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The event that still takes place in late summer is an extended advertisement not for taffy shops on the boardwalk, or even for particular Beautiful Bathing Girls, but indeed for the opposite: for the Beautiful Bathing Girl, as a general idea. For feminine beauty itself—as a standard. As a structure. As a set of rigidly enforced rules. The Miss America pageant is native advertising for the beauty myth.
What might a pageant, shed of the myth, actually look like? When Gretchen Carlson announces that Miss America 2. Will Miss America become a speech contest? Will it become a talent show? An essay competition? A spelling bee? A platform for young women to share their visions for a better world— ted , but with better clothes? Probably not. American culture, after all, has gotten extremely adept at the performance of progress. It has gotten very good, in this case, at talking about—talking up—inclusivity and body positivity and empowerment. It has gotten very good at ignoring the invisible hands that guide our aesthetic marketplaces as well as the other kinds.
But words are easy; change is hard. Miss America may be best known as a single event; in reality, of course, it is also a deeply connected network of different events—city competitions, state competitions—that lead up to the most in famous one. It is a cultural infrastructure unto itself. And it has been built up within a world in which beauty standards for women—standards that are deeply connected to race and class and the persistent inequalities that lurk among our easy pageantries—are so omnipresent as to be utterly unremarkable.
Punishingly narrow assumptions about feminine beauty: They are part of the American scenery. They varnish the stage. They make it dangerously slick. But the updated event will also be necessarily limited in its vision, because there are two worlds at play in the promises of Miss America 2. A world in which, for so many women, beauty is, rather than empowering and inclusive and self-expressive , precisely the opposite.
A world that, like beauty pageants themselves, has a way of clinging to outdated traditions simply because they are traditional. If only it really were that easy. Fifty years later, it appears that MeToo has done what a protest could not: eradicate one of the most derided aspects of the competition, the swimsuit.
Coming soon: New website. New show. New experience. The changes will take effect at the national finals, again in Atlantic City, in September. State and local competitions will follow suit after that, but they are likely to continue including swimsuits during the current season.
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Seven of the nine board members are women. Carlson said. But it was 10 percent of my points. This was something that I was thinking about 30 years ago. Miss America has long touted itself as much more than a beauty pageant. But swimsuits have for at least as long defined the pageant — and been at the heart of the debate over its place in American culture.
The Miss America competition began in Atlantic City in — one year after women gained the right to vote in the United States — as a way to extend the summer tourist season beyond Labor Day.
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At the time, it was not only rare to see a woman in a swimsuit in public, it was barred — and so the event, with eight contestants, required the temporary suspension of a ban on revealing beachwear. It was all beauty pageant until , when a talent portion was added. Steinem added. In , the pageant winner Yolande Betbeze was among the first to break the mold, causing a ruckus when she refused to pose in a swimsuit during her reign. In , Catherine Ann Lemkau, a runner-up, announced that she would like to see the swimsuit competition eliminated.
And in , Miss America encouraged its viewers to call a number to say whether swimsuits should be scrapped: two out of three said no. You must look at her physical beauty as well as her physical fitness. For the first time in nearly a century, Miss America contestants will not strut onstage in swimsuits this year, the organizers announced on Tuesday, as the pageant tries to redefine its role in an era of female empowerment and gender equality.
Miss America and swimsuits have been synonymous since its first contest in on the Atlantic City boardwalk. Now under mostly female leadership, the Miss America Organization said Tuesday that it was scrapping the swimsuit competition, starting at the national contest in September, in a sweeping change that will also reshape local and state contests. The organization, confronting its own harassment scandal and searching for its place in the MeToo era, had worked on the new format for several months.
The nine members of the board of directors — seven are now women — unanimously approved the change in March. It was kept a secret until two days ago, when state directors and former Miss Americas were informed. The changes will be immediate for Miss America, but will take longer to arrive at local and state events, Ms. Carlson confirmed. Since state contests are currently underway, they will not adopt the new format until after the national competition in September. The Miss America Organization has undergone a rapid change in the past six months.
Those changes came after emails surfaced in December showing that Sam Haskell, the former chief executive, had made disrespectful and misogynistic comments about former pageant winners. Miss America is also confronting dwindling viewership as people turn away from live televised events.
Their recommendations included focusing on the career achievements of past winners, and suggested that the swimsuit competition could distract from that message.
