(Newswire.net— June 6, 2018) — Organizers of the oldest beauty contest in the US have cancelled the category of swimsuit competition, with the explanation that the participants are no longer to be judged on the basis of their looks.
This competition began nearly 100 years ago in Atlantic City as a bathing suit beauty contest in order to attract tourists to the city of New Jersey, AP reports. However, lately there has been resistance to the bathing suit competition, and to a lesser extent performances in the evening dress, which some are calling outdated.
The scandal with the emails of former Miss America officials in which they insulted the intelligence, appearance and private sexual lives of MA winners brought change at the top of the organization and now the three highest positions are held by women. Their first mission to ban the swimsuit category is about to be completed.
“We are no longer a pageant,” Gretchen Carlson, the first former Miss America to be named chair of the Board of Trustees of the Miss America Organization, said on “GMA.” “We are a competition,” ABC News quote.
“We will not evaluate you on the basis of your appearance because we are interested in who you are,” she said.
Carlson, whose lawsuit for sexual harassment lead to resignation of Fox News President Roger Eyes, said potential contestants complained that they did not want to go onstage with bathing suits and high heels.
Asked if she feared that the TV ratings of the competition could fall, Carlson said she is convinced this wouldn’t be the case. She explained that the swimwear segment was not the most viewed segment and that viewers were more interested in the talent competition.
“My life has worked in mysterious ways. I never thought I’d be the chairwoman of the Miss America Organization, but here I am and we’re moving it forward and we’re evolving in this Cultural Revolution.”
Carlson took over in early January, promptly naming three former Miss Americas—Laura Kaeppeler Fleiss (2012), Heather French Henry (2000) and Kate Shindle (1998)—to the board.
The change in the Miss America Pageant selection is set to begin this year on September 9th.