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Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Miss America Ditches Swimsuit Competition

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Founded as a ‘bathing beauty’ contest. And even in its earlier days, contestants did not always conform to the swimsuit portion happily

When the Miss America Competition returns to television in September, there will be nearly no bikini in sight. As Miss America Organization has announced that it is bidding farewell to its swimsuit competition once as reviled as it was iconic.
Instead of strutting across the stage in their swimwear, contestants will participate in a “live interactive session with the judges,”  Miss America is also booting the evening gown segment of the competition, and from now on will allow contestants to wear any getup that makes them feel confident. Contestants will also be asked to discuss their commitment to “social impact initiatives.”
“We are no longer a pageant; we are a competition,” Gretchen Carlson, chair of the Board of Trustees of the Miss America Organization and a former Miss America, said in an interview with ABC’s Good Morning America. “We will no longer judge our candidates on their outward physical appearance.”
Carlson is an apt figurehead for the Miss America Organization as it tries to adapt to the #MeToo era. A former Fox News anchor, Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the network’s chairman, Roger Ailes, in 2016, who stepped down later that year. “I could have filed my lawsuit and gone home,” Carlson told Variety in a profile last April. “But I’m not choosing to do that. I’m choosing to help other women who have reached out to me since this happened, to make a difference for them.”
“We are now open, inclusive and transparent and I want to inspire thousands of young people across this country to come and be a part of our program,” Carlson told GMA. “We want you and we want to celebrate your accomplishments and your talents and then we want to hand you scholarships.”
In her interview with GMA, Carlson acknowledged that many women today are just as uneasy with Miss America’s now bygone swimsuit requirements.
“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,’” she said. “So guess what? You don’t have to do that anymore.”
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