Miss America Axes Swimsuit Competition, Won’t Judge Women on ‘Outward Physical Appearance’

Bill Clark  CQ Roll Call  Newscom via ZUMA

Bill Clark CQ Roll Call Newscom via ZUMA

Gretchen Carlson, the first Miss America to be named to the organization's Board of Trustees, appeared on "Good Morning America" to unveil the contest's changes. The talent portion of the competition will remain.

Miss America announced it would no longer include the swimsuit competition in future pageants on June 5, 2018. Carlson was asked about a potential ratings loss in kiboshing the swimsuits and she told GMA, "That's not a highly-rated part of the competition". Vincent-Tripp was Miss America 1991.

"So guess what, you don't have to do that anymore", she said. Finally we can judge women on what really matters: "baton twirling", someone wrote, poking fun at the concept that women should be judged at all.

Miss America is rebranding for the modern era that's less tolerant of outright objectification of women.

"It's what comes out of their mouths that we care about", Carlson said. In July 2016, she sued former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes for sexual harassment; Ailes resigned shortly after. Last December, chief executive Sam Haskell and board chairman Lynn Weidner stepped down after a story by HuffPost revealed disparaging emails sent by pageant leaders and staffers about former contestants, using crude language.

Carlson says the "competition", as they're calling it moving forward, will be less focused on beauty, and more focused on what the contestants actually bring to the table, intellectually.

In this August 30, 2017, photo, contestants attend a welcoming ceremony for the Miss America competition on the Atlantic City, N.J., boardwalk.

The competition's contestants - representatives of all 50 US states - "will be asked to demonstrate their passion, intelligence and overall understanding of the job of Miss America", the show reported.

Contestants with Miss America will now participate in an interactive session with the judges to demonstrate their passion, intelligence, and the overall understanding of the job of Miss America, ABC reports.

A former "Fox & Friends" anchor, Carlson has become an outspoken advocate against sexual harassment and trailblazing champion of the #MeToo movement.

Miss America, Carlson added, will be a "competition", not a "pageant", and will strive to change its public perception by emphasizing its role in providing scholarships to young women and honoring talent. "Miss America is proud to evolve as an organization and join this empowerment movement".

Carlson also said the new Miss America competition will be more inclusive to women of "all shapes and sizes".

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