Then Vs. Now: The Slow Disintegration of The Bikini at Miss USA

The Miss USA Pageant airs tonight at 9 PM on NBC, pulling every pageant-fiending woman to the edge of her sofa to watch in awe. Or pulling the anti-pageant peeps to edge of their sofas to watch what they believe to be a train wreck. Guess it depends on where you stand.

Regardless, there is a LOT to see — from myriad cheerful endorsements, to the always “omg”-worthy talent, to of course, the gowns. But even still, most are anxious to see the bikini portion. Primarily because we can’t imagine that these women have done anything other than eat celery and benchpress cars for the last year.

But what’s interesting is the evolution of the new bikini. And by evolution we simply shrinking. Hey girl, if you’ve got it, flaunt it, but we wonder if some of these styles aren’t a tad revealing? Which raises some larger questions: Being that women as a collective gender have worked so hard to be seen as equals in society, and to promote women being comfortable in their own skin as opposed to meeting unrealistic demands to be certain size or shape, is it really necessary that the bikini portion still be part of the pageant?

The world is different today than it was back in 1952, when the pageant began as a “bathing beauty” competition. Does this bikini contest hurt women more than it helps them? There are a lot of ways to view it, but we couldn’t help but notice that, since 1999, not only have the the bikinis dwindled down in size but clearly expectations of the women’s figures have changed as well.

Related links:
Toddlers & Tiaras Custody Battle Pits Pageant Mom Against Felon Father
WATCH: Simon Doonan Defends Child Pageants To Conan
Bryan Boy Doesn’t Think Pageants Should Allow Transgender Contestants

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