This story was originally posted on May 15, 2017, and updated May 17, 2017.
In an interview with Cosmopolitan, Kára McCullough, who was crowned Miss USA 2017 this week, corrected her earlier statements regarding feminism.
McCullough told the pageant's host that she was an "equalist," rather than a feminist, which was met with harsh backlash.
In an attempt to clarify, she told the magazine:
"And I’m all about women’s rights. Yes, I would have to say I am a feminist. But, when I look at the term 'equalism,' [I used it] because I’ve seen firsthand in the workplace that we need those equal opportunities when it comes to leadership.
"And you know, the word [feminism] can carry different connotations [depending on what] generation you come from, or what background, but I don’t want anyone to think I’m not an active [supporter of] women’s rights. If anyone wants to challenge me on that, please call me."
Spring.St originally wrote:
The new Miss USA is not only a stunning human being, she's also a woman of color and a nuclear scientist.
That's a major combination any day, but particularly so for a beauty pageant with a reputation for lacking in diversity.
But during Miss District of Columbia Kára McCullough's journey to receiving her crown, she had some confusing, even disappointing things to say. When the competition's host asked her, "What do you consider feminism to be and do you consider yourself a feminist?" McCullough replied:
"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."
Though she went on to discuss her hope of encouraging more women to enter the sciences, her answer immediately received harsh backlash on social media.
What's wrong with being a feminist Miss DC USA!?!? Who says feminists hate men? Gurl!!! pic.twitter.com/jr5Hc5p2DN
— Makho Ndlovu (@makhondlovu)
when the winner of Miss USA says she doesn't believe in feminism and that health care is a privilege (not a human right) pic.twitter.com/MTfDbeGz0H
— KG (@KayyGoode)
It seems McCullough's heart was in the right place; however, she's clearly unaware that the term "feminism" already has the term "equalism" built right in.
How you going to be Miss USA and not know the definition of feminism?
— Briana (@gibbsbellis)
And what's more, by suggesting that feminism has anything to do with hating men, she is helping to perpetuate the stereotype of the feminist as man-hater.
McCullough is not the first to misunderstand feminism and she certainly won't be the last—but these misconceptions help to further reiterate its true definition.
And let's face it, we could all use a refresher.
H/t: Marie Claire