Last week the Miss Universe Organization announced that the Miss Teen USA pageant, for girls ages 15-19, would be saying bye-bye to bikinis and instead will be judging on athleisure. This news follows suit of other modernizing aspects of pageant life, like the this year's first openly gay contestant, Erin O'Flaherty, and an Army officer, Deshauna Barber, being crowned Miss USA in 2016.
Traditionally, pageant organizers have claimed that their intent behind the swimwear competition was to judge the athleticism of competitors. However, considering that strutting one's 'stuff' in a raunchy bikini tends to say more about the over sexualization of women's bodies than their fitness level, the shift to workout wear is an attempt to rebrand the pageant as a whole. In other words, this transition to athleisure aims to represent strength, rather than sexuality.
Particularly for the teenage competitors, the competition's newfound focus on health, rather than glorified body images, definitely seems to be a step in the right direction. Plus, we can't wait to see (and copy) some new athleisure trends on stage this July. Then again - is there really a difference between a sports bra and a bikini?
[Photo via @missteenusa]