As Twitchy reported, organizers announced last week that the Miss America Pageant would no longer be a “pageant,” and that the infamous swimsuit part of the event would be scrapped. No longer would competitors be judged on their looks.

That move inspired Crystal Lee, first runner-up to Miss America in 2014, to pen an op-ed in The Los Angeles Times in which she argued that the swimsuit competition was empowering, not demeaning.

Lee writes:

Still, dropping the swimwear category is a loss to the contest. It delivered a powerful message: that beauty and brains are not mutually exclusive and that you can be a feminist and flaunt your body. Letting contestants don the bikini was inherently feminist because women made that choice for themselves. Future participants will be forced into a new form of sexism, one that emerges out of today’s popular feminist narrative. It may be driven by contemporary ideas, but it disguises the same, familiar barriers and judgments surrounding women’s decisions.

She concludes that contestants like her “were baring our midriffs because we wanted to.”

So, is this a case of “my body, my choice,” or is it something else?

By the way, the Times notes that Lee co-founded a tech startup, LifeSite, which sounds pretty empowering as well.


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