“I don’t like that word Feminist… I think it’s alienating.” – 2/7/2016
Megyn Kelly was interviewed on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Sunday after the Superbowl. She went on to describe an excluding form of feminism – mainly that of what’s termed “white feminism.” It’s a limited form that usually ignores the plight of trans* women, WOC, and sometimes the lower class.
“I like more the Sheryl Sandberg approach…”
Sandberg’s tactics are, in my opinion, the wrong “approach.” Kelly explains that they take the most “divisive” issues to put on the table, see where they agree, but that’s not how you make progress. Sandberg appeals to the very feminism that Kelly just decried, one that ignores the issues of the underprivileged and the poor. Megyn seems to believe that “trying to be so good [that] they couldn’t ignore me” is the solution to women’s problems. It’s not. It ignores the advantages she has starting out as a white girl in a middle class background. It’s improbable that a black woman from a poor neighborhood could land a job where she is (The only one that comes to mind is Oprah, who uses her influence to help others).
It is not divisive if the sides are “cares deeply” and “ignorance of the issue.” Some upper-class women genuinely do not know what’s going on with other people. They stick to things that tell them about their lives and don’t venture out of their shell to look at others. If there is on the proverbial table an issue, say incarceration rates of black people, some people will say “Well, women are less likely to go to jail than men, so it’s not an issue for women.” That ignores that black women are incarcerated at a rate of three times that of white women. Race and gender issues are so hopelessly intermingled that if you ignore race when facing feminist issues, you are effectively shunning half of the battle for an easier time.
The way you make progress is to be inclusive of all issues. You look at the issues facing the least of us, and say “Okay. What can I do to make this better? How can I bring attention to this and empower these women?” As a TV host, Kelly is in the perfect position for this. Her audience may be ingrained in their ways due to their age, but even that audience can learn. The best way to approach issues is with compassion. Convince people that other people’s well-being is their interest.
Labels are important. Inclusivity for all women and equality between sexes regardless of color, class, or other factors needs to become what people think about when they hear the word “feminist.” Despite claims about her being a “reluctant feminist” (which she denies), Kelly doesn’t deserve even that claim. She still is rooting for the boy’s team, even if she doesn’t realize how much it hurts her.