Miss Teen USA Replaces Swim with Athletic Wear
The Miss Teen USA pageant is making waves this summer with the elimination of the traditional swim category from the competition. Instead, contestants will compete in a new category – athletic wear. This change is going into effect immediately, beginning with the 2016 competition, on July 30th.
As with other beauty pageants, Miss Teen USA often receives harsh criticism regarding the swimwear competition. The swim category was originally intended to showcase the contestants’ athleticism. However, critics argue that the swim category is sexist, outdated, and not good for a young girls’ self-esteem. This year, The Miss Universe team is not only listening to their critics, but they are responding by incorporating a new category.
In a statement to USA Today, Miss Universe president, Paula Shugart, stated, “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.”
The decision to feature athletic wear rather than swim was motivated by the Miss USA’s desire to create a more positive image for the contest and to feature “a healthy lifestyle,” for younger audiences and participants, most of which consist of young girls. Additionally, they want viewers to be able to recognize that the pageants are about more than just beauty.
Overall, the response to this transition has been positive. While some believe that the change is an unnecessary break in tradition, many feel that Miss Teen USA’s move is both refreshing and overdue. As Miss Teen USA is one of America’s most prominent beauty pageants, some hope that other competitions will follow suit. However, it is not likely to occur anytime soon, as the swim category is still considered to be an integral part of the adult competitions, including Miss USA and Miss Universe.
Image credit: Miss Teen USA