Apparently awoken to the fact that asking women ages 14-19 to submit their bikini bodies for public judgment is a rather odd thing to do in the year 2016, the Miss Universe organization has chosen to replace the practice with an “athletic wear” competition—which certainly does feels more aligned with the times, if in the most exhausting way possible.
From USA Today:
As Miss Universe president Paula Shugart shared in a memo, Miss Teen USA’s shift is meant to “celebrate women’s strength, confidence and beauty” in different, more constructive ways.
“This decision reflects an important cultural shift we’re all celebrating that empowers women who lead active, purposeful lives and encourage those in their communities to do the same,” she wrote. Our hope is that this decision will help all of Miss Teen USA’s fans recognize these young women for the strong, inspiring individuals they are.”
Reigning Miss Teen USA Katherine Haik explained that as an athlete, “I have spent a lot of time in athletic wear,” adding that “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.”
I’m not sure exactly what kind of example is set by marching around a stage in a pair of Lululemon leggings, but it’s definitely a step up.
Miss Teen Arizona, age 17, walks across the stage in a bikini in the 2015 Miss Teen USA competition. Image via screenshot/YouTube.