Graduation Date

Fall 12-13-2019

Grading Professor

Margot Mifflin

Subject Concentration

Arts & Culture

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Evening gown in pageants, as in society, has always represented a woman's way of expressing her personality and femininity through fashion. Miss America's attempt to stop requiring evening gowns implies that wearing formal gowns does not equate to being a modern, empowered woman.

Instead of attempting to erase the evening gown as an outdated part of a modern woman’s wardrobe, the Miss America pageant should restore the original gown segment and use this opportunity to reshape America’s perspective on how modern women can choose to wear gowns and still be empowered.

Miss America Social Vid _Williams_Keishel.mp4 (92977 kB)
Miss America's Evening Gown Mistake - Social Video

Miss America 1941 Rosemary LaPlanche_MSNBC_Williams_Keishel_sequence#1.jpg (626 kB)
Miss America 1941, Rosemary LaPlanche. Photo: MSNBC

Miss America 2005 Deidre Downs_Donna Conner_Getty Images_Williams_Keishel_sequence#2.jpg (354 kB)
Miss America 2005, Deidre Downs. Photo: Donna Connor/FilmMagic

Miss America 2008 Kirsten Haglund_Ethan Miller_Getty Images_Williams_Keishel_sequence#3.jpg (86 kB)
Miss America 2008, Kirsten Haglund. Photo: Getty Images

Miss America 2017 Savvy Shields_Cosmo_Williams_Keishel_sequence#4.jpg (176 kB)
Miss America 2017, Savvy Shields. Photo: Cosmo

Miss America 2018 Cara Mund_Donald Kravitz_Getty Images_Williams_Keishel_sequnce#5.jpg (185 kB)
Miss America 2018, Cara Mund. Photo: Getty Images

Miss America 2019 Nia Franklin_Tom Briglia_Getty Images_Williams_Keishel_seqaunce#6.jpg (147 kB)
Miss America 2019 Nia Franklin. Photo: Tom Briglia/Getty Images

Miss America 2.0 Gowns_alamy_Williams_Keishel_sequnce7.jpg (206 kB)
Miss America 2.0 Gowns. Photo: alamy_



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.