MISS AMERICA swimsuit/evening gown elimination
Here is my take on the swimsuit/evening gown competition being eliminated from the Miss America pageant. I have been on the fence about it, sitting with my thoughts and trying to formulate my opinion. I have come to an opinion.
<<< SWIMSUIT elimination >>>
As a conservative, Christian woman, you would think I'd be for eliminating the swimsuit competition, but I am not. Well, in part I'm not. Let me explain, and then offer my idea of resolution to this issue....
I feel the swimsuit competition exists to exhibit the healthy component of a person. To be judged on a woman's self-discipline of health and physical fitness. Which I feel the health component is important. It is equally as important as the emotional, spiritual, mental, intellectual component of a person. It is important for a person to be as balanced as possible in all areas of life, not just in one area, such as only the intellectual component which the reorganized MAO has moved to.
However, having said all this, I do believe over the years the swimsuit competition evolved into something more than a "health" component. It became sexualized with barely-there swimsuit bikinis, objectifying women as a sexual object. Is it not sexy to see a woman in a bikini? Of course it is. I enjoy seeing a physically fit woman because she inspires me, but do feel there are other ways fitness can be judged besides in a bikini.
A pageant is competition to be the best you can be. And, being physically healthy is a very important aspect to being the best we can be. Instead of bikinis, why not a one-piece swimsuit? Can't a judge determine if she is physically fit in a one-piece? Yes, they can.
With this being said, my recommendation for the swimsuit issue is as follows:
> maintain a "physical fitness" segment of competition
> wardrobe for the "physical fitness" segment would be of athletic/sport attire (play tennis? wear a tennis outfit) OR one-piece swimsuit
>eliminate judging based on size
<<< EVENING GOWN elimination >>>
The evening gown segment was not completely eliminated but changed. Changed to "outfit of choice". You may still choose to wear an evening gown if you so desire. I LOVE evening gown competition. There is nothing at all wrong with evening gown. Plus, what is the difference in judging an exclusive "evening gown" segment verses judging an "outfit of choice" segment? A person is still being judged wearing an "outfit". I'm not sure I understand this change.
Evening gown shows the elegance of being a woman. Why strip away elegance? We are women. We are beautiful. God made us beautiful. He didn't make man beautiful, but woman. Why is it so wrong to accentuate the beauty of a woman? Are we dumbing down the beauty of God's creation? When a woman dons a beautiful evening gown, it creates a sense of pride and ownership of being a woman. And with that gown, comes confidence, and the gracefulness, the gentility, the softness of woman ownership. And, really, if you want to go even further with this..... that evening gown separates woman from man. That evening gown says, "I am woman, hear me ROAR!"
And, isn't that what the MeToo movement is all about? ... women wanting their voice?... wanting to be recognized for who they are? But, take away the opportunity of competition to be judged in evening gown (which judging causes elevation in our personal growth to be the best us), and we lose a distinct separation of being "woman". Yes, the new criteria for the Miss America competition is interview, hearing a woman's intellect. But with interview, the words spoken can be just as if a man speaks them. A woman's intellect is the same as a man's intellect. So, what separates woman from man? Her appearance, for the most part. So, why remove something as distinctive as the evening gown competition if we women want to be seen as "woman" and be separate from man?
<<< JUDGING >>>
And, as for judging... we have to judge. Humanity is set up that way. Apply for a job... you're judged. Looking for a husband or wife... you're judging. What about deciding which networking group to join?... you're judging. Your circle of friends... you've judged. Church? Yes, you've judged the church you joined.
Dictionary.com gives us some definitions for judging:
1. to form a judgment or opinion of; decide upon critically:
2. to infer, think, or hold as an opinion; conclude about or assess:
3. to make a careful guess about; estimate:
So, in pageantry, being judged readies us for life. Albeit, the judging criteria in pageantry should NOT be based on a physical aesthetic of "beauty", such as: having the perfect body with breast implants, ripped muscles, booty lifts, face lifts, the perfect nose, the perfect smile, the right amount of space between the eyes, how proportionate is their body, how tall they are, how perfect the teeth are, etc. But rather, on how a contestant is "put together": overall presentation, performance, how well the makeup is applied-hair is coiffed-wardrobe fits, choice of wardrobe/style, how well they carry themselves, their stage presence, communication/grammar/articulation, etc. These are things that can be learned in order to better our lives and for being more successful.
<<< SOOOOO >>>
So, in closing, my recommended resolution would be:
>>> convert the swimsuit competition to athletic/sport attire or one-piece swimsuit
>>> eliminate size requirement
>>> retain the evening gown competition and eliminate the new change of outfit of choice
>>> judge contestants based on their presentation, presence, and performance
>>> score higher for interview portion
And, as I always say:
PAGEANTRY IS EDUCATION!