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On September 9, 2018, the Miss America Organization (MAO) will officially restructure its Miss America competition in a move to eliminate gender bias and stereotyping. To begin with, the Miss America event will be referred to as a competition from now on, as opposed to being a pageant. This longstanding decades-old tradition of pageantry is being done away with because the MAO wants to promote reputable ideals of beauty. The MAO board came to the conclusion that pageantry of the past has been too superficial to be held up as a standard of ideal beauty for American society.

From “beauty pageant”, to “beauty competition” but what is the difference and what does it change?

One thing that is different is that there will no longer be a swimsuit competition aspect to the Miss America event. Although Miss America all started as a swimsuit competition in the first place, the MAO board will now ask contestants to wear what makes them feel confident in order to showcase contestants’ own personal style.

Gretchen Carlson, who is a former Miss America crown-holder, now heads the organization’s board of trustees. Carlson said she isn’t worried about broadcast ratings suffering because most viewers enjoy the talent competition more. They also decided to make changes to the evening wear portion of the competition and will no longer judge contestants according to their clothes. Carlson said, “It’s what comes out of their mouths that we care about. ”

What do you think about these changes? Good or bad?

I believe this is awesome! Why? Because they are promoting beauty as internal and I believe that message is very needed in our world today. Women and young girls today are constantly being brainwashed by advertisements everywhere that project unrealistic beauty standards. Females are bombarded with messaging that encourages them to buy everything under the sun just to look beautiful. I do believe our culture has lost true appreciation for inward beauty, and there is much pressure on both men and women to look a certain way. Truth is that even for those that achieve what’s called “beautiful” today, it’s still difficult to feel truly confident or good enough. It’s impossible to count how many people go from using basic beauty products to extreme cosmetic surgery as time goes by.

Realistically speaking, I think removing the swimsuit competition will have an impact on ratings since that was such an integral part of the competition. But I applause the MAO for making this change. I think this transformation can be used to highlight personality, character, and moral values that transcend body image. I think in time they should also introduce some type of a healthy competition where contestants get points for healthy lifestyle habits.

Another thing this change does is that it opens up the Miss America competition to many more women who are filled with greatness to share with the world. Historically there have been so many women who declined to participate due to the social baggage associated with the swimsuit competition. Now that won’t be an issue. Again, I am in total agreement with the changes and give my applause.

I want to close with a word to all women. You are beautifully and wonderfully created by God. You are filled with goodness, wisdom and love. You are more than enough, and for you, all things are possible. May you realize your true power and value. You are light and goodness to the world around you.

Richard Martinez

Transformation Expert

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