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There are two versions of Megyn Kelly. The first, portrayed in the upcoming American drama Bombshell, displays Kelly (Charlize Theron) as the Fox News savior bullied by then-President-Elect Donald Trump who helps take down Fox News Chairman & CEO Roger Ailes for sexual harassment. The second, which doesn't make it on screen, is the woman who would end up leaving Fox News for rival network NBC and later fired for her on-air comments defending blackface (opens in new tab) that continue to face harsh criticism today.
These conflicting perceptions of Kelly make it difficult to know what to believe about her ideologies. However, when it comes to feminism, those most familiar with Kelly Version Two will rest assured that Bombshell is, in fact, remarkably accurate when Theron's character declares, "I'm not a feminist. I'm a lawyer." You heard it loud and clear: Megyn Kelly does not consider herself a feminist.
In November, Kelly further proved this statement by quote-tweeting (opens in new tab) an article about Dolly Parton refusing to label herself as a feminist: "What some don’t understand is saying u are a feminist may imply an endorsement of certain social values not every woman shares. A woman like Dolly - & me FWIW - can be for female empowerment, see men as our partners & avoid the F word. Enough w/the labels."
What some don’t understand is saying u are a feminist may imply an endorsement of certain social values not every woman shares. A woman like Dolly - & me FWIW - can be for female empowerment, see men as our partners & avoid the F word. Enough w/the labels. https://t.co/m0JihToNDyNovember 25, 2019
This is not a new revelation from Kelly, who has been described as a fair-weather feminist (opens in new tab). In her 2016 memoir Settle for More (opens in new tab), Kelly emphasizes, "My problem with the word feminist is that it’s exclusionary and alienating...Why do we have to make the most divisive issues a key part of the feminist platform?"
The Cut's 2016 follow-up article (opens in new tab), "What Should Feminists Make of Megyn Kelly?" does a great job at outlining the blurred lines that comes with her anti-feminism talking points vs. her feminist actions, like encouraging women's empowerment and equal pay. It makes it even more confusing when you have an entire movie portraying her as a hero sacrificing her reputation for her female colleagues.
Feminist label or not, let us not forget the actual definition of feminism: the equality of sexes. Megyn, you with us?
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Rachel Epstein is a former editor at Marie Claire, where she wrote and edited culture, politics, and lifestyle stories ranging from op-eds to profiles to ambitious packages. She also launched and managed the site’s virtual book club, #ReadWithMC. Offline, she’s likely watching a Heat game or finding a new coffee shop.
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