Can Miss America survive — and maintain its head and crown excessive?
The way forward for the nearly-100-year-old Miss America pageant is up within the air after its manufacturing firm, Dick Clark Productions, reduce ties following the publication of CEO Sam Haskell’s slut-shaming and derogatory emails blasting former contestants.
Haskell is one in every of seven males on the Miss America Group’s 16-member Board of Administrators — and holds the best rating roll, raking in $500,000 per 12 months. 49 Miss Americas spanning seven many years issued an announcement all calling for the fast resignation of Haskell on Friday, in addition to the opposite head board members, Tammy Haddad and Lynn Weidner.
Regardless of Haskell’s disturbing emails the place he joked about calling former Miss Americas “c—ts,” he has but to be dismissed from his place.
The board is made up of enterprise professionals and several other former Miss America pageant winners.
Not one of the board members have commented publicly and the Miss America group has not made an announcement.
Specialists imagine there’s one approach to preserve the group afloat.
“To outlive, the group should evolve — and do one thing massive,” Atlanta-based model strategist Laura Ries stated. “They need to begin by firing everybody on the high. Why are we having males run the Miss America pageant?”
Kate Shindle — an actress and the president of Actors’ Fairness — who Haskell joked in an e mail that he wished she was lifeless, stated Miss America’s mission is to empower younger girls via scholarship and repair. A objective, she says, that’s nonetheless essential in 2017.
On Twitter, Shindle referred to as for the fast resignation of Haskell — however she’s not holding her breath.
“Frankly, I’ve discovered over final 20 years that there’ll individuals who will take down the entire ship fairly than relinquish management,” she informed the Each day Information.
“We need to take again Miss America from board members and CEOs who’re extra occupied with passing nasty feedback round about girls’s weight than empowering younger girls via scholarship and repair.”
Hilary Levey Friedman, a pageant professional and Professor of Sociology at Brown College, informed the Each day Information that there are two methods the pageant might return to prominence.
“If the present board members don’t resign, and the individuals related to the emails, they are going to possible lose extra sponsors and contestants and volunteers throughout the program, and if that occurs, I am certain there will likely be a Miss America pageant, however I am unsure it is going to be on community TV,” Friedman stated, after it was introduced Dick Clark Productions would now not put the pageant on-air.
“The second method it might go is that it is a actual watershed second and new management is available in and maybe, and many individuals wish to see this be feminine management, this may very well be an actual alternative for the group to do one thing that they have not performed extra just lately, to return to the extra historic roots of Miss America which put girls on the entrance academic alternatives.”
Friedman referred to as Haskell’s e mail etiquette “extremely problematic,” particularly given the group’s efforts to advertise feminine empowerment.
“I couldn’t think about how they presumably really feel snug with the chief referring to a gaggle of ladies as “c—ts,” Friedman stated. “It is simply arduous to think about that that is acceptable even to probably the most conservative of supporters.”
Miss America — which was first held in 1921 — awards scholarships to contestants who place the best in every competitors, however different contestants will be awarded various quantities primarily based on different standards equivalent to GPA, neighborhood service and subject of examine.
Almost $6 million was awarded to varied contestants in 2014 (the newest knowledge out there) within the type of nationwide money scholarships and state and native money scholarships and tuition waves, in keeping with the inspiration’s web site.
Outstanding previous winners embody Vanessa Williams, Mary Ann Mobley and Gretchen Carlson.
Former Miss America contestant Taylor Marsh was one in every of many ladies who took benefit of the pageant’s academic alternatives — together with the scholarship that allowed her to attend school since her household had little cash following her father’s loss of life whereas she was nonetheless a younger lady.
Marsh, an writer and former Broadway performer, gained the Miss Missouri pageant in 1974 and went on to compete within the Miss America competitors in Atlantic Metropolis in 1975.
“Plenty of ladies come from poor beginnings, they do not have quite a lot of selections, they’re making an attempt to get out,” Marsh stated. “I used to be positively making an attempt to get out. That is what it was used for earlier than social media. For it to proceed I gotta let you know, it is actually going to wish to see a change.”
The author of the upcoming novel “Olivia’s Flip” was grateful to the pageant life for offering her with alternatives, however her feminist nature was certain to notice that there isn’t any method an antiquated perspective ought to be persevering with within the 21st century.
“Properly if it is going to proceed it wants a full plate of ladies. It’s ridiculous in 21st century that males are in control of pageant like this,” she shared. “We do not have to ask why males began this, no matter your physique was it mattered.”
Marsh recalled how protesters from the Nationwide Group of Girls arrange outdoors her resort throughout the competitors and berated her about her option to compete. She responded, “Do you need to pay my school tuition?”
“I do not know why individuals blame the women,” she stated. “A few of these individuals come from damaged properties.”
“I would hate to see it utterly taken down, you realize taken aside, as a result of in these small cities it helps these girls with their private poise and it helps them work together with individuals, however you may’t simply carry one thing from 1930s, 50s and produce it into the 21st century and make it related except you alter it,” Marsh continued.
Friedman, who taught present Miss America Cara Mund in her “Magnificence Pageants in American Society” course at Brown, additionally felt the concept of prancing round in a swimsuit ought to be put to an finish.
“With a view to win you’ve got do have to look on nationwide TV in a washing go well with, that being stated, there are quite a lot of different abilities and alternatives which can be created for younger girls by taking part on this program,” Friedman stated. “However you continue to must put on a washing go well with when you do it.”
Marsh questioned the competitors’s swimsuit portion, questioning if there was one thing it may very well be changed with. Perhaps some type of enterprise job, she questioned.
Former Miss America winner Mallory Hagan, who was sufferer to Haskell’s harsh phrases like “big” and “gross” over e mail, additionally spoke out concerning the new course Miss America must take with the intention to proceed.
“On no account would I ever need to see this program or group ever go away,” she stated. “I hope this can carry gentle to the kind of conduct that is been in management of the Miss America group and actually assist us put in place some individuals who care and who embody the mission of Miss America.”
Ries steered hiring Carlson — a transparent success story from the pageant and an vital power within the #MeToo motion.
“Rent Gretchen Carlson, she’s out there for a job. Rent her,” she informed The Information. “Gretchen Carlson is aware of the great issues concerning the pageant. She’s spoken extremely of the pageant. Placing somebody like her in cost to carry it again to its glory — and to relevance.”