Published: Tue, June 05, 2018
Medicine | By Douglas Stevenson

Miss America pageant dropping the swimsuits and evening gowns

Miss America pageant dropping the swimsuits and evening gowns

This is clearly a departure for the historic pageant, long known for its bathing suits, sequins, and big hair-dos.

And if there was any confusion-because ditching swimsuits and including women with a whole range of bodies doesn't preclude the show still being about beauty-Gretchen Carlson, chair of the Miss America board of directors, said on Good Morning America that "we will no longer judge our candidates on their outward physical appearance".

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.

Going forward contestants from all 50 states will participate in a live interactive session with the judges, during which they will show off their skills, intelligence, and passions in an effort to prove that they are fit for the job. "We are very sensitive to the fact that the swimsuit competition has always been our Achilles' heel".

The major changes come after the CEO and top executives resigned in December, because of leaked e-mails in which they made lewd and sexist comments about past winners.

The changes mean the end of the swimsuit competition for the 51 women who compete for the title of Miss America in a pageant to be telecast September 9 on ABC.

JUST IN: "We will no longer judge our candidates on their outward physical appearance". Carlson told ABC. "That's what we're judging them on now".

Miss America, the annual televised pageant, has announced that it will be scrapping the swimsuit portion from this year's event. Instead of the evening gowns, contestants will be able to choose their own evening attire to wear while discussing their "social impact initiatives".

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.

Officials hope the changes will make Miss America more inclusive and empowering for women.

The decision comes in the midst of the #MeToo movement.

She settled a sexual harassment lawsuit against former Fox News Chairman and CEO, Roger Ailes in 2016.

"Thousands of women have been inspired to know that they can stand up and speak up and their voices will be heard", Carlson said.

Miss America's former executive director Sam Haskell, president Josh Randle, and other board members resigned over a scandal previous year over vulgar emails disparaging contestants.

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