The Miss America makeover announced this past week is just a starting point if you ask our Faith Salie:
Miss America no longer identifies as a pageant. It now calls itself "a competition" and has covered up:!
Former Miss America Gretchen Carlson, now chair of the organization, declared that today's contestants will show the world "the inside of your soul." That sounds painful, but perhaps not as painful as using butt glue to keep from getting a bikini wedgie.
Still, it IS admirable that Miss America is making baby lady steps to bring itself into this century. But the 97-year-old institution isn't going far enough.
First, can we stop calling it "Miss America"? We all know there's no equivalent name that identifies unmarried men, so calling women "Miss" rather than "Ms." is about as modern as referring to the 1961 winner as "a 35-22-35 knockout!"
Second, let's revamp the talent competition so we have young women demonstrating mad skills that are relevant, like: Singing their own praises to convince corporate America to invest in them as potential CEO material, when only 5% of Fortune 500 companies are run by women.
Or, throwing their voices behind movements to educate girls globally, or to establish paid maternity leave in America (the only developed country on Earth that doesn't provide it).
The Miss America pageant – I mean, competition – does good things, like provide college scholarships to contestants at a time when American women owe almost two-thirds of all student loans, while earning less than their male peers.
And now it promises it won't judge women's looks any more, which makes it way more open-minded than the rest of us. But I'm not holding my breath to see contestants with facial asymmetry or questionable BMIs. Because let's remember what else happened last week: A journalist asked Serena Williams, one of the greatest athletes alive, if she was intimidated by another player's "supermodel good looks."
Serena Williams replied, "I honestly don't have any thoughts about that."
Now that's talent. That's beauty.
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Story produced by Young Kim.