The swimsuit competition, which seems to be the most iconic part of any pageant, will no longer be a part of the Miss Teen USA. In an article for HeatStreet, former Miss America Kirsten Haglund shares that she did not harshly question the swimsuit competition at 17 and 18 years-old, but her perspective has changed after she filled the role of Miss America.
“Today, I can’t help but wonder: Why is the swimsuit competition necessary at all, in Miss America, or any other pageant? Why, when the job qualifications lie so much deeper than the God-given physical proportions that may or may not earn a ’10’ on a judge’s score sheet?” says Haglund.
Haglund also makes a dinstintion between Miss Teen USA and Miss America Outstanding Teen (MAOT): MAOT has never had a swimsuit competition.
“It is shocking to me that featuring girls aged 14-19 onstage in two-piece swimsuits has not been called into question more broadly before now,” says Haglund.
Having girls at such a young age being subjected to judgment of their bodies has lead to sobering, but not surprising effects, says Haglund, who reports that by age 10, 80 percent of American girls have already dieted at least once, and 70 percent of girls aged 6-12 want to “slim down.”
The negative effects of the objectification of women, such as the swimsuit competition, affect older women as well as younger.
“Women feel the pressure as soon as they get one wrinkle to get Botox, and models start walking the runway in Dior gowns meant for 35-year-old women at aged 14,” writes Haglund.
Miss Teen USA takes the lead in eliminating the swimsuit competition, and Haglund hopes others will follow.
This is a summary post from HeatStreet.