America someday. Miss America should be able to be any one of us…and now she can be!
I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on this subject in the comments!
Do you think it was the right move to eliminate the swimsuit portion of the MAO competition? Why or why not?
What do you think this will mean for the future of the organization?Stay connected:Subscribe to Healthy HelperFacebook: Healthy HelperTwitter: @Healthy_HelperInstagram: HealthyHelperPinterest: Healthy_HelperBloglovin’: Healthy HelperGoogle+: Healthy HelperTumblr: Healthy Helper BlogSnapchat: KailaProulxWant to get FREE products for review and make money as a blogger? Check out Linqia!