Miss America started as a beachside beauty pageant in in an effort by Atlantic City to extend the summer vacation season. At the first competition, the top finisher was crowned Miss America and a runner-up received the swimsuit trophy. Over the decades, the Miss America Organization struggled to reconcile its stated mission — empowering women and handing out millions of dollars in scholarships — with requiring contestants to wear revealing attire. Until recently, though, they continued to defend it, asserting that the competition is about poise in uncomfortable situations and fitness, not thinness.
Yet some former contestants have spoken out against the swimsuit competition, saying it led to serious physical and mental problems. The directors of the Miss America state contests, who were told of the changes two days ago, offered a range of reactions to the announcement, with some welcoming it and others expressing dismay. On Twitter, the Miss Georgia pageant reassured fans that its contest next week will still include swimsuits.
Not everyone in the pageant world, however, agreed that the swimsuit portion was entirely about judging fitness. She said the new leaders are trying to keep Miss America relevant. And, she noted, the news would no doubt bring contestants a measure of relief. Knox wrote in an email. Miss America is one of two major pageants in the United States. The other, Miss USA, was founded in the early s by a swimsuit company after Miss America would not allow the company to use pictures of its contestants for advertising.
Trump owned from to Officials at the Miss Universe Organization did not respond to multiple messages seeking comment on Tuesday about whether they would also end the swimsuit competition. Miss USA is a for-profit show-business enterprise focused on beauty and whose contestants typically reveal more skin and do not have to perform a talent.
Miss America is a nonprofit, volunteer-run organization with affiliates in 50 states and in the District of Columbia. The announcement by the Miss America Organization was more than two decades in the making. In the early s, the organization acknowledged the controversy over the swimsuit portion and asked viewers to vote on whether to keep it. The Miss America winner in , Leanza Cornett, said at the time that the swimsuits should be scrapped. But another unscientific poll by the organization in found that two-thirds of respondents wanted it to stay.
The Association of National Advertisers has led an effort called SeeHer that has been assigning scores to ads and some shows based on whether women are depicted respectfully and as good role models for other women and young girls. Last year, 5. And, of course, in the wake of MeToo, there were no swimsuits. The group included a neuroscience graduate from Harvard and a software developer for Microsoft whose platform was women in STEM. Candidates spoke about surviving cancer, growing up with incarcerated parents and campus sexual assault. But what may not have been visible to those watching were the growing pains of Miss America 2.
Behind the scenes, state and local volunteers plotted a coup against Ms. Much of the turmoil hinges on the elimination of swimsuits, a lack of transparency in decision making, and the pressure to find relevance for a nearly year-old institution in a very particular cultural moment. As Ms. But what can it be for the 21st century? Miss America has long touted itself as more than a beauty pageant, claiming — somewhat dubiously — to be the largest provider of scholarship money to young women in the country. The rulebook still required women to declare that they had never been married and were not pregnant and did not intend to become pregnant during their year of service.
It has suffered internal dissent — in , the pageant winner Yolande Betbeze refused to pose in a swimsuit during her reign — and external pressures. Later, there was that year the producers attempted to rebrand the competition as a reality show; the era that the show moved to Las Vegas and cable ; and the scandal of , when Vanessa Williams, the first black Miss America, was stripped of her crown after it was revealed that she had appeared in Penthouse the Miss America organization later apologized.
More recently, viewership has dipped, as has the number of women enrolled as candidates. Claims of scholarship donations have been questioned and debunked. This year program staff handed out fliers to random passers-by on the boardwalk, offering free tickets to fill up empty seats. Production staff said they pass these out every year, but this time, they had a reconfigured arena with fewer seats and they still had to give up more free seats.
Last December, it was revealed that Sam Haskell, the C. But the organization has been plagued by internal turmoil since Ms. Carlson was instated. A political street art group took credit for the stunt. And on Saturday, the day before the pageant, in perhaps the greatest show of revolt, more than 50 state leaders met privately in a hotel conference room to voice discontent with Ms. Carlson, and discuss legal action. Carlson declined to be interviewed for this article and remained largely out of sight for most of the week leading up to Miss America. And so at roughly the same time that meeting was taking place, the contestants were suiting up for the annual Show Us Your Shoes Parade, where the women ride on the tops of old convertibles along the boardwalk, decked out in elaborate costumes meant to honor their home state.
Miss Georgia had Coca-Cola bottles on her shoes and Miss Mississippi festooned hers with hot air balloons. Instead, the candidates were judged on their second answers to two interview questions, 8-second descriptions of their social and political platforms, and their second talent performances. Oei said. And protests by N. As for swimsuits: After the show, the newly crowned Miss America, Ms.
