Is The Miss America Pageant Outdated?


Over the weekend, I watched the Miss America pageant for the first time since I was a child. The thing that crossed my mind right away was, ďThis show still exists?Ē

As the show began, I noticed how it was more like an advertisement for Las Vegas than for anything else. The girls were introduced in various touristic areas of the city, blurting out quick (and easy to miss if you were not paying attention) advertisements for their location. But all that aside, as the show continued I noticed even more irritating things.

The host explained the breakdown for how the women were judged. As he ticked off the numbers, I listened without alarm until he said the on-stage question was only worth five percent. This came after the swimsuit acted as 15 percent and evening wear as 20. Really? After all these years and the advances women have made in society, the on-stage question is still worth such a little amount?

The questions they answer could arguably be a great conversation, not just a rushed, one sentence opinion. Why canít they beef up this segment? †I guess the idea is to see how the gals think on their toes about current events, but seeing as the winners are granted educational scholarship money,† I would want to witness more of their opinions on these matters. Miss California actually got a pretty tough question. It wasn’t necessarily about a current event in the news, and it wasn’t rocket science either, but it was something that actually made me stop and go, ďHmmm.Ē

The judge asked Miss CA what she thought about television networks like MTV glorifying teen pregnancy with reality TV shows about teen moms. Now that’s a tricky question, considering the stage this woman is standing on. Miss CA gave a decent answer that sounded, well, downright awful. She explained that she supported the entertainment industry and the fact that people like reality TV, and that itís up to the viewers to take responsibility and realize where to draw the line of glorification. She said this in not such an eloquent way (maybe thatís why she landed in last place in the finals) but when all is said and done, she answered correctly in my opinion. If she hadn’t agreed with the entertainment industry, neither she, nor the judge who asked this, should be participating in the Miss America Pageant for sake of sheer hypocrisy.

I was happy to see that the personal interview portion held a little more clout in the competition at 25 percent. But what is frustrating is how they donít even televise any of it. This is the section where the women talk about important issues, itís a big part of their score, and we donít even get to see it!

Right away there was a large amount of women who were eliminated. To validate their efforts and compliment them, one of the hosts began talking about how these women were not done here. No, no. They were going to go on to become doctors and lawyers and politicians. Now Iím not saying thatís not true, but why then is the intelligence factor down played so much? What is the point of talking about how you have these ultra clever women up on stage when apparently, nobody cares unless they are strutting around in a swimsuit?

I’ve heard comments from viewers bored with the show, as well as those who still find it excellent television. “Since when did it become passe’ to be well-rounded?” is a comment I found in an article thread regarding the show. If you really want to throw in the physical aspect, I don’t really care. I mean it is entertainment television we are talking about after all. But in order to actually be well rounded, they’d have to show the personal interviews, and perhaps a few more minutes of conversation regarding the on-stage question. Additionally, women cannot choose how they come out of the womb.

To grant women money on the fact that they are more physically attractive than other women just seems old fashioned and sends a negative message to young girls who are already surrounded by women opting for plastic surgery at record low ages. In fact, 27 percent of botox patients are between 12 and 29, according to statistics recorded over a year ago. Plus, “attractive” people already get jobs easier and make more money than those with below average looks, according to studies. Why don’t we start glorifying these women in a slightly different light?

The talent show was interesting, but again, I was not impressed. I think times have changed with competition shows. We are used to watching an entire season of someone fight for a hard earned title. By the time a modern show like that comes to a close, you know with conviction who you want to win because you’ve been watching them every step of the way in their journey. But after watching this one-time, two hour show, I honestly could not care less who won. I donít know them at all (especially since we donít get to see their personal interview) and in comparison with shows like American Idol or The X Factor, who have set the bar high for performers, the womenís talent seemed less than admirable.

I know these women have done a lot to get as far as they have, but as a viewer I feel no connection to the contestants at all. Overall I have to conclude that the Miss America pageant is outdated and embarrassing to watch as a woman.


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Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle5 years ago

The question begs the answer: DUH! All beauty pageants are out-dated. Modeling, sexy ads, Playboy bunnies, the Barbie doll, etc., are ALL OUTDATED. Why aren't more mothers encouraging their daughters' brains? It makes me physically sick to watch young actors and actresses, pandering for their "careers." Also the young athletes who spend their entire childhoods, practicing for 8 hours a day.

Fran F.


Eternal Gardener
Eternal G6 years ago

It's the epitome of dumbing down women (by men)! Absolutely ridiculous, who with a sense of self wants to get judged like a piece of meat by revolting men?

Debbie Crowe
Debbie Crowe6 years ago

I did not know the Miss America Pageant was still around. I watched it one time when I was a kid and thought it was stupid back then.

Dorothy Dore
Dorothy Dore6 years ago

I'm sorry but most beauty pageants are quite fake to me,let's get real here.

Chloe Moll
Past Member 6 years ago

Stupid is what they are..

ryan b.
Ryan B6 years ago

If women want equality they need to quit allowing themselves to be commercialized with these pageants. And the "toddlers and tiaras," come on people. Live your own life and quit trying to live through your kids.

Diane L.
Diane L6 years ago

Lika, I agree with you except about the "rape" part. Rape isn't about whether the victim is pretty or not, it's about power and humiliation most of the time. Just wanted to "insert" that part, but yes, Miss America, Miss U.S.A. as they are now judged, are way outdated. They shouldn't even have pageants period for kids, but as long as there are parents who put so much emphasis on "their kid is best", they won't go away anytime soon, I guess. All for competition, but when it results in little kids feeling like they aren't "good ENOUGH", that's just wrong.

Lika S.
Lika P6 years ago


Being a Sports Illustrated swim suit model look alike is still more important than being a real woman.

Until this changes, rape will still be an issue for our society.

Lika S.
Lika P6 years ago

Okay, here is a Miss America pageant where we are trying to get young women to have a platform that they run, and are expected to perform during the course of the year... I am not sure if it's in their state only, or if it's nationally, but, here is what I'm wondering... We have a cause here about giving support to children with incarcerated parents, because we want a Miss America that is going to bring about good in this country of ours. Yet the swim suit and evening gown combined are worth 35 points...

So, does this mean that she is expected to do her cause running around in a swim suit of some sort? Gee... okay, so some kid's dad is incarcerated because he is a rapist... and she shows up wanting to help the kid. The kid sees her and says, "hey, you kind of look like the lady my dad hurt and went to prison for"?

What so, if she were a size 10 instead of a 7, would she still be worth of pushing her cause? Or, is skin deep beauty still that important to the competition?

For those reasons, I will NEVER watch Miss America or any other beauty pageant, nor will I support any of them by buying products that are advertised there. It goes to show that as far as we've come, socially, we're still objects of our looks, and aren't worthy of being smart and attractive. If we don't fit the "ideal sexual model", it doesn't matter how wholesome or smart or good platform we are selling... Being a Sports Illustrated swim suit model look alike is still more important than be