By Michaela Del Viscovo
The new ownership of the Miss Universe Organization which took it from Donald Trump’s hands and into WME-IMG’s hands, a talent agency, isn’t the only commendable change that has happened to the organization.
It’s official that the Miss Teen USA Pageant will do away with the swimsuit competition portion of the pageant, and replace it with an athletic-wear competition instead. The swimsuit competition’s initial purpose was to have contestants flaunt their strong, athletic bodies yet that did not seem to go over as planned. Having contestants parade down in itsy-bitsy-teeny-bikinis quickly turned it into a competition of which girl’s stomach was flatter, breasts were bigger, legs more toned, and arms looked more like twigs. Supposedly, this was not was anticipated. Supposedly.
Being that the age of Miss Teen USA for participants is 15-19 years old, the audience watching is consequently around the same age — a pretty impressionable age group to say the least.
By shifting to an athletic-wear competition, it “reads as less exploitative and more focused on the importance of physical fitness for its younger participants” (USA Today). We are currently in the midst of an advancement involving self-acceptance when it comes to body image and confidence for teens, so this change is an amazing reinforcement for this advancement. It is celebrating and acknowledging women’s bodies exactly how they should: for being powerful temples that lead to living empowered and inspiring lives.
From a retail/business perspective this change is also just as beneficial seeing that teens “spend .1 percent of their lives in bathing suits” but a whopping “50 percent in athleisure” (USA Today). Considering the rise of athleisure in fashion, the fight for a spot in sponsoring the event just got tougher.
For the most part, the public reaction is hopeful and seemingly supportive of this shift. “There’s definitely some work I think still to be done, that’s where we’ve been talking with the producers,” Julianne Hough said about the pageant’s swimsuit portion. “In the next few years we may grow from that, but let’s see where this year goes”, Hough recently told USA Today.