The Miss USA 2017 pageant was last night, and for the second year in a row, Miss District of Columbia won the title.
Kára McCullough, 25, is a graduate of South Carolina State University and works at the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission as a chemist.
The first runner-up was Miss New Jersey, Chhavi Verg, and the second runner-up was Miss Minnesota, Meridith Gould.
The pageant was hosted by Julianne Hough, Ashley Graham and Terrence J, and it was pretty painless in terms of controversy. (There were no Steve Harvey-like snafus.)
And the pageant was judged by former Miss USA/Universe Brooke Lee, best-selling author and advocate Janet Mock, TV personality/fashion guru Carson Kressley, Crisis Text Line CEO/Founder Nancy Lublin, model Halima Aden and fashion expert/TV personality Jeannie Mai.
It was also Mother's Day, so we saw a lot of pageant moms supporting their daughters and looking really happy to be there. It was nice. Pitbull also performed. I kind of forgot he existed.
This year's show was also one of the most diverse ever. All of the black women in the pageant made it into the top 10, and the runner-up, Miss New Jersey, is Indian and spoke in Hindi during parts of the competition. And of course, McCullough took home the crown.
I said there were no Steve Harvey-like snafus, but that doesn't mean the show was free of controversy. McCullough's answers to some of her questions in the Q&A portion of the night are not pleasing the internet.
McCullough has an awesome platform for her stint as Miss USA. She wants to promote more women and young girls taking an interest in science and math and engineering. That's all great. Love it. 10/10.
But what wasn't great was her misguided answer about feminism and her answer about healthcare.
When asked what feminism means to her and if she identifies as a feminist, McCullough said,
So as a woman scientist in the government, I'd like to transpose the word feminism to equalism. I don't really want to consider myself, I try not to consider myself, like, this diehard, 'I don't really care about men.' But one thing I'm going to say is, though, women we are just as equal as men when it comes to opportunity in the workplace. And I say firsthand I have witnessed the impact that women have in leadership in the medical scientists as well as just in the office environment. So as Miss USA I would hope to promote that type of leadership responsibility globally to so many women worldwide.
Ughhhh. Feminism isn't about hating men. In fact, men are vital to feminism. This response didn't please the internet.
Miss New Jersey had a much better answer. She said,
It's a misconception when people believe that feminism is women being better than men… It's a fight for equality, and we need to realize that if we want a stable society for every single individual, we need to be equal.
All of the contestants were on stage while the others gave their answers, but they were wearing noise-canceling headphones. It's just serendipitous that New Jersey's answer completely refuted DC's.
Miss DC had another answer the internet didn't like.
When asked about her beliefs about whether healthcare was a right or a privilege, she said it was a privilege. Girl, really? Come on.
I'm definitely going to say it's a privilege. As a government employee, I am granted healthcare and I see firsthand that to have healthcare, you need to have jobs.
The internet didn't sit on this one either. When McCullough won over Miss New Jersey, Chhavi Verg — you know, the one who gave the correct answer about feminism — people were pretty upset. Many believed Verg's answers set her above McCullough and that she should have taken home the crown.
McCullough is getting a lot of flack today for these answers, so we'll have to wait and see if she comments on them.
But for now, I'm gonna go follow Miss New Jersey on Twitter.