Jessica Bennett is the gender editor of The Times, working to expand global coverage of women, gender and society across platforms. On Thursday, Summers issued a lengthy apology for her behavior, sharing a photo to her Instagram account that showed her smiling and embracing Sinat, while Nie hugged Morales and Hung. I would never intend to hurt another. These are the moments that matter most to me. The three women instantly jumped in, talking over one another as they clamored to compliment Nie on her sense of fashion.
Hung could be seen grinning as Morales and Summers burst out in laughter. Later on in the video, Summers mentioned Sinat, appearing to express sympathy for the year-old. Motioning toward Morales, Summers complimented her on her English, noting that the Colombian model is also fluent in Spanish. On social media, the video clips generated fierce outcry, including calls for the three women to be disqualified from the Miss Universe competition.
The pageant is set to take place Sunday in Bangkok. A number of former contestants have alleged that Trump displayed inappropriate behavior at pageants, ranging from walking into changing rooms to making derogatory comments about women, Rolling Stone reported in The president has categorically denied these accusations. So good job Miss USA, you really make your country proud.
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I have had the pleasure to know her personally and I can assure you she is the sweetest most determined girl I know. By Thursday, it appeared that none of the Miss Universe contestants involved in the controversy harbored any ill will toward each other. Along with Summers, Sinat, Nie and Hung all shared pictures to their Instagram accounts that showed the five women smiling and hugging. I speak the language of love, respect and understanding. I love you my sisters. We are a family. Hung kept her post simple, captioning a group photo in which Nie is kissing Summers on the cheek, with a single heart.
Does it pay to be beautiful? Physically attractive people can earn more, particularly in customer-facing jobs, and the rewards for men are higher than for women. Good-looking people sort into occupations where the payoff to appearance is higher, while those who are less good-looking avoid them. Beauty is not a fixed factor, but can be influenced by other factors such as cosmetics or plastic surgery, as well as confounded by confidence or personality. It is difficult to separate out the effect of beauty from other less immediately recognizable attributes of individuals. It is not easy to make cross-country comparisons when perceptions of physical attractiveness differ.
Policies to counter such discrimination are being introduced in a number of countries, but if they do not take into account the channels through which physical appearance is affecting labor market outcomes—such as employer discrimination, customer discrimination, productivity, and occupational sorting—they may fail to achieve their goals. Society should recognize and observe the relevance of a beauty premium.
A need for interventions depends on legal considerations and whether such a premium reflects discrimination or productivity. While beauty is difficult to measure, it is nevertheless a well-established view amongst economists that physically attractive people earn more than those who are considered to be less attractive.
As an illustration of the measures that are now being introduced to counter such discrimination, in the city and county of San Francisco prohibited discrimination based on weight and height, and issued appropriate compliance guidelines. In , the District of Columbia also imposed a number of protection measures for employees, making it illegal to discriminate on the basis of external physical appearance for the purpose of recruitment, hiring, or promotion .
The aim of such local legislation is to protect individuals who could be disadvantaged by physical appearance . While there is no conceptual definition of beauty or physical attractiveness there is, however, significant agreement on beauty standards within cultures at any given point in time, and this changes fairly slowly over time.
An accepted way to measure attractiveness is to ask judges e. The overarching aim of the empirical research in this area has been to quantify the effect of beauty on labor market outcomes. Empirical studies do in fact provide strong support for the existence of a significant effect of physical appearance in the labor market.
However, the effect is not the same across occupations and also varies by gender. It is important to understand the channels through which the effects of physical attractiveness impact on wages and other aspects of the labor market. This can then help to articulate which potential polices might be applied in order to influence the effects.
The empirical evidence in support of some of these explanations varies, but they nonetheless receive a lot of attention in the literature . There is substantial empirical evidence that supports the existence of employer discrimination against less-attractive or short workers  , . In theory, there could be two reasons why employers may choose to avoid working with less-attractive people.
First, employers may believe that physically attractive employees are better workers and are more productive. This is the stereotypical view that better-looking people might be more capable at performing their tasks, and does not take into account the innate ability of workers.
In a work setting, people react in different ways toward physically attractive and less-attractive individuals. In general, people tend to be favorably biased toward those who are better-looking. From a psychological point of view, the visual impression one makes on someone else affects the way that person responds to them. This is based on the assumption that better-looking people have more socially pleasing personalities and are more inclined to have a successful career. This conviction is particularly important when it comes to inviting people for interviews and when employers make hiring decisions during face-to-face interviews.
There is evidence that, in an experimental setting, more-attractive people receive additional call-backs from employers compared to people who are deemed to be less-attractive  , . Taste-based discrimination, introduced by the economist Gary S. Becker in , assumes that some employers do not want to work with members of particular groups, e.
