The "Miss America" pageant is no exception to the idea that pageants objectify women and place far too much emphasis on exterior beauty. There are four rounds of competition: Lifestyle & Fitness in Swimsuit, Evening Wear, Talent, and On-Stage-Question. First of all, how could the judges base "Lifestyle & Fitness" off of how a women looks in a bikini? There are so many different body types in our world, so one person might live a healthier lifestyle than a woman who does not stay fit and simply just has a faster metabolism; however, the judges will see the skinnier woman as "better" and "healthier". Also, half of the competition is based solely on exterior beauty (swimsuit and evening wear). These two rounds are also the first rounds in the pageant, so before a woman shows her talent or her views on life with the question, she must prove to the judges that she is conventionally attractive in order to even get to those rounds.
2013 "Miss America" contestants trying to prove to the judges that they are "fit" for the next round.
The winner of "Miss America" eventually goes on to tour the United States to promote the cause she stood for throughout the competition. While this is a good aspect of the "Miss America" pageant, anyone can promote a good cause. One does not need to win a pageant to spread word about something they are passionate about and encourage people to help out. The fact that "Miss America" goes on "tour" makes it seem like it is based primarily on fame, not the cause.
Even with all this, the "Miss America" pageant is still described as an "american tradition". According to the official "Miss America" website, "The Miss America Organization is a not-for-profit organization that has maintained a tradition for many decades of empowering American women". Does the "Miss America" pageant really empower women? Why is this a tradition that keeps returning annually for Americans?