Today the Miss American Organization announced that the Miss America pageant will no longer have a swimsuit competition. The current Miss America winner, Cara Mund shared the news on her Twitter. She said that the pageant is starting a “whole new era” followed with #byebyebikini.
The big change is to make the 97-year-old competition more inclusive of all body shapes and sizes. Gretchen Carlson, the chairwomen of the Miss America board of directors, said on Good Morning America that the pageant will be known as a competition now and not focus on physical appearance.
“We will no longer judge our candidates on their outward physical appearance. That’s huge,” she said.
The swimsuit portion will be replaced with a “live interactive session with judges” according to a statement by the Miss America Organization. The “session” is when the contestant “will highlight her achievements and goals in life and how she will use her talents, passion, and ambition to perform the job of Miss America.”
But the swimsuit portion isn’t the only thing the organization is changing. The evening gown competition is getting a facelift too. Carlson said that contestants can wear whatever they like during the portion. They will not be restricted to long evening wear. During the evening gown portion contestants will be asking about how they want to further their social-impact initiatives.
Carlson said the Me Too movement is the driving factor behind all these changes.
“We’re experiencing a cultural revolution in our country with women finding the courage to stand up and have their voices heard on many issues. Miss America is proud to evolve as an organization and join this empowerment movement.”
This huge change comes after the Miss America Organization is led be all women and former pageant winners for the first time ever. In December Huffington Post revealed sexist and concerning emails from the current leaders of the pageant.
The next Miss American pageant, scratch that, competition will be September 9 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.