The Relevance of the Swimsuit Competition in Miss USA and How Fitness Can Promote Body Positivity

June 08, 2017

Every single day, more and more young women are browsing social media staring at their favorite celebrities perfected by apps and filters. As a young woman who follows the every day “social media” lives of celebrities and models like Kendall Jenner, and the Hadid sisters, I have found it easy to sit down and criticize myself day in and day out. These women are beautiful, talented, and portray an incredible lifestyle. What I did not realize before getting into fitness is that every body is different; and sitting down and imagining myself with the curvy body of a Victoria’s Secret model or Kardashian sister will completely ruin my self-esteem.

I have an incredibly straight and narrow body with broad shoulders. I have always jokingly called it a “boy” body. It never really occurred to me that the way I viewed my body was a self-esteem issue until women like the Kardashians took over with their curvaceous figures. I think curvy bodies are absolutely beautiful. I have always longed for curves because of my resistance to accepting my own body shape. I looked at their social media pages daily, longing to find a way to enhance my non-existent curves.

When I began my lifestyle change in January of 2017, I had hopes of getting curves through gaining muscle. I have never been someone who loves working out and at first I did not enjoy spending an hour of my day at the gym. I was embarrassed. So many people don’t go to the gym because they don’t feel comfortable in that atmosphere. I was hands-down one of those people. I had to push myself harder than ever before to get myself to the gym and to stop feeling judged in that atmosphere. Once I let go of the idea that everyone in the gym was watching me and got used to the schedule change, I began to love going to the gym; it changed my life. Three months into working out and eating right, I began to see changes in my body. But those changes were not what I was originally hoping for. I wanted those darn curves and I was not getting them. Flash forward 6 months later. I am lifting weights every day; it has become a part of my daily routine. I have learned to accept and love my body’s changes and shape for the right reasons. I have come to understand that every single body is different. No matter which celebrity I hope to look like, it will never happen; I am ME. I have THIS body. There is no changing that. Once I began to accept my body for what it is, my entire perspective changed. I want young girls and all women to understand that it is possible to appreciate another woman’s body while still accepting and loving your own. As women, we are constantly judged based on our looks and our shape. I want to promote body positivity for every single woman. Fitness has taught me the appreciation of different body shapes and that every woman should love herself, regardless of how we are told we should look. I want young women to support each other. I want young women to be inspired by diversity. I want to show young women that you do not have to look a certain way to be confident in who you are. You can be muscular, curvy, or straight-bodied...short or tall; it does not matter what your body looks like as long as you are happy with who you are. You are beautiful. If you can love yourself, you will exude confidence; I want every woman to feel confidently beautiful through loving herself first.

That being said, the importance of promoting body positivity, and its significance in today’s society, brings me to the controversial topic of the relevance of the swimsuit competition in the Miss USA pageant.

Miss USA is captivating. Miss USA is intelligent. Miss USA is personable. Miss USA stands for something, something much more than the common person realizes. Miss USA is more than her body; we all know this. In my opinion, the swimsuit competition in the Miss USA pageant is still relevant because of the way it celebrates different body types while displaying a woman’s confidence with her own figure. No contestant in the Miss USA pageant has the same body, yet they all find a way to stand on stage in front of thousands of people in a swimsuit. When I watch Miss USA, I see women of all shapes and sizes feeling confidently beautiful in their own skin. Not only does the swimsuit competition portray amazingly confident women demonstrating their love and acceptance for their own body shape, but it also shows commitment. Before I fell in love with fitness, I failed to realize how much hard work and dedication it takes to go to the gym every day. These Miss USA contestants did not just show up with these bodies. It takes incredible persistence and self-motivation to lead a healthy lifestyle. The job of Miss USA is more than meets the eye. Miss USA must be utterly dedicated to her role as a public figure and spokesperson. Without the stern commitment and perseverance to lead a healthy lifestyle, a woman could not succeed in the swimsuit competition.

As women and contestants of the Miss Universe Organization, we must promote body positivity in all that we do to show young women everywhere that we celebrate every woman and any woman can be confidently beautiful by loving herself for who she is and what she represents.

Love yourself. Love each other. Love your community. #LoveIsLove

Liv Fletcher
Miss Virginia Teen USA 2014
Miss Lake Anna USA 2017 and contestant in the Miss Virginia USA 2018 pageant