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On Sunday night, scientist Kara McCullough was crowned Miss USA 2017—but not before sharing several controversial political opinions. Among them: Healthcare is “a privilege” for Americans.
McCullough, who works for the United States Nuclear Regulatory and represented Washington, D.C., sparked outrage on social media after she was asked if “affordable health care for all U.S. citizens is a right or a privilege” during the pageant.
“I’m definitely going to say it’s a privilege,” she replied. “As a government employee, I am granted healthcare and I see first-hand that for one to have healthcare, you have to have jobs. So therefore, we need to continue to cultivate this environment that we’re given the opportunity to have healthcare as well as jobs to all American citizens worldwide.”
McCullough also claimed that she isn’t a feminist. According to her, men and women face equal conditions in the workplace. Instead, she calls herself an “equalist.”
“I don’t want to call myself a feminist,” she said. “Women, we are just as equal as men, especially in the workplace.”
She then went on to clarify what she believes feminism means: “I don’t really want to consider myself—try not to consider myself like this die-hard, you know, like, ‘Oh, I don’t really care about men.’ But one thing I’m gonna say, though, is women, we are just as equal as men when it comes to opportunity in the workplace.”
McCullough’s comments are particularly controversial, as some fear that as Miss USA, she may send unrealistic messages about healthcare access and women’s rights to young girls across the nation.
Miss DC didnt win @MissUSA she represented Miss VA. Since when did being a Feminist equal to "not liking men"? & healthcare is a privilege?— Big Dawg (@DippedIn_Sunni) May 15, 2017
Congrats to the newly crowned Miss USA who believes healthcare is a privilege and feminism hates men. pic.twitter.com/PzXQK3NRIE— Micia Girl (@_miciagirl) May 15, 2017
The thing about Miss DC is she's correct--healthcare IS still a privilege, not a right. It's just that that's what's wrong with our system.— maura quint (@behindyourback) May 15, 2017
Conservatives, on the other hand, praised her. Fox & Friends immediately took up for her this morning, arguing that liberal viewers should support McCullough because she represents “true diversity.”
Others say that McCullough seems like the perfect spokesperson for the current state of our country, run by a man who not only wants to gut the Affordable Care Act but also used to own the Miss USA pageant.
Ana Valens is a reporter specializing in online queer communities, marginalized identities, and adult content creation. She is Daily Dot's Trans/Sex columnist. Her work has appeared at Vice, Vox, Truthout, Bitch Media, Kill Screen, Rolling Stone, and the Toast. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and spends her free time developing queer adult games.