SHESPEAKS Your Power to Influence

Has The Time Come To Discontinue The Miss America Pageant?

Has The Time Come To Discontinue The Miss America Pageant?

"There She Is" ... but what for?

Is The Miss America Pageant just another reality TV competition as profound as an episode of The Bachelorette? Is it a charming but harmless nod to a piece of Americana, or a harmful and patronizing objectification of women?

Is it hard to understand, at a time when women outnumber men in universities, and the average woman is a size 14 – why bikini-clad stick figures are strutting around on stages to get scholarship money? Or is there a real-world link to success that contestants gain by competing in this arena?

Hardly anyone would categorize today’s Miss America contestants as unintelligent, inarticulate, apolitical, or detached. Most have attended prestigious universities, earned professional degrees, have exceptional communication skills, maintain a healthy lifestyle and are involved in their communities. What’s not to like about that? And aren’t impressionable teens who have seen the latest Music Awards Shows or celebrity selfies - likely to be unfazed by the pageant’s swimsuit competition?  

As a cultural institution, the Miss America Pageant has come a long way since its 1920’s beginnings as a tourist attraction in Atlantic City. Its historical influence in defining our perception of beauty has been prodded along by 3 memorable Miss New Yorks – namely, Bess Myerson, the first Jewish Miss America in 1945, Vanessa Williams, the first African-American Miss America in 1984, and 30 years later to the day, Nina Davuluri, the first Miss America of Indian heritage. The manner in which each of these women rose above the backlash that followed their historic wins, is perhaps the most effective silencer of pageant critics to date.

But is that really enough to justify continuance?

Should new categories of scored competition such as Problem-Solving, Creativity, Diplomacy, Athleticism or Technology – be added to things like Swimsuit, Talent and Social Platform in order to crown a more relevant ideal? Why do we need a Miss America?

We'd love to hear your opinion - Should the Miss America Pageant be continued or discontinued?

Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below and you’ll be entered to win a $75 Visa Gift Card.*

*This giveaway is open through Sept. 23rd to USA residents over 18 years of age. One entry per person. No purchase necessary.

Congratulations to Winner: Khalessifan

 

Make a Comment

Comment  *
 
 
  • beaniebaby70 By beaniebaby70
    09.09.14  

    I don't see any harm

  • Kay3131 By Kay3131
    09.09.14  

    I will always remember when the deaf contestant won in the mid 90's. She was first down the aisle to announce her name and State. She had such poise, and was so unassuming. After she performed her ballet, there was no question in my mind that she represented everything wonderful. She was Miss Alabama and she had just won the title for a year-long speaking engagement! How great is that!

  • Hywelda9 By Hywelda9
    09.09.14  

    Oh, good grief, the time for this kind of crapola to die was a long time ago. It is sexist, exploitive, and just overall disgusting. Can you just imagine men going through something like this?

  • elizdup By elizdup
    09.09.14  

    Really! ?

  • mrsquick06 By mrsquick06
    09.09.14  

    I do not think we need a Miss America; however, I have known people who were intelligent (but not National Merit level) and talented (but not child prodigies), who entered pageants that lead up to Miss America to earn scholarship money. With the rising cost of a college education and the increasing pool of people competing for scholarship money, I think the more options available the better. Perhaps altering the Swimsuit category to a Fitness evaluation would help eliminate the sexist stigma some associate with the pageant.

  • jovonneb By jovonneb
    09.09.14  

    I like it for kids, it is cute. But not for adult women, our culture is enough superficial and women continue to think light skin and beauty is what you need to make it in life.

  • redheadsupermodel By redheadsupermodel
    09.09.14  

    I don't think it needs to end. I'm sick of this politically correct crap. If you don't want to watch, there are 1,000 other channels to watch. Just because you don't like something doesn't mean you have to ruin it for those that do. Some girls actually find these pageant women to be inspirational.

  • heatherd1979 By heatherd1979
    09.09.14  

    I think all pageantset should disappear. Young kids should not be made to think that they have to look a certain way to be considered beautiful. Children should be taught to use their minds not their bodies.

  • coolestmommy By coolestmommy
    09.09.14  

    I do not think we should take away an opportunity for scholarships, community service and talent to be celebrated. I disagree with it making objects of women. I know many young ladies who are using the local and state pageant scholarship money to pay their schooling. I did like mrsquick06 idea of changing swimsuit to Fitness evaluation. That seems like a great idea. But keep the pageant.

  • LoraineyE By LoraineyE
    09.09.14  

    I think it should probably stop- it's just not something that I think most people want to watch.

More stories like this