The Miss America beauty pageant is making major changes—none of them cosmetic.
Board member Gretchen Carlson, a former Miss America herself, told Good Morning America that the organization won’t hold swimsuit or evening gown competitions anymore.
“We’ve heard from a lot of young women who say, ‘We’d love to be a part of your program but we don’t want to be out there in high heels and a swimsuit,’ so guess what, you don’t have to do that anymore,” Carlson told the ABC morning show. “Who doesn’t want to be empowered, learn leadership skills and pay for college and be able to show the world who you are as a person from the inside of your soul.
“That’s what we’re judging them on now.”
Instead, the 51 contestants (including from the District of Columbia) will be asked to “wear attire that makes them feel confident, expresses their personal style and shows how they hope to advance the role of Miss America,” according to GMA.
The changes come at a time when the #MeToo and #TimesUp movement have called into question whether or not such pageants are sexist by nature. Carlson has been an advocate of the movement and she settled a lawsuit against former Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes over sexual misconduct accusations during her time at the network.
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