Recently, the Miss America Organization announced that it was eliminating both the swimsuit competition and the evening gown competition. Miss America has always been renowned for its scholarship program. The modern Miss America pageant has evolved from just a swimsuit competition to both a talent and a beauty contest.
Former winners have taken their scholarships and have gone on to have successful careers in business, politics and media. Personally, I think having a beautiful, shapely, and well-toned body is nothing to be ashamed of, nor should be viewed as a victimization of women. With that being said, I can still understand women , who go on to have successful careers, not wanting a history of swimsuit photos popping up in every HR search. However, when I heard that the evening gown competition was eliminated, I was shocked. A beauty pageant without evening gowns... Are you kidding me? What are they doing and what are they really trying to say? Why should they hold an all-women pageant and then try to hide what makes women different from men to begin with? If this is the right thing to do, then why are they still having the young women compete for a tiara? Why don’t they just give the winner a briefcase, or a suit and a tie instead of a tiara? Would a woman in a suit really still want to wear a tiara?
All of these open-ended questions circulating in my brain make me believe that Miss America is not moving forward with this new rule change. Rather, it is merely bowing to a well-meaning group of women who are confusing femininity with feminism. This rule change is telling women that their feminine traits are nothing worth celebrating or appreciating. Must we have to dress like men and adopt masculine traits to be considered equals? What happened to embracing our individuality? Individuality is linked to our identity as women. Being born a woman means being born with different traits than men. These differences don’t mean that we are less intelligent than men. Why must we view celebrating our unique physical differences as demeaning or catering to male demands? The Miss America pageant has always been dominated by a female viewership.
That makes me wonder... W ho are we making these changes for?
Women should celebrate who they were born to be. Don’t get me wrong, I am not talking about sexuality here. I respect each person’s preference to his or her partner. What I am talking about is the issue created by women not embracing who they are. We are enough. We shouldn’t believe that we have to become someone who we are not. I believe a woman can run a multimillion-dollar business or become the president of the United States in either high heels and lipstick or a suit and a tie—whatever she chooses. I respect it as long as it’s her own choice and is not influenced by the noise of society.
Wearing either a suit or a dress doesn’t change who we are. We shouldn’t let society limit what we wear or delegate to us what we need to wear to be taken seriously. How many times have we tried to be someone else and failed? Our best selves embrace who we are. I believe women should be able to wear elegant dresses with confidence and embrace who they are with knowledge of their self-worth and strength.