It's important for pageant organisations to maintain continued relevance within society by aligning their goals with society's evolution.
That's according to Miss South Africa 2017's 1st princess, Boipelo Mabe.
HuffPost spoke to Mabe following the Miss America organisation announcement on Tuesday that the pageant is eliminating its swimsuit competition.
"We will no longer judge our candidates on their outward physical appearance," said Gretchen Carlson, the chair of the organisation's board of trustees. "It's going to be what comes out of their mouths that we will be interested in," she added.
We can't ignore the beauty standards that have been developed and maintained over the years.
Miss America will no longer be referred to as a pageant either, but as a competition.
This decision to remove swimsuits has been met with mixed reaction.
1. Swimsuits aren't just about physical appearance
2. There is really no need for the swimsuit segment
Mabe said in her competition days, the swimsuit section was about promoting a healthy and fit lifestyle through sustainable and realistic measures that were not harmful. "Today it could mean something completely different, and those are the things competition rules need to be sensitive to."
This is why she believes pageant organisations must align themselves with society's evolution and seek ways to continue being relevant. How this is achieved, however, is up to the organisations themselves.
"Initially, pageants were solely a parade of outer beauty, but have over time evolved to embody more than that. Now we see the empowerment, abilities and contribution of women to society on the pageant platform," commented Mabe — who was an International Relations Masters student at Wits University when she entered Miss SA, and is now, among other things an accomplished public speaker and businesswoman.
Carlson also suggested that Miss America's move was part of the competition's attempt to shift its emphasis away from comparing women's looks and bodies.
"We can't ignore the beauty standards that have been developed and maintained over the years," added Mabe, "but I believe that no one in this world exclusively owns the definition of beauty."
As to whether or not Miss America's move will inspire other pageants across the world to follow suit, and how this will be received by audiences — we'll just have to wait and see.