As a result, less-attractive or unattractive workers may have to accept lower wages for the same level of productivity as attractive people. Or, alternatively, they will need to be more productive for the same wage. These occupations might include, for example, salespeople e. Such occupations generally require extensive worker—customer engagement and interaction. Moreover, perceptions of attractiveness appear to induce buyers to behave more favorably toward better-looking sellers.
However, these results vary with the specific subsamples that are being analyzed . Individuals who are relatively more endowed with physical beauty seem to concentrate in occupations where the payoff to appearance is high. These occupations usually require very extensive interactions with customers such as sales assistants , where the effect of physical appearance can be quite significant.
Thus, overall, attractive people tend to work in jobs where appearance is important, while less-attractive individuals prefer professions that do not demand good looks. Other demographic characteristics also affect job choice, e. This could explain the presence of less-attractive people in professions where a greater proportion of good-looking people are found. Similarly, attractive people can also be found in occupations where there is no additional return to good looks. The empirical evidence suggests that good-looking women cluster in managerial and administrative types of jobs and are less likely to be found in blue-collar jobs, such as operative or skilled-craft occupations .
In addition, people seem to switch jobs depending on their looks. Among law school graduates, individuals working in the private and public sectors were surveyed five and 15 years following graduation. Lawyers who switched from the private sector to the public sector turned out to be less attractive than those who continued practicing in the private sector.
On the other hand, lawyers who changed their jobs from the public sector to the private sector turned out to be more physically attractive than those who continued their practice in the public sector. These results indicate that dynamic sorting could be taking place in the labor market.
The direction of this sorting is consistent with changes in the relative returns to individual characteristics such as beauty . A different strand of literature has focused on the extra return to beauty on wages as a result of the fact that good looks may be related to other labor-market-enhancing skills, such as communication skills, confidence, leadership capabilities, test scores, etc. Such skills are valued in the labor market and could have an enhancing effect on physical appearance.
Research has found that cognitive and non-cognitive skills that have been acquired during secondary education also prove to be important in future labor market outcomes. These include test scores, college enrollment, social behavior, employment, occupational attainment, and wages . Different activities in secondary school contribute to the development of these skills during adolescence, via socialization or other high-school activities. For example, a child who is good looking tends to be given more time and attention by teachers and peers .
Participation in these activities results in a relatively higher acquisition of confidence compared to other peers and this in turn promotes higher future wages. In general, better-looking individuals exhibit better communication skills, have more confidence, and are more extroverted. These skills most often translate into higher wages. However, one study compared the effects of beauty and confidence measures in Germany and Luxembourg and found wages to be driven more by looks than self-esteem .
More attractive young adults also exhibit a lower tendency toward criminal activity, which is again explained by higher student human capital development during high school. Physical attractiveness at the secondary school and university levels has been shown to be correlated with better individual cognitive skills, such as higher test scores and superior study performance. This means that for attractive individuals an increase in their capabilities would increase the wage premium, while for less-attractive individuals there could be negative returns to capabilities.
Women and men differ in the way they make their decisions to participate in the labor market. For example, for some occupations such as sales assistants, waiting staff, television presenters, etc. In addition, better-looking women might be more likely to work in the first place because they are more confident that they will find a job . Since beauty is very likely to enhance their productivity at work, women will also be more inclined to take advantage of this opportunity.
However, less-attractive women, given the payoff to good looks, will be more likely to avoid entering the labor market precisely because of the perceived disincentives. In addition, since women may be self-selecting into the labor market according to their good looks, this may alter the distribution of good looks that we observe in the labor market.
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In other words, better-looking women are more likely to take jobs, while less good-looking women are more likely to stay out of the labor force. As a result, there is less beauty variation in the labor market among women and so the payoff to good looks for women will be smaller. However, the same does not hold true for men. In their case, selection based on physical appearance is smaller and they have higher labor force participation rates in general. However, with the increased labor force participation of women, the gap in the effect is expected to decrease.
This argument is supported by empirical studies from different countries and using different data.
This pattern also applies to their female counterparts, with a lower penalty for plain looks of about Within occupations, effects for men are also stronger than for women. Accordingly, men receive higher premiums or penalties than women. One study shows that good-looking men receive higher salaries at the beginning of their careers and continue to earn more over time. Examining payoffs of law school graduates from the s and s finds that even five years after graduation there is still a statistically significant effect of physical appearance on male, but not on female, wages .
