The One Fact About Megyn Kelly You Need To Know Before The GOP Debate Might Surprise You
As Fox News prepares to televise another round of the Donald Trump-Megyn Kelly feud — scratch that, I mean the seventh Republican presidential debate — this Thursday, there's one fact about the Fox News journalist you should keep in mind as you watch her drive discussion between the GOP candidates: Kelly doesn't identify as a feminist. In fact, Kelly has sought to distance herself from the eight letter F-word multiple times, claiming she doesn't like the connotations that surround it.
Unfortunately for Kelly, media outlets have been labeling her a "feminist icon of sorts" and touting her as one of women's biggest advocates since she called out GOP front-runner Trump on his history of misogynistic remarks and an overall sexist attitude towards females during the Republican presidential debate Fox News hosted in August.
Kelly came out firmly against the word "feminist" in a 2010 interview with GQ in which she also nonchalantly shrugs off a question as to why Fox News sits her behind a glass table that shows off her legs instead of the traditional anchor desk. In response to the question, "Do you consider yourself a feminist?" Kelly all but wrinkled her nose in disgust, saying,
I don't really love that word. That connotes a harshness and almost a shrillness that I find unattractive. ... I respect women like Gloria Steinem who paved the way. But when you say "feminist" now, there is a message that if you are sexy and you acknowledge that part of your personality publicly, then it's somehow an affront to women. And I reject that.
In an interview with Charlie Rose on the PBS show Charlie Rose: The Week, Kelly again voiced an objection to the feminist label and said that while she was "all for female empowerment," she thought it should come "not at the expense of men." Said Kelly:
I don't like the women who stand up for the empowerment of women at the expense of men. They try to demonize men and try to suggest men all want to keep us down, which is one of the reasons why I don't like that label "feminist."
(By the way, true feminism doesn't come at the expense of men.)
In that same interview, Kelly criticized liberal feminists for being intolerant and unsupportive of conservative women, citing it as part of her reason for rejecting the label:
That is what I mean by the feminism that I reject and I think those feminists would be well served to be a little more open minded when it comes to left and right in this country so they could get more women into the fold.
Following her stint moderating the Republican presidential debate in August, Kelly quickly became the target of the same type of aggressive sexist attacks she called Trump out for as critics attempted to label her a pawn of the "feminist agenda." In an interview with Howard Kurtz after the debate, Kelly said she raised the question not out of an interest in feminist issues, but because she thought it was an interesting point that would come up in the 2016 election cycle should Trump end up facing off against Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Said Kelly:
So maybe the questions that I came up with were interesting to me because I'm a woman. I don't know. I asked about the things that I thought were interesting and advanced the debate... I think it's a fair question no matter who asks it.
However, with the presidential election moving closer and closer to the Iowa caucuses — and few questions on women's reproductive rights raised at presidential debates — perhaps it's less important if Kelly is a feminist and more important that she is at least attempting to bring women's issues into the 2016 narrative.