Bye, bye bikinis!
Miss Teen USA has officially removed the bathing suit competition from its pageant. According to USA Today, the Miss Universe organization announced that the 51 women in the pageant will be judged in a brand-new athletic wear competition, rather than swimsuits.
The organization hopes their decision will show their support for feminism and equality, and while the bathing suit competition was intended to prove athleticism, they hope athleisure wear will feel less exploitative and more focused on the importance of physical fitness for its younger participants.
Reigning Miss Teen USA, Katherine Haik, agrees with their pageant's decision. She said in a statement, "I have been an athlete my entire life. As a member of a softball team and a competitive dance team, I spend a lot of time in athletic wear."
She continued, "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."
Miss Universe president, Paula Shugart, explained that the shift is hopeful in celebrating women's "strength, confidence and beauty."
"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."