2017 Miss USA Competition

Source: Ethan Miller / Getty

Miss District Of Columbia, Kara McCullough, won last night’s Miss USA pageant but lost me during the Q&A portion of the competition.

The rocket scientist turned pageant queen delivered a disappointing response when host Terrence J asked, ‘What do you consider feminism to be and do you consider yourself a feminist?’

Her answer screamed peak ‘pick me.’

What’s a ‘pick me’, you ask?  It’s a phrase I added to my vernacular during an insomnia plagued Twitter scroll late at night a couple of weeks ago. Basically, the term defines a group of women who lurk in real life and in the comment sections of IG and FB to side with men who are throwing out misogynistic statements about women’s ‘roles.’

‘Pick Me’s are Hotep adjacent. The cool girls.

For example, Hotep one says,  “My woman needs to cook and clean all the time to keep me happy” and a ‘pick me’ perks up with a “Yes, women need to be cooking and cleaning. Women who don’t do it are going to run off their men.”

Another hypothetical f*ck boy says “Men cheat because women don’t keep their bodies up.” and the ‘pick me’ jumps in with a “I always make sure I’m in shape because I need to keep my man happy.”

‘Pick me’s’ exist to keep men comfortable. They adjust their behavior, stance and appearance accordingly to appease men versus themselves.

When I heard McCullough not only reject the term ‘feminism,’ but simplify it into a “die-hard, aww I don’t really care about men,” definition I was taken aback to say the least.

Her comment echoed men’s worst fears about feminism–which is that we’re all a brood of bra burning, man-hating women, whose mission for equality takes away from their agency as men.

And you know, if sis had said she doesn’t rock with feminism because the foundations of the movement were rooted in Whiteness and lacked intersectionality, I could understand. But instead, she spit out a definition of feminism that undermines the entire movement.

Reducing feminism to ‘equalism’ is the digestible response that probably won her the crown. But feminism wasn’t meant to be easily digestible and acceptable, hell, fighting for equal rights against the bullshit of patriarchy is hard.

So no, feminism does not need to be ‘transposed with equalism’ to make the word more palatable for men. You can’t make statements like ‘women are equal in the workplace’ when in reality they are not. Furthermore, you can’t replace ‘feminism’ with ‘equalism’ because the word scares fragile men and/or beauty pageant judges.

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