The Miss America Organization is dropping the swimsuit aspect of its annual competition, saying it will no longer judge contestants on their appearance. The competition began nearly 100 years ago in Atlantic City, as a bathing beauty contest designed to keep tourists coming to the seaside resort in the weekend after Labour Day.
There are many who think the whole idea of a beauty pageant is outdated and irrelevant. That said, Miss America will go forward, but with a different theme. “We are no longer a pageant. We’re a competition,” says Gretchen Carlson, a former Miss America who heads the organization’s board of trustees. When asked if she’s worried TV ratings might suffer because of the elimination of swimsuits, she said she is not, adding “the swimsuit portion is not the highest-rated section of the broadcast and viewers seem to be more interested in the talent competition.” She also said the group will make changes to the evening wear portion, adding it will not judge women on their chosen attire.
The changes will start with this year’s broadcast on September 9th.