Young ladies should be judged upon their character and not their appearance

Published 6:53 pm Wednesday, June 6, 2018

We applaud the planned changes of the Miss America Organization, who on Tuesday announced it would no longer judge contestants on their physical appearance, doing away with the swimsuit and evening gown competition.

It’s about time.

Our Miss Mississippi pageant begins in just a few weeks, and it is entirely understandable that the format of this year’s pageant will not change.

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David Blackledge, chairman of the board of the Miss Mississippi Pageant Corp., explained Miss Mississippi pageant contestants won on the local level based on current guidelines. To change them this late in the competition at the state level would be unfair to every contestant.

However, it is expected that in future years, the Miss Mississippi pageant will follow the lead of the Miss America pageant. Blackledge said the Miss Mississippi Corp. would support the Miss America Organization.

Instead of physical appearance, Miss America contestants will be judged by their accomplishments and on how they plan to advance their “social impact initiatives,” also know as their platforms. Each contestant supports some kind of cause for which they work to raise awareness.

The changes are aimed at being more inclusive and empowering for all women, former Miss America and new head of the MAO board of trustees Gretchen Carlson told reporters, hoping a revamped competition would appeal to more young women.

In today’s world, in which women across the country have championed the #MeToo movement, the move only makes good sense. Judging quality young women on how we think they look in a swimsuit sends the wrong message about what should be society’s priorities.

Simply by removing the swimsuit competition, more young women who are working to make positive changes in the world will feel comfortable participating and competing for Miss America’s lucrative scholarship offerings.

It’s time women are judged more for their character and accomplishments than their appearance.