There is only one thing wrong with Megyn Kelly’s completely excellent response to Erick Erickson’s Magical Scientific Discovery That Women Should Stay Home and Just Be Moms Because Science Appeared to Erick Erickson In a Burning Bush and Said So.

You can watch it below, with Kelly taking on both Lou Dobbs and Erickson, using Actual Scientific Fact and Great Correctness, of the sort that makes you want to capitalize a lot of words erratically.

But in the course of observing that:
• all the science suggests that having mothers in the workforce is in no way detrimental to kids’ development
• why shouldn’t both men and women be allowed to be breadwinners?
• to maintain otherwise is both ignorant and judgy in the extreme (“I don’t view it as judging,” Erickson says. “I view it as a statement of fact.”)
• women don’t have to stay at home and nurture Erick Erickson’s children if they don’t want to, although if that’s their choice it’s perfectly fine, too
• and asking Erickson, “What makes you dominant and me submissive?”
she casually notes, “I don’t describe myself as a feminist.”

Kelly: I know on your blog you talk about how you believe it’s feminists and … I don’t know what the word is … uh, something, some sort of liberals, eco-liberals, what did you call them?
Erickson: Emo-liberal …
Kelly: I don’t know what that is. I don’t think I’m an emo-liberal and I don’t describe myself as a feminist but I will tell you I was offended by your piece nonetheless. I didn’t like what you wrote one bit and I do think you are judging people.

Well, actually, you are a feminist. As my colleague Jessica Goldstein put it: “Do you believe men and women deserve equal rights? Do you believe women should be given the same protections and opportunities as men are afforded under the law? Do you believe you should not be discriminated against just because you’re a women? OMG YOU’RE A FEMINIST!” Congratulations.

I just wish Kelly would say so. Otherwise, people like Erickson get to define what you think of when you hear “feminist,” and instead of picturing a normal, attractive person like Megyn Kelly, you conjure up this mythical “emo-lefty” beast who hasn’t been seen since the ’70s, if even then, who sits chanting about her hatred of all menkind around a giant bonfire of bras.

Here’s one I drew in MS Paint earlier.


Not drawn to scale; should be crushing small city underfoot.

Feminist is one of those words that most often shows up in the sentence “I’m not a feminist, but…” Just like Kelly. Sorry, I’m going to have to stop you there. You are. It’s like saying “I’m not a racist, but…” Usually, you should just cut yourself off at that point. There is no good way out of that sentence, except maybe a total non-sequitur, like, “I’m not a racist, but … hey, look, there goes a squirrel!”

And every time you refuse to say you’re a feminist, even when you are in the course of saying a tremendously feminist thing, “feminism” stops being “a common-sense belief that men and women deserve to be given equal rights and opportunities” and becomes this Weird Terrifying Category of Loonies just east of “emo-liberals.” The mythical beast grows stronger the more normal people deny the label, because “feminists” are horrible harridans who want to skin all men alive. Definitely don’t ask them about science! They’re women. They wouldn’t know.

That’s nonsense.

Feminists: They’re just like us. Feminists are normal people. To be feminist is just common sense. It’s not asking for special rights or maintaining that men should be thrown into a giant pit of grizzlies and women be allowed to Rule The Land. You don’t have to sign up for a special mailing list or go to any rallies. If you say what Kelly said, if you think that Erickson and his ilk shouldn’t get off scot-free after insisting that it’s a “statement of fact” that mothers in the workforce are Ruining Everything, hey: well done, you’re a feminist. Welcome to the fold, Megyn.

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day.