Today Show host Megyn Kelly complained on Monday that the Miss America pageant recently announced that it would remove the swimsuit portion of the annual competition.
Kelly noted that some state pageant leaders are looking to oust Miss America President Gretchen Carlson because they argue: “We want the competition.” The pageant, however, has pushed back, noting that over 30 former winners want to abolish the swimsuit competition.
“Can we get rid of beauty pageants?” political analyst Zerlina Maxwell asked. “It’s 2018. It’s a complete antiquated idea, the idea that we’re going to value — literally — your abs over whether or not you’re a kind and compassionate person seems like something that’s completely out of date.”
NBC analyst Dan Goldman asserted that the contestants “are choosing” to participate in the swimsuit competition.
“It’s a potential career,” he said, “to make a lot more money than they would make.”
“The scholarship is a ruse,” Maxwell interrupted. “The excuse always — we need to show women in their bikinis because they’re getting a scholarship. Really?”
“What’s wrong with showing women in bikinis?” Kelly exclaimed.
“Women are people?” Maxwell replied. “They should be valued for what’s inside their brains, not whether not they have abs… Nobody’s obituary says they had great abs.”
“I hope mine does,” Kelly quipped.
“I feel like we’re getting to the point where femininity is no longer consistent with feminism, and to that I object,” Kelly continued. “What’s wrong with showing women in bathing suits. They look amazing, they worked hard for it. They’re fit. I find it inspirational to see a very fit woman.”
“Because we objectify women in this way, they’re treated like less than human,” Maxwell shot back.
“Is it objectification if the woman wants it?” Kelly asked. “If she says, ‘I am rocking this bathing suit, I want to walk that runway, I want to bring it. And you know what, I got brains too.'”
“Not in front of judges,” Maxwell observed. “In front of judges, it’s different.”
“If you don’t want to be judged on your looks then you don’t join,” Kelly offered. “But these women are not forced to join. They do it because they enjoy it.”
“The reality is, no one is going to watch the pageant with the women choosing [what they want to wear],” the NBC host added. “You’re looking for the smartest woman in America? You should be at MIT. You shouldn’t be at the Miss America [pageant]. With all due respect, like what has the pageant become?”
Watch the video below from NBC.
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