SHESPEAKS Your Power to Influence

Has The Time Come To Discontinue The Miss America Pageant?

SheSpeaksTeam By SheSpeaksTeam 09.09.14
Has The Time Come To Discontinue The Miss America Pageant?
Share Tweet

"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  *
  • teacupalchemist By teacupalchemist

    I think it has gotten more superficial, and the way parents push their kids into this is damaging. People don't care about the talent portion that used to be important to being a "well-rounded person."

  • sassercc By sassercc

    I think it is definitely nearing it's end. I really don't care what people say but it is truly political.

  • AnnaMarie2014 By AnnaMarie2014

    I do not feel as though the Miss America Pageant should be discontinued. I believe that being Miss America is a dream many women work very hard to attain. I, personally, would not put myself through the scrutiny and think many of their attributes are non-realistic. That being said, everyone should be given the opportunity to become "Miss America" if that's their prerogative.


    yes it is time for it to end, the future is blogger, youtube, celebrity, so to speak, Miss America's

  • wizardewu By wizardewu

    I think that it's ok since it provides scholarship money for women who will use it.

  • photos By photos

    I think it should stay...this show has been on way before any of those reality shows such as The bachelorette. You have a choice to watch or not just like many other shows. There are way too many shows the exploit women. Why pick on this one? At least there is a part of the process where they have to show their intellect.

  • lisahud2 By lisahud2

    I do have to say that I don't think it would matter to alot of people ! Years ago I think 80% of people watched it and now it is probably 25% of people that watch it ! Me personally I would not miss it because I do not watch it

  • indiana_girl By indiana_girl

    I like the idea to change the swimsuit part to a fitness one. I'm not sure whether the pageant should end. In a time where there seems to be no character formation going on, everyone is a winner attitude in the education system (so no one's feelings are hurt) and test results stress, this is a competition where there are winners, runner-ups and dare I say it losers. That is a character building experience which can not be achieved with "Instant Gratification" attitude! What I do know is there are TOO MANY reality shows.

  • smoeller67 By smoeller67

    I wished one day we had a "Miss CEO" contest. As long as women are reduced to pretty objects who can amuse people it's not going to happen, though.

  • jleigh38 By jleigh38

    I do not believe the pageant should end. It is a way for young women to express their talent and advocate for their beliefs.

More stories like this