The #MeToo movement is now driving changes within the Miss America pageant. Gretchen Carlson, the chairwoman of the Miss America board of directors, recently announced that the event will no longer feature a swimsuit portion. In hopes to transform Miss America into a platform that promotes female empowerment and leadership rather than a pageant that judges physical appearances, the swimsuit portion will be replaced by an interactive session where contestants discuss their personal achievements, life goals, and social-impact initiatives.
Social media played a key role in the announcement. The official Miss America Twitter account broke the news by posting a symbolic video of a white bikini disappearing in a puff of smoke. The accompanying hashtag, #byebyebikini, instantly went viral and garnered mixed reactions across social platforms.
While many Twitter users agree with the decision to eliminate the swimsuit, there are some who feel that the swimsuit portion is an iconic staple to any classic beauty pageant. Even former Miss America contestants are arguing that the swimsuit portion encouraged women to be confident in their own skin and displayed how hard each woman worked to lead a healthy and fit lifestyle.
With all the bikini buzz, let’s not forget about the other changes that are underway for Miss America. In the evening gown portion of the competition, contestants will now be allowed to wear any formal outfit of their choice.
The evolution of the Miss America competition should really come as no surprise – for the first time in 97 years, the Miss America Organization is being led entirely by women. Another first, all three leaders are former pageant winners in the Miss America system.
As they begin to shift their focus to core values and inner beauty, it will be interesting to see what other transformations the Organization will implement in the future. This is truly a new era for the Miss America Organization and yet another big achievement for the #MeToo movement.
Will you be watching the 2019 Miss America competition on Sunday, September 9?