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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?
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"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


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  • natalieg44 By natalieg44

    To tell you the truth I never watch it. Its not interesting to me and anything Donald Trump supports I shy away from. I dont really see any need for it but for the ladies that participate in these events its a job and a job in America so I would say keep it. If you do not like it you dont have to watch it but the whole production offers people jobs and that is a great thing

  • madbeach123 By madbeach123

    I don't care one way or the other. But I don't think it should be about bathing suits and evening gowns. Maybe a beauty pageant would be OK, but in regular clothes, one in evening dress, but mostly about education. The girl should be smart as well as pretty to represent the women in this country, with the emphasis on intelligence.

  • jellybeanr By jellybeanr

    It should continue. I enjoy seeing the different states represented by beautiful girls.

  • mamusia By mamusia

    It's time has come

  • vpz3sgirl By vpz3sgirl

    I think society focuses far too much on looks as it is. The last thing we need is a competition where the winner is "Gorgeous! Oh and she went to school for medicine or something too. Isn't she beautiful?!" Could there be anything less useful in society? Why not focus on that Masters in Nuclear Medicine? It's great to be beautiful and have poise, grace and confidence, but why not do something other than get up on stage declaring, "Look at me!" In my opinion, women need empowering and this is the exact opposite of that. You may think, "Oh but the winner gets this and that opportunity!" What about the others? The ones that were compared for their beauty and told they weren't good enough? What kind of message does that send? Your looks are all that have mattered up to this point and you did the best you could and you still. just. aren't. good. enough.

  • Halsey By Halsey

    Let it be...the time to end it will be when there is no one entering it any more. If you have a problem with it, don't watch it!

  • Natalie55 By Natalie55

    I think that it should stay on. It is fun to watch.

  • livingsmartgirl By livingsmartgirl

    Time for it to end. All the pageants like this should end. They are very superficial as far as I am concerned. These girl's/women can do better things with their lives to try and be role models in their community. I feel that women should all be given a fair chance to earn scholarships, not just by competition like these. I might not be pretty, but might be super smart and dedicated to making a difference, but would never be able to get a scholarship because I can't sing or look good in a bathing suit. That is very discriminating toward women of all walks of life. Women should all be appreciated for many things, not just beauty and these pageants never have a so so looking girl or one with a weight issue... and to me that is very wrong. Being a fitness blogger, I love to see a healthy body, but also know that millions of women are beautiful inside even if they struggle outside with beauty. Don't leave all these women out in the cold.

  • siyue52 By siyue52

    It probably should end. Or at least updated somehow.

  • JessyR By JessyR

    I really believe the contest is a great opportunity for aspiring women. They have to do a lot of other activities to be recognized for the beauty contest also. I would like to see the judgments not based on beauty but on their ongoing efforts to be a role model for woman and girls.

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