Highlights and extras from Stanford's alumni magazine. After she was crowned Miss America in , Carlson returned to Stanford to finish her undergraduate studies.
She promptly enrolled in three feminist studies classes, where she let her tiara out into the light. The first paper she wrote tackled some of her conflicted feelings about her pageant experiences. People have often underestimated me and misrepresented me. Carlson as Miss America Earlier this year, Carlson was chosen to lead the Miss America organization as chair of its board of directors.
What do you think of the MeToo movement? That courage is contagious. I could never, ever in my wildest dreams have envisioned this would have unfolded in this way. When I did what I did, that was a pretty lonely experience. One person could scream from the mountaintop, but the real impact comes when others decide to follow. There used to be so much doubt about reporting sexual harassment. Men and women were scared that if they came forward, it would hurt their careers.
If you look at how much has changed in 19 months, it really is a cultural revolution. That alone is monumental. The victims are in some cases being put on a pedestal, and they are [treated as] heroes for coming out. There are too many stories, and there are more that are coming. I continue to hear from women and men all across the country about their painful stories.
I think they feel safe telling me. At the same time, it makes me sad. Why would we do that? You know what I have been shouting from the rooftops? Companies should hire back all these women who have lost their careers. I think they are very much paying attention to this whole movement. I think the more we talk about it, the better it gets. I will tell you, last week was an awakening for me, because it made me realize we may actually see the final end of this tipping point.
I spoke at an all-boys high school. You could hear a pin drop; they were so engaged. How do we make sure that progress continues? The media is continuing to cover it, which is incredibly important. And the American public is still interested in it. The other way they solved it was in settlements where the women were gagged for life. Why is forced arbitration so bad? Is it because it allows companies to cover up what has happened?
There are so many negative things about it. Many times, the company picks the arbitrator for you. Only 20 percent of the time does the employee win. There are no appeals. There are not the same number of witnesses or depositions. What are some of your goals as the chair?
I feel excited to carry this message of empowerment to Miss America. We have amazing, talented, bright young women who want to be part of this program. We will never be calling it a beauty pageant. Others have in the past. We plan to make it bigger and better. Stay tuned is what I can say. What is your most vivid memory from being at Stanford? Other than my orange shag carpet in Toyon? When I went back for my 20th reunion, they had new carpet.