miss teen usa has finally retired the swimsuit competition
One strappy-sandaled step in the right direction.
Image via @missteenusa
Slowly but surely, the Miss Universe enterprise is redefining what it means to be a pageant queen. Today, the organization announced that the swimsuit competition portion of the Miss Teen USA pageant has been nixed completely, following criticisms that it inappropriately objectified the bodies of girls aged 15-19.
The segment will be replaced by a much more en vogue "athletic wear" competition. The company's president, Paula Shugart, announced, "This decision reflects an important cultural shift we're all celebrating that empowers women who lead active, purposeful lives and encourage those in their communities to do the same."
Though there's no word yet on whether the Miss USA pageant will follow suit, host/creative producer Julianne Hough recently said in an interview with USA Today, "There's definitely some work I think still to be done, that's where we've been talking with the producers...In the next few years we may grow from [the swimsuit competition], but let's see where this year goes."
While that's not exactly the response we would have hoped for, there has been some positive progress within the Miss USA competition. This year, Miss Missouri's Erin O'Flaherty will compete as the first openly gay contestant, and last year's winner, Deshauna Barber, was an ex-military officer turned Capitol Hill lobbyist.
For now, the global Miss Universe competition certainly doesn't encourage well-rounded images of women, but stay tuned.
Text Annie Armstrong