Often criticized by liberals as being easily distracted, openly partisan and prone to panic over inanities—recall her “Santa Claus is white!” fiasco—Megyn Kelly is rarely thought of as a feminist icon. However, the first round of Republican primary debates seems to have brought out a tough, feminist side to Kelly, and she is being applauded for it, even in liberal circles.
In the most basic sense of the word Megyn Kelly is clearly a feminist. She is one of the superstars of the media world—occupying a high profile job in a male dominated industry is pretty feminist—she is a working mother of three, she has been married twice, meaning divorce (gasp!) and with it the dissolution of all those traditional family values FOX holds so dear. While she may be a feminist in her personal life, Kelly doesn’t seem to support the causes that many feminists view as inextricable from feminism. Working for FOX, it is assumed (though perhaps it shouldn’t be) that she isn’t pro-choice, that she doesn’t support birth control or Planned Parenthood. Worst of all, because she works for FOX it is assumed that Megyn Kelly willingly supports and enforces a structure of male power that is inherently anti-feminist, and which uses women as decoration.
After last week’s debate it may be worth considering the idea that Megyn Kelly is more complex than the classic liberal analysis of FOX anchors may suggest—or at least that if she isn’t, that she does have a breaking point. Overall, Kelly was a pretty tough moderator at the GOP primary debate. However, one question directed at Trump stood out, and has drawn her praise in the aftermath; it is quoted in part below.
“You call women you don’t like ‘fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals.’ You once told a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice it would be a pretty picture to see her on her knees. Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect as president, and how will you answer the charges from Hillary Clinton, who is likely to be the Democratic nominee, that you are part of the war on women?”
That question is wonderfully feminist. Kelly concedes a war on women, and she calls out Donald Trump for being sexist. In comparison to the triumph that was Kelly’s question, Trump’s response was largely irrelevant. He waffled, mentioned Rosie O’Donnell, belittled Kelly a bit, and then pretended he didn’t have enough time to be “politically correct.”
It is worth noting that Kelly faced significant blow back online from conservatives after the debate. The most significant criticism coming from Trump himself, who in a CNN interview discussing the debate said the following:
“She gets out and starts asking me all sorts of ridiculous questions. You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her…wherever.”
Overwhelmingly this response was taken to be a poorly disguised reference to menstruation. Trump received backlash on Twitter, including from many other GOP primary contenders. The Donald later went on to clarify his statement, saying that he was referring to Kelly’s nose.
If he had a different track record with women, perhaps Trump’s clarification would have merited some consideration. Instead, it has been largely dismissed as the latest in a series of poor cover-ups for his rampantly sexist comments.
In the first episode of her show following the debate, Kelly briefly and tactfully addressed the incident; she refused to apologize for doing her job well, and moved past the whole thing. #News #Television