Miss America broke history when it recently announced it will no longer hold swimsuit competition in a bid to stay relevant at present times.
Beauty pageants have long caused a debate on whether it is a pool to objectify of women or just a mere celebration of everything beautiful about them. Recently, the Miss America Organization put to bed one of the highlights of the competition, the swimsuit contest.
The idea of scrapping the swimsuit competition from Miss America became louder in January, during a retreat, and the officials of the organization hoped the competition could shift the focus of the public away from the public appearance of the contestants to what they really can do and their aspirations in life.
"We are no longer a pageant. We are a competition," Gretchen Carlson said, the new chair of the Board of Trustees of the Miss America Organization.
The then swimsuit competition would be replaced by interviews with the contestants, which is considered a game-changer, considering how Miss America first started out as a swimsuit contest. That said, it again opened a debate if the move should be lauded or not.
Many Miss Americas found the news to be a remarkable step toward the better future of the competition. The 2015 winner, Kira Kazantsev, agrees with the decision to scrap the swimsuit contest.
"I thought this was the best thing they could do for future of the organization," she said.
2013 Miss America Mallory Hagan shared the sentiment and explained that wearing a swimsuit shouldn't be a basis to regard someone as "physically fit or beautiful." However, not all titleholders agree to removing the swimsuit competition.
For 2016 Miss America Betty Cantrell, the swimsuit competition is an avenue to give light on fitness as well as health. The former winner has been advocating healthy lifestyle to push her fight against obesity in Georgia.
The recent move by the organization is a setback for women, Cantrell said, who believes that the axing of the swimsuit competition is "essentially saying that women shouldn't be proud to be in their own skin."
Meanwhile, Miss America Organization isn't just scrapping the swimsuit competition, but the evening gown segment as well. Carlson explained that contestants would have the opportunity to express themselves in whichever type of clothing they choose to come out, as long as they feel confident about it.
The idea of scrapping the swimsuit competition has long shadowed the Miss America competition. In 1993, people were asked to vote whether they still want to see the portion or not. It turned out that it wasn't dropped because most people still liked the controversial segment.
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