No Longer a "Pageant"
If you still tune in to see who will be crowned Miss America, get ready for some notable changes to the pageant...
...or make that "competition," as Miss America will now be referred to as such. Miss America Organization chairwoman Gretchen Carlson (1989's winner) announced on Good Morning America that there is not only a new name, but a new focus. Say goodbye to the swimsuit portion and even the evening gowns will be gone. Women will be allowed to showcase their own style – be it donning a dress or a pair of dungarees.
So, what will viewers tune in for? Moving forth, it will be all about skills, smarts, savvy, and strength. We've always been told it's what's on the inside that counts, so "perfect 10s" and supermodel looks will no longer factor in to who is crowned Miss America. There will be more time spent with the judges in "interactive sessions" where contestants can prove they've got what it takes to be declared winner.
In today's climate, judging women based on their looks seems outdated, although plenty of people watch Miss America, in part (or solely), for the bikini bodies and gorgeous gowns. Of course, what the women stand for and aspire to become is empowering and impressive, but does that make for a "competition" that is programming gold? We'll have to see how viewership pans out when the upcoming Miss America broadcasts on September 9. That said, Carlson claimed, "The swimsuit portion is not the highest rated section of the broadcast. Viewers seem to be more interested in the talent competition."
Let's not forget, the Miss America Organization is a college scholarship provider. Bathing suits have nothing to do with higher education. Spring break doesn't count.
You may recall that Carlson was appointed to a leadership role within the organization when an email scandal broke late last year. The sex lives, looks, and IQs of former contestants were revoltingly ridiculed by former CEO Sam Haskell in exchanges with other higher-ups within the organization. He resigned after the messages were made public.
More personality, less parading. A focus of brains over beauty will take this year's broadcast in a new direction. And if you want to see women in swimsuits, there's always spring break.
Melissa A. Kay is a New York-based writer, editor, and content strategist. Follow her work on Popdust as well as sites including TopDust, Chase Bank, P&G, Understood.org, The Richest, GearBrain, The Journiest, Bella, TrueSelf, AMC Daycare, and more.
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