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Miss Teen USA to Drop Swimsuit Section of Competition

The pageant will introduce an athleticwear portion, instead.

Miss Teen USA is getting with the times — and by "the times," we mean that the pageant will no longer be asking that its competitors parade around in skimpy bathing suits. On Wednesday, the organization announced that it will be eliminating its long-debated swimsuit section in favor of athleticwear. This update will be effective as of its 2016 event, which airs July 30 from Las Vegas.

In a statement, Paula M. Shugart, President of The Miss Universe Organization, said:

This decision reflects an important cultural shift we're all celebrating that empowers women who lead active, purposeful lives and encourage those in their communities to do the same. Our hope is that this decision will help all of Miss Teen USA's fans recognize these young women for the strong, inspiring individuals they are.

The pageant's swimsuit section had previously existed to highlight the athleticism of its contestants, aged 15-19, and according to USA Today, to emphasize the importance of exercise for young women. But encouraging intentions aside, there was just no way the portion came across as anything but the obvious: objectifying the same adolescents the pageant hoped to empower. Athleisure, on the other hand, is a fitting (not to mention timely!) compromise.

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Especially for teenagers, it was an outdated section of the pageantry tradition. We'll be happy to see it go. 

Homepage photo: Monica Schipper/Getty Images for Ride of Fame

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