The Miss Universe pageant is reportedly throwing out its largely-outdated rulebook and expanding its horizons. It will now allow women who are married, pregnant or have children to compete. 

According to The National, which obtained an internal memo from within the Miss Universe organization, the pageant is changing its ways. Allowing in women who are married or have children, the memo read: “We all believe that women should have agency over their lives and that a human’s personal decisions should not be a barrier to their success.”

Loading the player...

The Miss Universe pageant previously had a whole slew of rules that were downright archaic, and that prevented many women from dreaming of competing. In fact, the pageant previously only allowed single women with no children to compete.

As per E! News, women who are married, divorced, have children or are even pregnant may now take part in the worldwide competition. That being said, is still unclear if Miss Universe is keeping its traditional age bracket, which is 18 to 28 years old. 

The rule changes will not apply to this year’s pageant, and will instead become effective in 2023.

National director of Miss Universe Bahrain, Josh Yugen, explained to The National that the pageant will now “be more inclusive and welcoming to mothers and married women.” He continued, “For me, this is aligned with what I have been fighting for — breaking stereotypes and unlearning the stigma that the old society has forced on us from many many decades ago.”

Meanwhile, E! News reports that Miss Universe CEO Amy Emmerich said the requirement changes were made after receiving feedback from viewers.

As you can expect, Miss Universe fans have many thoughts about the decision, and opinions vary widely. Over on E! Online Latino’s Instagram announcement of the rule change, comments were all over the place.

On one side, longtime viewers are applauding the new flexible requirements, and see it as a step in the right direction. One Instagram user commented that the old rules were “prehistoric,” while another agreed, “Yes, they should modernize a bit… they are stuck in prehistoric times.” Another wrote, “It’s about time.”

Still, the majority of comments seem to be negative. One Instagram user commented under the post, “So change the name of the event, it wouldn’t be ‘Miss’ anymore… So much inclusion only to appease and look good in front of people who need acceptance.” Another echoed the sentiment, writing, “So absurd.”

Even more people questioned judging pregnant women’s bodies versus women who are not pregnant, while some just don’t want the competition to turn into a “mess” or un “arroz con mango.”

Over on Twitter, one user applauded the 71-year-old competition, writing: “Kudos to the Miss Universe Organization… let us all move forward to a more inclusive society  🤍.”