If you haven’t heard, what was once known as the Miss America Pageant is now being referred to as the Miss America Competition.
The Miss America Organization has been around for decades serving as “the nation’s leading achievement program for young women” and raising millions of dollars for important causes. In the past, women from all over the U.S would be judged on their looks, talents, and goals and would spend their time competing with one another to show the world why they deserved to be the next Miss America, and a scholarship. But, over the years and as society has evolved, the competition has now taken a turn in a direction many feminists would consider a “win,” and we might be able to attribute this change to the #MeToo movement.
Aside from the #MeToo movement shedding bright lights on the issue of sexual harassment and encouraging woman to come forward who have been victimized, it is also leading to more changes that help take the attention off of a woman’s appearance. Instead, more attention is going to be placed on “a new generation of female leaders focused on scholarship, social impact, talent, and empowerment” [Source: The Bemidji Pioneer]. And aside from having the word “pageant” removed and replaced with “competition,” the organization eliminated the swimsuit competition and the contestants will no longer be judged on their physical appearances.
The change will take effect this year and comes after a “major shakeup of the Miss America board” occurred. Last year, Huffington Post released an article that highlighted a conversation that was held between pageant leaders and staffers, and referred to former contestants using foul language. After the emails were leaked, chief executive Sam Haskell and board chairman Lynn Weider stepped down. And who better to take their place than Gretchen Carlson, a former Fox News anchor who won Miss America back in 1999. Carlson also sued Fox News chief executive officer Roger Ailes for sexual harassment in 2016 and was awarded a $20 million settlement. She credited the #MeToo movement with “overhauling the event” and perhaps this change will help begin to shape a new outlook for how women in “beauty pageants” are viewed.
In a statement made by Carlson, she also said, “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.” The goal of the competition is now to be “open, transparent, and inclusive,” according to Carlson. She said that women in the past who were not comfortable posing in a bikini or for other reasons may now be ready to be a part of this evolving competition.
Aside from the bikini judging being removed from the competition, Carlson says that the organization is revamping the evening gown portion of the competition as well. Instead of women coming out in the attire of their choice, they will be coming out to discuss their “social impact initiatives.”
Although the changes come after a 2018 contestant has already been crowned as Miss America, the 2019 competition is set to take place September 9th in Atlantic City, NJ.
The #MeToo movement has and continues to change the way women are regarded in many work fields. It has given many individuals the voice they thought they never had and victims the courage to speak on the unfortunate accounts that led to them being sexually harassed and assaulted. And as the movement continues to combat sexual harassment, victims of it are encouraged to continue coming forward with their claims and allowing a Lexington, KY sexual harassment lawyer to assist them in recognizing a perpetrator who committed an unwanted act.
If you live in KY and are a victim of sexual misconduct, contact USAttorneys.com today and let us help you find a sexual harassment attorney in Lexington, KY who is willing and able to provide you with the legal advice and guidance you might need right about now.