The Miss Teen USA Pageant has omitted the swimsuit competition as one of its competitive categories. The teen pageant, run by the Miss Universe organization, will no longer have Miss Teen USA contestants model in swimwear. Instead, they will compete in athletic wear for that portion of the 2016 upcoming show. The event will stream live on Saturday, July 30, 2016, at 10 p.m. ET from the Venetian Theater in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Miss Teen USA is recognized as one of America’s most highly profiled beauty pageants in the industry. “USA Today” reported that pageant organizers originally made swimsuit competitions as a resource to display how athletic the contestants looked. Eventually, it was seen as less athletic and more exploitative. Yet, the swimsuit segment of the competition became imperative to the overall show, as it was viewed as a traditional part of any pageant.
As of recent, the Miss Universe organization has worked to make pageants more modern and diverse, as opposed to more traditional competitions in the past. Miss Missouri, Erin O’ Flaherty, will compete as Miss America. She will be recognized as one of the first openly gay contestants. In addition, Army officer, Deshauna Barber, Miss District of Columbia, was crowned the 2016 Miss USA.
With Miss Teen USA omitting swimwear in the competition, contestants will now be rocking athletic wear. This is a brand-new category, specifically designed to showcase how athletic competitors actually are.
According to reigning Miss Teen USA Katherine Haik, she has been athletic her entire life. She believes the new direction for the teen pageant is a phenomenal way to celebrate active lives of many young women.
As of late, the Miss Universe organization has been re-branding its image, reported “USA Today.” The shift came from WME-IMG, the talent agency that purchased the organization from Donald Trump in September 2015. The organization was sold after the pageant was dropped by NBC and Univision. This occurred due to the Republican presidential candidate’s controversial remarks made regarding illegal immigrants.
Paula Shugart, the Miss Universe president explained, in a memo, that the new shift with the Miss Teen USA competition is focused on empowering women. She wants the “strength, confidence and beauty,” celebrated over anything else, reported “USA Today.” They hope the change in gears will help Miss Teen USA fans recognize how inspiring and strong these young women are.
Although Miss Teen USA is omitting the swimsuit competition, they are not the first. The Miss World Pageant ended its swimsuit competition in 2014.
For the first time in, 63 years, there was no longer a swimsuit category for The Miss World Pageant. The organizer for the show told “ABC News” in 2014, that the competition was not just a beauty competition but “beauty with a purpose.” They explained that they did not see the purpose of contestants being judged in swimsuits.
The swimsuit portion of the pageant has long been seen as archaic by women right’s activists who felt this portion of the show was unnecessary, especially for young contestants ages 15-19. The changes to the Miss Teen USA competition have received positive feedback. Many feel that the pageant is following athletic trends, as teens spend less time in bathing suits and more time in athletic wear. “Business Insider” reported that the elimination of the swimsuit competition proves that America is shifting and viewing wellness as a much more important priority.
However, Kamie Crawford, the 2010 Miss Teen USA, had an unfavorable opinion. She does not believe the swimsuit category should be nixed. She informed “Business Insider,” that she was upset because it was a “part of tradition.” She feels that removing it insinuates that something was wrong with it and she believes the swimsuit category was perfectly fine.
The Miss USA competition may follow suit. They are considering ditching the swimsuit portion as well.
The Miss Teen USA competition will feature 51 girls, one from all fifty states plus one from Washington DC.
By Angela Rightout
Edited by Jeanette Smith
Business Insider: Miss Teen USA eliminates swimwear athleisure
CNN Money: Swimsuits out of Miss Teen USA Pageant
ABC News: Miss World Pageants Puts Bikini Ban on Future Competitions.
USA Today: Miss Teen USA to Eliminate Swimsuit Competition
Photo Courtesy of Tim Kretshmann’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License