Objectively, the fact that the new Miss USA is a black woman, a nuclear scientist, and an advocate for science education is pretty fantastic. Miss District of Columbia Kára McCullough dazzled her way to her crowning moment, but unfortunately not without perpetuating one of the oldest myths about feminism as an ideology.
In response to the question, "What do you consider feminism to be and do you consider yourself a feminist?", McCullough took a moment before responding with:
"As a woman scientist in the government, I'd like to transpose the word feminism to equalism. I try not to consider myself this diehard, like, I don't really care about men."
McCullough then went on to explain that she not only appreciated, but wanted to inspire more women in and into leadership roles, especially in her own field of science. But by equating feminism with hating men, she inadvertently dismisses not just the many men who identify as feminists, but more importantly diminishes the gender equality that feminism has championed over the years—including workplace equality.
Twitter users quickly chimed in with their "Girl, what…" reactions. (Many of the responses also side-eyed McCullough's assertion that healthcare is a privilege, not a right.)
For those users who found fault with McCullough's equalist answer, they latched onto Miss New Jersey Chhavi Verg's response to the same question:
"I do consider myself a feminist. There's this misconception when people that feminism is women being better than men, but it's really not. It's a fight for equality."
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