Miss America Pageant Will No Longer Feature a Swimsuit Competition

Mark Wilson  Getty Images North America

The 97-year-old beauty pageant is dropping its swimsuit competition - and will stop rating women on their physical appearance, period.

Carlson said the Miss America Organization will emphasize its role as a scholarship provider.

"We are no longer a pageant", Miss America chairwoman Gretchen Carlson said on "Good Morning America." "We are a competition".

In 1948, Waring says, it was all about appearance - in bathing suit and evening gown - and the "talent" competition, which could be singing or dancing or, in Waring's case, playing the vibes.

In January, Carlson was named the first former victor to serve as the organization's leader and four other former Miss America winners were also named to the board.

Carlson was crowned Miss America in 1989 and went on to work in the media, including as a host on Fox News. In 2016, she settled a lawsuit against former Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes.

But conservative middle-aged men are the most easily trolled people on the internet, and so most responses were making fun of them while praising Miss America 2.0.

Carlson said that the organization will also allow contestants to wear whatever they'd like during the evening gown segment of the show and that it will be more inclusive to women with bodies of "all shapes and sizes".

Cara Mund, who holds the current title of Miss America, welcomed the move as ushering in a "whole new era", emphasizing it with a tweet depicting a bikini going up in smoke. Carlson notes how the rest of the committee has heard from potential contestants who note how they "don't want to be out there in high heels and swimsuits".

And, if women hope to be taken seriously, particularly when it comes to issues related to sexual harassment, it probably makes sense to rethink certain aspects of such a pageant.

The changes follow an email scandal in December, in which former leaders denigrated the intelligence and personal lives of former Miss Americas. "Thousands of women have been inspired to know that they can stand up and speak up and their voices will be heard".

Hagan, whose appearance was vulgarly criticized in emails by former CEO Sam Haskell and former president Josh Randle, said she was pleased with the changes.

This change will be effective come fall when the Miss America 2019 competition airs live from Atlantic City, New Jersey, on September 9. Carlson said contestants will now be able to wear "whatever they choose".

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