UNCASVILLE, Conn. – The Miss America organization that has managed to save a unique yet complicated position in the American culture will mark its 100th year on Thursday, 16 Dec.
Back in 1921, the glitzy pageant that began from the Atlantic City after the women got the right to vote has a complicated presence in the diverse American culture that has experienced several waves of feminism.
However, the contest’s viewership has been drastically affected since the heyday in the 1960s. On Thursday, the 2020 Miss America will crown her successor. It will be the first-ever Miss America contest that won’t be televised, however, it will be broadcast on Peacock.
Thanks to the faithful organizers and enthusiasts of the event, who struggled to maintain the ritual. Although they might not have coined a plan for world harmony, many say that the organization has a big hand in providing scholarships to young women. Via that, it has opened opportunity doors for females for their personal and professional growth.
“I think that people have the wrong idea about what Miss America is all about because it’s not just about getting dressed up and being prim and proper and being perfect on stage,” said the 2005 Miss America, Ericka Dunlap who found a PR agency after graduating debt-free from college and finally became a TV star.
The fans of the pageant often cheer their state’s participants like anyone would for someone who belongs to their state. However, some voiced skepticism on the organization’s attempt to adapt to modern changes.
“It’s in kind of a bind because as it tries to progress, it not only loses its original identity but becomes less entertaining to the people who like to watch it,” said the writer of “Looking for Miss America: A Pageant’s 100–Year Quest to Define Womanhood” Margot Mifflin.
“Fans are split over the trajectory of the competition — no longer a ‘pageant’. Some want it to be about ‘beauty and fitness’ while others embrace the move toward focusing on leadership, talent and communication skills”, she said.
Yet, the competition is flooded with calls for increasing diversity.
The contest’s “rule number seven” from the 1930s to 1950s states that “contestants had to be of good health and of the white race.”