Miss America is switching things up. The organization is eliminating the swimsuit competition portion of the pageant in the wake of the #MeToo movement, ending a 97-year tradition that had been widely criticized as misogynistic.
“We are no longer a pageant. We are a competition,” Gretchen Carlson, the newly appointed chair of the Miss America Organization’s Board of Trustees, announced during an appearance on Good Morning America on Tuesday, June 5. “We will no longer judge our candidates on their outward physical appearance. That’s huge! And that means that we will no longer have a swimsuit competition.”
Carlson added that they’ll also be reworking the evening gown portion of the competition.
“We are no longer judging women when they come out in their chosen attire,” she explained. “It’s going to be what comes out of their mouth that we’re interested in when they talk about their social impact initiatives.”
Carlson was crowned Miss America in 1989 and has become a champion of the #MeToo movement.
“Thousands of women have been inspired to know that they can stand up and speak up and their voices will be heard," she concluded on If I’ve been a beacon of hope to any woman in that process, it has been worth it.”
Miss America 2019 airs live on ABC on Sunday, September 9, at 9 p.m. ET.