This weekend, moviegoers flocked to Wonder Woman, the story of a warrior princess of divine origin who leaves her island of women to help Chris Pine end World War I. DC Comics’ Diana is outspoken without being bawdy, tough without being cruel, just without being self-righteous. She is the perfect celluloid hero for an age of shattered hope and intact glass ceilings. To gild this feminist bedtime story, the film’s monster $200 million opening weekend means it’s now the highest-grossing opening weekend for a film directed by a woman. The previous record holder was Fifty Shades of Grey.
Meanwhile, far from Themyscira, another woman preceded by her own mythos tried her hand at wrangling the lasso of truth. But things didn’t go so well for her.
Megyn Kelly’s much-hyped interview with Vladimir Putin aired Sunday during the debut of her new show on NBC. It’s not fair to say the interview landed with a thud; thuds are often disruptive and occasionally important. More accurately, the interview landed with a whimper.
Feminists have long had a complicated relationship with Megyn Kelly. On one hand, she’s a woman who improbably climbed the slime-soaked ladder at Fox News, a person who isn’t afraid to confront and humiliate apoplectic men, be it on her former Fox show or on the stage of a presidential primary debate. She’s stood up for maternity leave, spoken eloquently about sexual assault victims, and working mothers. But then there was the whole “Santa was white” thing. And her strange obsession with the New Black Panthers. And her silence during the Ailes scandal, and the fact that she withheld some anecdotes about Donald Trump—anecdotes that could have been materially important to some voters—until her book was published on the day after the election.
And, of course, there’s the fact that Kelly herself has said that she doesn’t like the label “feminist.” She told Stephen Colbert that she finds it alienating. Like Kellyanne Conway and Ivanka Trump, Megyn Kelly is a great example of the benefits of feminism, but not a great example of the work of feminism.
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