Miss America, Mallory Hagan, is just fine with the famed pageant's bikini competition. That's contrary to the opinion of many American women who see it as female objectification. So who is right?
The organization behind the pageant says that phase of the competition is meant to show the fitness level of each contestant. Really? How does strutting around in a bikini do that? Some believe that having the contestants dance, lift weights or perform some form of physical activity would better accomplish that specific goal. Are they right?
If the actual goal is fitness, then probably so. However, most people know that line is baloney. The pageant realizes that cheesecake still sells. That's the reason behind all those bikinis. But is it objectification of women?
If so then a lot of women do the same thing everyday wearing bikinis and thongs on beaches across the country. One can't access a celebrity site without seeing at least one star clad in a skimpy bikini, showing off her female form. They also do by posing nude for Playboy or other magazines.
It comes down to a woman's right to decide for herself what she is and isn't willing to do. For Ms. Hagan, walking across the stage in a bikini was no big deal. It was her decision to do so. If she didn't want to, she didn't have to enter the competition. Still, one has to wonder what would happen if a contestant refused to participate in that aspect of the category. What kind of hubbub might that cause?
At least for this year, it doesn't matter. Miss New York has graduated to Miss America and she's happy about that. She's looking forward to representing the brand. "My life is going to change," Hagan notes. "It was something I started working for when I was 13," she admits.
Apparently her boyfriend is okay with everything too. "He knows this year is about me," says Mallory.
When her term is done, Hagan hopes to go back to school to the New York Fashion Institute of Technology. Her goal is to study fashion marketing. With $50,000 in scholarship money, she should do just fine.