The Miss Universe organization has just made a major announcement regarding the Miss Teen USA pageant: Starting this year, they’re eliminating the swimsuit contest from the competition.
In previous years, contestants (who are aged 14 to 19, by the way) were required to wear bikinis on stage during one part of the contest. As would be expected, this has been long scrutinized as being exploitative of the young girls, though organizers of the teen pageant have tried to defend this portion as a way to “show off the athleticism of the competitors,” according to USA Today. Really?
The good news is the swimsuit show will be replaced with a much more forward-thinking and healthy lifestyle-related portion: athletic wear competition.
“This decision reflects an important cultural shift we’re all celebrating that empowers women who lead active, purposeful lives and encourage those in their communities to do the same,” wrote Miss Universe president, Paula Shugart, in a memo.
According to Shugart, Miss Teen USA’s shift is meant to “celebrate women’s strength, confidence, and beauty” in a more constructive way. “This new direction for Miss Teen USA is a great way to celebrate the active lives that so many young women lead and set a strong example for our peers,” says reigning Miss Teen USA Katherine Haik.
Well, that’s a win for women and a win for athleisure. We’re glad to see this new, more empowering direction that the Miss Universe organization is making, however long overdue it may be.