Thursday, December 28, 2017

Stand in Solidarity: Save the Miss America Sisterhood

A new petition has been started by Miss America 2013 Mallory Hagan to stop the current Miss America board members from remaining in their positions of power. This includes the controversial decision to remove former Miss Americas who stood by Sam Haskell when he made knowingly vulgar comments about past winners and they stood by him, complicit.

All board members that stood by Sam Haskell need to go, was a statement adamantly reiterated in the petition.
The message rings loud and clear, "If people truly care about the program and its empowerment of women, then it must be a full turnover."

Mallory Hagan addressed the issue to viewers on Wednesday night via a Facebook Live video and relayed the turn of events, revealing former CEO Sam Haskell is still pulling the strings. In other words, a puppet leadership in the guise of a committee is being formed.

Instead of the current board gracefully stepping down, they are electing to appoint their own new leadership, while still having ties to the source of the problem. Mallory Hagan remarked it was insulting, and she wasn't born yesterday.

So hear this, fans and allies if you will, of Miss America: the committee is only being formed to appease and mitigate those on the side of resistance while a real power play is going down. The Miss America Organization sacrificed their lucrative partnership with Dick Clark Productions in efforts to save their own hide, essentially. They said nothing for 24 hours and got caught, but thought they could weather the storm.

"I am the storm," Mallory told viewers in her video and pointedly looking at the camera to capture the attention of the board. "You're not weathering it."

Former Miss Americas are speaking out once again on this issue including state, local, and former Miss Americas against the current remaining board and calling for their removal. 

Please listen. Speak out. Make your voice heard.

Many Forever Miss Americas reported that their careers had been stalled or derailed post the crown. Betty Cantrell had spoken out on her Instagram live video stating that numerous career opportunities had been sabotaged by the Miss America leadership, as well as Teresa Scanlan. Mallory Hagan was ostracized in the pageant community when she started her pageant coaching business.

According to recent developments, many people have come forward with information that they were not allowed to associate or told not to have contact with Mallory Hagan, including personnel from the Miss Nebraska Organization.

Ostracism has indeed shamefully run rampant under the current form of leadership, from the local to the executive level.

Once again, this is a call to action to not only create change but to demand it. All board members complicit in Sam Haskell and the executive leadership's behaviour need to be removed. A shadow leadership is not what Miss America needs in this dire hour.

To support this petition, and the women affected by this polarizing leadership, please follow the link and sign here: PETITION

By: Natalie McGovern

Saturday, December 23, 2017

The Miss America Revolution, What Happens Next?

The first protest that changed Miss America was in 1968. Archived. Getty Images

The breaking news of 49 past Miss Americas have given their voice on a petition to oust Miss America CEO Sam Haskell, and he has officially resigned along with several other board members, and president Josh Randle. 

Personal attacks were made on former winners and disparaging comments were made about their weight, intellect and personal lives.

On Friday, Mallory Hagan appeared on The Today Show and said she felt validated that these allegations have finally come to light. In an Instagram Live video, Miss America 2015 Betty Cantrell attested to being blackballed by the Miss America leadership and having numerous opportunities thwarted that were in the works after her reign. She too felt validated that the truth could come out.

I have personally experienced at the local Miss America Organization level the ostracization and defamation that these Miss Americas speak of. In 2012 I won a local title that I was stripped of due to being too old after I was allowed by directors to compete with three locals. I had to fight to protect my reputation and clear my name. Ironically they just unofficially changed the age requirement to 25, by the way. Five years too late, after I first addressed it to the board immediately and my request to amend the age was without a doubt ignored by the Miss America executive leadership. 

There was undoubtedly an underlying, inherent flaw in this leadership at this level, and now that it has been exposed we anticipate wrongs can be amended in every capacity as we move forward in a new direction for Miss America, an organization of service, achievement and women empowerment.

In an organization that purports to empower, news of the email scandal was a blow to equality and the headway that was being made with women in society.

In male-dominated industries, women have had to live in a pervasive fear culture of harassment for fear of speaking out about the injustices they've been subjected to.

Miss America past and present sisters stood together in our efforts to incite change and a new direction where we can be valued and truly appreciated not only as representatives of the organization but as individuals. Together we unified to call to action change and redirection of an organization we have poured our heart and soul into.

Now, we as the Miss America sisterhood need to cultivate a culture of edifying and supporting our sisters and woman as a whole. Especially those that have been ostracized and scandalized or victims of abuse. Long gone are the days of tolerating the culture of bullying and misogyny in an organization created to uplift women.

A female CEO for Miss America, anyone?

By: Natalie McGovern
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