Miss Teen USA is getting rid of its swimsuit competition, which is great news for pretty much everybody, except, like, pedophiles.
Rather than having the teenagers parade around in swimsuits, the pageant will feature the young women in athletic wear. Get your Lulus out, ladies.
The Miss Teen USA organizers have long said the swimsuit competition was there to show the competitors' athleticism. I don't know about you, but it's been, um, a long while since I worked out in a bikini.
That's why switching it out for an athletic wear competition makes a lot of sense -- same idea, less sexualization of underage women.
Miss Teen USA competitors range in age from 15 to 19, which is a pretty prime time to develop body-image issues and eating disorders. Having a swimsuit competition encourages the wannabe champions to be skinny in order to win.
Furthermore, the viewers get encouraged to follow the contestants' examples of staying small enough to parade around in bikinis. This could lead to some unhealthy decisions for many, many women.
And, of course, as teenage women, the competitors' bodies are already in a state of flux. Trying to force swimsuit-level ideals onto a changing body is dangerous and unhealthy.
Encouraging exercise through an athletic wear competition, however, is not a bad idea. An athletic wear category implicitly endorses healthy living through exercise, which, generally, everybody says is a good thing to endorse, provided it's focused on health, not weight loss.
Katherine Haik, the current Miss Teen USA, likes the idea. She told USA TODAY,
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.
Not to mention, I think there are more fun ways to style athletic wear than swimsuits. Swimsuits are boring. Athletic wear presents a styling challenge.
Citations: New York magazine