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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

WOMEN OF WESTERN: Miss Teen USA

Say goodbye to bikini-clad contestants at the Miss Teen USA competition. The organization has announced that its long standing swimwear competition is being replaced by an athletic wear segment. The decision comes two years after Miss World nixed its swimsuit competition.

USA Today was the first to report the announcement.

“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,” current Miss Teen USA Katherine Haik said.

Does this mean that the competition is shifting its importance from beauty to brains?

For many, this is a decision that should have been reached long ago:

 


However, not everyone is praising the organization for their decision. A video from the New York Post made the point that while retracting the swimsuit portion of the competition is a positive change, judging teens on their appearance in athletic wear and evening gowns still places importance on looks, not intelligence.  

Some are also critiquing the decision, saying it isn’t enough because the swimsuit competition is still part of the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants. Michael Antinoro is the head of original content at IGM, the company that bought the Miss Universe Organization from Donald Trump. He thinks the swimsuit competition is a great tradition that needs to be upheld.

“For Miss Universe and Miss USA, that’s a very important part of the competition and will continue to be an important part of the competition,” Antinoro said.

Senior Jordan Kunigk said he sees the bikini competition as exploitive of women’s bodies, yet also that the change could be negative.

“But also I could see it being bad,” Kunigk said. “It’s like hiding more of the female body, which is something we’ve done over the past thousands of years, and I guess we’re doing it again for modesty purposes.”

While changing the bikini portion of the competition to athletic wear might be a step in the right direction, is it enough? Let The Western Front know what you think in the comments below.

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