It comes after organisers kept hearing from young women wanting to be a part of the competition but didn't want to be "out there in high heels and a swimsuit".
The Miss America Twitter account celebrated the announcement with a Tweet tagged with the hashtag #byebikini, and featuring a clip of a white bikini bursting into dust. "I immediately get arrested, detained, and I place a phone call to you, and I say, 'Stephanie, remember yesterday when we didn't rob a 7-Eleven, which is true".
She further added that the Miss America will now be a "competition" and not a "pageant" that will judge on a woman's outward appearance. When those latter appointments were announced last month, the organization heralded the move as a marker of "progressiveness, inclusiveness and empowerment".
The 2019 Miss America Competition is scheduled for September 9.
Former Miss America Gretchen Carlson, who is taking on the role of chair of the Board of Trustees, told ABC's Good Morning America that the organization wants to give women a chance to celebrate who they are, not just what they look like. All three women were former contestant winners. She was later joined by its first-ever all-female leadership team.
The evening gown section is also being axed, with contestants asked to wear something that makes them feel good and expresses their personal style instead. In 1948, Waring says, it was all about appearance - in bathing suit and evening gown - and the "talent" competition, which could be singing or dancing or, in Waring's case, playing the vibes.
"The people acting like someone murdered their dog because Miss America is getting rid of the swimsuit portion are exactly why it needs to be gotten rid of". Physical fitness remains an important component of the Miss Virginia program, which awards $350,000 annually in cash and in-kind awards, Gravely said, though being judged in a swimsuit "should not be a requirement to exhibit that".
"Talent, which has always been a distinguishing element of Miss America, will remain a highlight of the competition", the organization said in a statement.
As one might imagine, nixing the swimsuit portion of the competition has caused quite a stir on social media, with opinions falling on all ends of the spectrum.
This week, hopefuls to be crowned Miss Illinois for 2018 are competing at the Marion Cultural Civic Center in Marion, Ill. Like Swanson, she said she's not bothered by the swimsuit competition - although "it is a little bit of a relief" to know she won't face that experience if she reaches the Miss America stage. Maybe other women felt that gut-level unfairness too - even women who took part in the competition themselves when they were younger. "We are a competition", she said.
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