KARL Stefanovic has taken a stand for swimsuits at the illustrious Miss America competition - saying it's up to the woman on stage to decide whether it's appropriate.

It comes after the event's organisers revealed they are scrapping the Miss America swimsuit competition, adding that participants will no longer be judged on their looks.

The Today show's Sylvia Jeffreys began an on-air exchange this morning by saying she supported the move, but suggested the idea of beauty pageant in today's society is outdated.

"I think it is a step in the right direction," Jeffreys said. "But, if they are not being judged on appearance the entire concept of a beauty pageant should be thrown out altogether."

Co-host Georgie Gardner chimed in saying her and Sylvia had "voiced concern" over beauty pageants before.

"We find them antiquated," she said. "I find them outdated. However, there are plenty of people who love them and see them as a mark of success."

However, Karl disagreed, saying beauty pageant contestants have a choice about entering the controversial competition.

Contestants wear swimsuits as they compete in the 2016 Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Picture: AP
Contestants wear swimsuits as they compete in the 2016 Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Picture: AP

"If a woman chooses to be in a bikini pageant, isn't that her choice?" he said, adding that he "never been interested" in the Miss America.

"That is her choice absolutely," Sylvia responded. "I'm saying if they want to be seen to be

celebrating all shapes and sizes and not judging on appearance then what's the point of the beauty pageant at all.

"I'm not saying (get rid of them). I'm saying if that's what they want to do then what's the point of getting rid of one element of it."

Since its start, nearly 100 years ago, the Miss America pageant has been known for featuring beauty queens parading around in skimpy bikinis and sparkly gowns.

Miss Virginia 2017 Cecili Weber participates in Swimsuit challenge during the 2018 Miss America Competition. Picture: Getty
Miss Virginia 2017 Cecili Weber participates in Swimsuit challenge during the 2018 Miss America Competition. Picture: Getty

"We've heard from a lot of young women who say, 'We'd love to be a part of your program but we don't want to be out there in high heels and a swimsuit,' so guess what, you don't have to do that anymore," Gretchen Carlson, chairwoman of the Miss America Organisation told Good Morning America.

Now, the Miss America hopefuls from all 50 states and DC will be asked to show off their wits and passion in a live interactive session with the judges.

Instead of evening gowns, contestants will be asked to wear something that portrays their personal style and makes them feel confident.

The major changes come after the CEO and top executives resigned in December, because of leaked e-mails in which they made lewd and sexist comments about past winners.


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