Karl Stefanovic says Miss America contestants can wear swimsuits if they want to. Cheers.

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For the first time in almost 100 years, contestants in the Miss America pageant will not be taking the stage in a bikini. More importantly, they won’t be judged on how their body looks in one.

According to Miss America Chairwoman Gretchen Carlson, Miss America will no longer be a beauty pageant, choosing to focus on women’s talent, scholarship work and sense of social justice.

“We will no longer judge our candidates on their outward physical appearance… that’s huge,” she told Good Morning America on Wednesday morning.

“That means we will no longer have a swimsuit competition, and we’ll also be revamping our evening gown competition phase. It’s going to be what comes out of their mouth that we’re interested in. We’re no longer judging women when they come out in their chosen attire.”

It was this idea of choice that sparked conversation on The Today Show this morning, with co-host Karl Stefanovic wondering if banning the swimsuit competition restricts the contestants’ ability to… choose if they want to wear a bikini?

Watch the awkward Miss America Today Show segment below. Post continues after video.

Video via Nine

“This is the thing, this is a beauty pageant and it has been for 100 years. Is there anything wrong with a beauty pageant?” the 43-year-old asked co-hosts Sylvia Jeffreys and Georgie Gardner.

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For many, the answer to that is yes. Some would argue any institution that rewards women based on their appearance is outdated and antiquated, as Gardner, 48, put it.

“I think it’s certainly a step in the right direction,” Jeffreys, 32, said.

“But if they want to be seen as celebrating all shapes and sizes and not judging on appearance, what’s the point of the beauty pageant at all? What’s the point of getting rid of one part of it?”

Stefanovic, however, insisted it should be the woman’s choice to decide what she wears, arguing “if a woman chooses to be in a bikini pageant, isn’t that her choice?”

Cheers, Karl. At least now we have the male opinion we’re not sure we needed on this issue.

Do you find it condescending when a man weighs in on issues regarding women’ bodies or fashion? Do you think Miss America contestants should get to choose if they want to wear a swimsuit?

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