The Miss Universe pageant is the most popular pageant in the world. The Miss Universe Organization (MUO) prides itself on empowering women and providing them with the resources they need to spread awareness of the causes they are passionate about on a global scale, resulting in positive changes in our world.
The pageant has developed since its conception in 1952. The latest change, which was announced on August 5, 2022, called for the inclusion of mothers and married women starting in the 72nd Miss Universe pageant in 2023. The announcement drew a variety of responses and raised many questions. Why was this deemed a necessary change? What about the title, the “Miss” in “Miss Universe”? How will a Miss Universe take care of her kids with a hectic schedule? Will other changes occur to MUO? How will this change the landscape of pageantry? Many questions and concerns are still circulating in the pageant community, so let’s try to answer some of them.
*The following answers are based on my knowledge, not the direct words of the Miss Universe Organization.
Is this necessary?
We live in a time where inclusivity is heavily advocated for worldwide. With that being said, individuals inside and outside of the pageant community have expressed their views on increasing inclusivity in pageants, which includes allowing women who have carried a child and are married to compete. With MUO being an organization that defines itself as inclusive and a place where women can achieve their goals, it was only a matter of time until they opened the door for married women and mothers to have a shot at achieving their dreams. Therefore, with the organization’s goals, inclusivity in the world being encouraged, and maintaining the relevancy of the pageant by evolving with the times, it was deemed a necessary change for the organization to make.
Title of “Miss”:
Is the title of “Miss” going to be changed to “Mrs.” if a married woman wins the pageant? Will the title name possibly change each year? These were the questions that came to my head, and I’m sure many of yours, when the announcement was made. After thinking about it, I realized that the Miss Universe pageant has been around for over 70 years and has established itself as a brand. When any change occurs within a big brand, the brand name does not normally change. So, why should “Miss Universe” have to be changed? Yes, “Miss” is a title for a woman who is unwed. However, a title is defined by the brand and the actions and character of the person holding the title.
One of the biggest questions about the recent change: How will a Miss Universe fulfill their duties while still attending to their child/children? While this is a valid concern, it can be seen as sexist. Many people do not question men on how they take care of their children while having a profession with a hectic schedule. It is automatically assumed, due to stereotypes, that women are the ones taking care of the children. Yes, women take care of children, but others also take care of children: men, relatives, non-relatives, etc. If a Miss Universe winner does not have a strong support system around them that could take over for the care of the child while they are out of town on official duties, I’m sure accommodations will be made that best suit the lifestyle of the winner.
With married women and mothers being able to compete in the pageant, I wouldn’t be surprised if the age range was expanded (the current age range is 18-29). How much will it expand by? I could see the maximum age increasing by a few years, making the maximum age be in the early 30s. This would not only allow for more women to compete, but it would also allow women who thought that their pageant journey was over to take the stage once again.
Future of Pageantry:
This step by the MUO is the beginning of a new era of pageantry. MUO is currently the most popular pageant in the world, so it would not be unreasonable to think that other pageant organizations would follow suit in the future.
Another international pageant organization that already has a similar rule established is the Miss Global Organization. They do not allow women who are married or pregnant at the time of the competition to compete, but they do allow single mothers to compete, including single mothers who were once married. The eligibility age range is 18-35 years old. Learn more about the Miss Global pageant here.
With two well-known international pageants going beyond the standard eligibility requirements, this further supports the fact that the pageant industry is ever-changing.
What are your thoughts on the Miss Universe rule change? Are you all for it or would you rather have the rules stay the same? Let us know!
Thank you so much to Queen Connection for providing me with the opportunity to write a blog post for you once again.
Katherine is the founder of Beauty and Brains. Beauty and Brains, founded in 2018, is blog centered around pageantry and fashion. Her interest in pageantry started at a young age when she first helped out behind the scenes at a local pageant. From there, her love of pageantry grew and it eventually led me to begin Beauty and Brains. Be sure to check out the official Beauty and Brains Instagram account for daily pageant news as well as her blog www.beautyandbrains.net for upcoming posts.