Recently, Miss America announced a change in their industry. No longer will they support the swimsuit competition, commonly seen as a way to judge women’s outer appearances and ultimately enforcing the sexist outlook women have been fighting for decades. The shift calls for a focus on women’s inner beauty and to replace the body revealing categories for a live interview on the goals and aspirations of the competitor.
Part of this forward movement will require the competitors to discuss their chosen cause, also known as “social impact initiatives,” and how they will advance their goals. This rebranding effort has continued to receive hits from all sides. Some say taking away the swimsuit competition is like taking away the heart of the show, while others feel it is a good modern advancement.
The show will still consist of women in nice gowns and other clothing items, yet the focus will primarily be on talents and scholarship.
Miss America has received negative reviews throughout the years, starting in the 1960’s when 100 feminists confronted the pageant on their body-focused judging standards in Atlantic City. The women participating tossed bras, fake eyelashes, wigs, curling irons and other female-targeted products into a trashcan to symbolize freedom against men’s beauty standards. Since then, movements like #MeToo and #SeeHer have impacted the decision to revamp Miss America. The show has been slowly declining in views the past decade, as have all live television shows. Miss America viewership has dropped by 10% in the past four years.
As Miss America 2.0, the company hopes to further the movement of women’s empowerment and individuality. While throughout the decades Miss America has claimed to do this already, they are said to now finally be following through with their actions.
- Not only is Miss America taking a stand with social initiatives, they are encouraging their competitive participants to do so by adding a requirement to speak on their goals to change the world.
- Movements such as #MeToo and #SeeHer inspired the organization to replace the swimsuit portion of the show and focus on a competition rather than a pageant. A 10% decline in viewership also may be a contributing factor.
Activators Quest & Actions (Q&A):
- What changes can you make in your organization and community to support greater empowerment and equal rights for women?
- What line would you draw in shifting from a pageant to a women’s competition? What competitive events would make it more empowering?
- Should businesses support Miss America 2.0 through advertisements and sponsorships? Or, should Miss America just retire?