America’s top-notch beauty pageant for young women breaks the long sustained bikini tradition, “Miss Teen USA swimsuit” competition. The decision was announced on June 30, Wednesday, by the Miss Universe Organization which regulates the beauty contest.

Beauty pageants have taken huge leaps in the last few years, breaking the cover of traditionalism and introducing a diverse and more modernized version of girl power. The discarding of Miss Teen USA swimsuit competitions slides a yet new cartridge in the slot of modernity. As a consequence of this decision, the 51 girls from the 50 states will be judged by the newly-introduced athletic wear competition.

The reasons for taking down Miss Teen USA swimsuit competition

The official word from the Miss Universe Organization clearly points toward less exploitative outfits. Miss Universe president PaulaShugartsays that the new shift is supposed to "celebrate women’s strength, confidence and beauty" through less exposure and more activity. It is also worth pointing out that participants of Teen USA are very young and invites girls as young as sixteen which makes them subject to cyberbullying and online harassment.

While the original idea of swimwear was to focus on physical fitness of the participants, bikinis invite overly aggressive audience response with negative feedback, making the young girls vulnerable as their photos are shared across thousands of adult websites.

Former winnerCassidy Wolf had previously revealed her fears as she received threats from an anonymous hacker. In another case, the former Miss Oregon Kari Anne Peniche fuelled nationwide controversy when she posed nude for Playboy Magazine in the November 2004 issue.

Big step

Dumping the bikinis is not the only decision that made the headlines.

Previously, other American beauty contests had seen surprising entries that sparked hot discussions across social media. For instance, the crown of Miss USA 2016 was awarded to the 26-year old Army officer from Distt. Columbia. Likewise, the next Miss America could possibly be a gay contestant, which would be a first.

However, the fact that Erin O’Flaherty already won Miss Missouri and will be participating in the nationwide beauty as an openly gay contestant is a first in the USA’s history.

A consistent move

The elimination of theswimsuit competitionis compatible with the overall rebranding of the Miss Universe Organization under the label of WME-IMG. Previously the organization was owned by presidential candidate Donald Trump until it was acquired by the talent agency back in September 2015. The sale was essentially a forced decision as NBC and Univision refused to broadcast Miss USA after the Republican leader made condemnable comments regarding illegal immigrants.

Response from the pageant community

Katherine Haik, who is the youngest contestants for Miss Teen USA 2016 said that this change serves as an example, a new direction for the beauty pageant to commemorate active lives many young women lead.Valerie Hayes, Pageant coach at the organization pointed out that removing swimwear will invite more parents to allow their daughters to participate and represent their state.

The 2016 Miss Teen USA pageant is due to be held in Las Vegason July 30. With swimsuits off the hook, USA's favorite beauty pageant is said to be headed toward a healthier environment which will greatly improve the overall well-being of the young women.

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