Besides earnings and labor force participation, other economic outcomes have been studied to examine the effect of physical appearance and to compare the differences between women and men. In universities, for example, evaluations by students are used as an indicator of teaching performance. Here again, there is a differential effect for women and men.
Studies find that the effect of physical appearance on class ratings for female teachers is less than half that of male teachers. In addition, the effect of beauty differs by age: accordingly, the effect is stronger for older men but weaker for older women . It appears that attractive people receive more responses, and more quickly, to their job applications than less attractive people  , .
When comparing the effect of obesity and attractiveness on call-back rates, research shows that the results are driven by obesity for women and by physical appearance for men . There is some cross-country variation in the beauty—wage premium and penalty. Good looks lead to a wage premium in most of the countries examined Figure 1. The highest beauty premiums are present in Germany and China.
And the return is particularly large for women. In the UK, however, individuals do not receive a wage premium for good looks, while in Australia, good-looking women also do not receive a positive wage effect for physical appearance. This similarity in the payoff of physical appearance in the two countries may be a result of similarities in their historical economic structures, as well as in their cultures.
Economic analyses cannot yet explain what makes some personal physical features or characteristics attractive and others not, or why the same individual features or characteristics bring about different responses from different observers though individual preferences obviously play a part. In addition, few consistent standards of beauty exist across time and across cultures . Identifying occupations in which looks could enhance productivity has proved to be a challenge.
The DOT provides a scale that rates whether physical appearance is important in a specific occupation and allows for the categorization of occupations according to the ratings. This strategy generally coincides with the previous classification using DOT. A further limitation of this work is that beauty is usually considered a matter of fact in and of itself, whereas in reality it may be influenced by and correlated to clothing, cosmetics, and plastic surgery expenditures.
Failing to consider these issues may cause the estimated effect of beauty to be biased upward.
The data do not even adequately capture performance-related wage adjustments. Such measures would help shed some light on the real reasons for employer discrimination. Another challenge in this area of research is the ability to adequately distinguish between the beauty effect that results from productivity, on the one hand, and the effect that occurs as a result of customer discrimination on the other.
There is some research in support of the idea of productivity-related discrimination, but the evidence is unfortunately fairly weak. The research argues that due to omitted variables in the data, additional differences in productivity are not identified. To better describe this mechanism of transmission, alternative methods of analysis should be employed.
Future research studies could do this by collecting data from a homogeneous group of workers from within one specified occupation, given that productivity-related discrimination is highly specific to a given occupation. It is unclear whether this is due to differences in productivity or to student discrimination in favor of instructors who are more attractive.
The number of employment-related discrimination cases based on physical appearance has increased in recent years. These must be considered more clearly to understand the policy implications and options. Policies that fail to take into account the channel through which physical appearance or attractiveness is affecting labor market outcomes may fail to achieve their goals.
For example, if customer discrimination is taking place then policies that are geared toward buying from the less-attractive would be more effective than those focused solely on the employer. Examples here might include anonymous job applications, which would ensure less potential bias in selecting job applicants for interview. In some occupations this may make sense in order to avoid employer discrimination. In others it may not if customer discrimination is present. Customer discrimination is difficult to eliminate and is more or less beyond the control of the employer, but once hiring takes place, an employer could provide in-house training on professional dress codes, approachability, and appealing personality characteristics, etc.
The growing practice in Europe of including candidate photographs on CVs should be abandoned in order to decrease the vulnerability of certain individuals to discrimination. Ensuring that at least one person participating in the interview process has undergone specific training on hiring without prejudice regarding physical appearance would be beneficial for a non-discriminatory recruitment process. A need for interventions like the introduction of anonymous applications in hiring also depends on legal considerations and whether such a premium reflects discrimination or productivity.
Elles le sont. Academic Grievance Studies and the Corruption of Scholarship. Andrew Davenport, co-creator of the Teletubbies and In the Night Garden, discusses his new show The Moon and Me and says toy merchandise deals are an important consideration when creating the programmes. And Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford reveal they have separate rooms for watching television and Eamon would like to revive and host This is Your Life. Finale Vlog is now up - go and check it out The gorgeous katherinekel barefoot on the cover of the new itvmagazine tvmag prettyfeet celebfeet.
A quick tea break and a cheeky doughnut before heading back to school to watch little one sing carols round the tree. Having a look at the Christmas TV guide. As a family we love the yearly David Walliams TV program. We have been wondering which book it would be this year. We went to see a production of this in summer put on by a local theatre company. One of our Favourite characters from the programs is Raj. Fingers crossed he makes an appearance this year.