No Crown Required
The Miss America pageant is going through growing pains…again. Although the organization removed several people from the email scandal, there seems to be a new wave of mean girls who have taken over. Not only that, but the changes they made have caused a rift within the ranks.
Miss America 2019 broadcasted without the swimsuit portion. Evening gown was called "red carpet," and they did away with the famous seemingly mile-long runway.
Ratings plummeted, and people within the pageant are looking for answers as to how to fix it and move forward as a sisterhood. Many people on the outside are wondering if the Miss America Pageant, even with its focus on providing scholarships is now completely irrelevant.
What has manifested on the “outer” is a reflection of the “inner.” This is true both in our lives and with the pageant. In this case, it’s a reflection of the evolution of women in America and the world.
Women are done being held to an unrealistic standard of beauty that is perpetuated by a male-dominated society. It creates division amongst us–comparison and competition that men do not face. It keeps us from the equality that should be the norm and facilitates bullying among women.
While men run around in their power suits, women face a power struggle with each other. Pageants put that front and center, which is why many people feel they have become irrelevant. Most women find pageants offensive. My seventeen-year-old daughter is one of them.
As a former Miss Ohio, I went back to judge that state’s pageant this year in honor of my thirtieth anniversary of being crowned to compete in Atlantic City. They still had the swimsuit competition in place, and I wasn’t prepared for how I would react.
After interviewing these highly intelligent, personable, and talented women, I was blown away by their inner and outer beauty. So when it came time to judge them in bikinis, I felt awkward. I am not a prude and can still rock a bikini myself because of my fitness-centered lifestyle. But my only thought at that moment was ugh.
It’s like going to a typical job interview and having the interviewer say, “Now we need to see you in your underwear.” That is how it felt to me. Having a daughter the same age as some of the contestants was a factor too. I couldn’t imagine her up on that stage, and neither could she. After watching one night of the preliminaries, she was traumatized, to say the least. She didn’t attend the final night, and I didn’t make her.
“Mom! Did you really do that?”
My daughter will never enter a pageant, and while training to compete changed my life for good, I get it. For me, it was a journey that challenged me to step up my game in all areas of my life. It gave me the tools to help my daughter do the same.
I’m not anti-swimsuit or anti-pageant. I’m not against tiaras and crowns. It’s just that it brings front and center how women are judged in this world. It’s an uneven playing field that isn’t acceptable anymore. Change is inevitable. Beauty standards have changed over the decades that I have been on this earth, and they will continue to evolve for sure.
The Mission of the Miss America Organization: Preparing great women for the world and the world for great women.
"I am sure they will find a way to move forward. After all, they are dealing with women—intelligent, heart-centered women of purpose who see it as a platform or vehicle to effect change and heal what is wounded in the world.
We are the self-realized healers, teachers, protectors, guardians, and fighters. We are the game changers, raising new world leaders. We are the sisterhood." - No Crown Required
So many moms and dads have reached out to me regarding their feelings about how pageants perpetuate an unrealistic beauty standard that is not healthy for our daughters and how it negatively affects their daily lives. And so, we need to pay attention to how our daughters react to this issue every single day and keep having the conversations.
I hear you loud and clear. You want your daughter to live a life of confidence, courage, and compassion. You want her to own all of her gifts and share them with the world. When we see and love them for who they are, they will too.
No swimsuit. No evening gown. No runway.
Do you think pageants are irrelevant? Do you talk to your daughter about the issues she faces each day in a world obsessed with the latest “standard” of beauty? What about mean girls? Please do chime in.
Together we can raise confident, courageous and compassionate daughters.