The Miss World beauty pageant has announced plans to drop its bikini round after 63 years.
Speaking about the new move, the national director of Miss World Chris Wilmer said:
“The organization has decided to take itself out of the swimsuit world because it isn’t the path they’re trying to take. It’s not just a beauty contest, it’s ‘beauty with a purpose’. There didn’t seem to be a purpose to have the swimsuit.”
The controversial round has long divided the Miss World panel, with organiser Julia Morley telling Elle magazine in a recent interview:
“I don’t need to see women just walking up and down in bikinis, it doesn’t do anything for the woman, and it doesn’t do anything for any of us.
“I don’t care if someone has a bottom two inches bigger than someone else’s. We are really not looking at her bottom. We are really listening to her speak.”
The round has been long criticised for objectifying women, and was later renamed the ‘beach fashion’ round in 2001. The move is designed to shift focus away from the women’s bodies and physical appearance, placing a higher emphasis on their words.
It seems like many women’s rights charities have rejected the news, with online backlash blasting the pageant as being ‘extremely sexualised’ placing too much expectation on young women to meet body ideals.