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1 year ago
This Mesmerizing GIF Shows How Miss America's Swimsuit Has Changed Over Time

Get ready for gorgeous gowns, spray tans, and awkward onstage interview moments: The Miss America pageant is this Sunday!

Oh, whoops—how can we forget the swimsuit competition?

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The segment has been controversial for years and was almost ditched entirely at one point. In 1995, pageant officials allowed fans to call in and vote on whether the competition should be abandoned. (Almost a million people did, and Team Swimsuit won by a four to one ratio.)

According to the official Miss America website, the swimsuit competition (now known as the “lifestyle and fitness in swimsuit”) accounts for 15 percent of a contestant’s preliminary competitions score and 10 percent of her finals competition score.

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In honor of the big event, PsychGuides.com, which provides educational resources that cover a spectrum of mental health-related concerns, created a bikini timeline to show how much the swimsuit competition—and the bodies it showcases—have changed over the years:

The GIF shows that, while the average American woman is getting heavier, Miss America is getting thinner.

According to new research published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, the majority of women in the U.S. are now considered overweight or obese. But the BMIs of Miss America winners have been in the “underweight” range since the mid-1980s, per data obtained by PsychGuide.com.

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“While many of the characteristics of the pageant contestants are indeed admirable and worth aspiring to, the body types of the winners are increasingly less representative of the typical American woman and often typify an unhealthy ideal,” says PsychGuides.com.

Clearly these contestants are working hard to win the crown and it's about more than just the swimsuit competition—but it is kind of shocking to see how much that portion of the pageant has changed over the years. Especially now that more women than ever love themselves at every shape and size. 

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