Megyn Kelly and Stephen Colbert discussed feminism during their interview on Sunday’s post-Super Bowl edition of The Late Show.
The Fox News host was asked by Colbert how she felt about being a “reluctant feminist icon,” and navigating around the opinions placed upon her by both liberals and conservatives.
“Well, I don’t like that word: feminist,” Kelly told Colbert, who then asked her to explain.
“I think it’s alienating,” she continued. “The reason I think that is because it’s been co-opted by some people who don’t want you in their club unless you see certain women’s issues the way they see them. I think that’s alienating. I like more of the Sheryl Sandberg approach, where it’s take the most divisive issues and table those and see what we can agree on as women.”
Kelly added that her “own brand of feminism, if that’s what it is,” is for women to perform at a higher level for themselves. “I love the Steve Martin motto, which is: ‘Be so good they can’t ignore you,'” she said. “I was never lined up outside of my bosses office saying give me an opportunity, there’s not a woman in primetime. … I was just trying to be so good they couldn’t ignore me. The best answer and the best way forward to young women out there who want to get ahead is work your tail off. Work harder than everybody. Be better than everybody else. Do better. Try harder.”
After the interview aired, Kelly responded to a man on Twitter who had cited her seeming privilege in asking what “avg” women should to in order to succeed.
“My dad died when I was 15. I put myself thru law school w/loans,” she wrote. “My mom was a nurse. Anyone can pull themselves up.”
Kelly has long discussed her views on the term feminism, telling GQ in a 2010 interview that she didn’t love the word because it “connotes a harshness and almost a shrillness that I find unattractive.”
“I respect women like Gloria Steinem who paved the way,” Kelly said in 2010. “But when you say ‘feminist’ now, there is a message that if you are sexy and you acknowledge that part of your personality publicly, then it’s somehow an affront to women. And I reject that.”
In October of last year, during an interview with Charlie Rose, Kelly explained how she wasn’t an “issues advocate,” but that she was “all for female empowerment and not at the expense of men.”
“I don’t like the women who stand up for the empowerment of women at the expense of men,” she said to Rose. “They try to demonize men and they try to suggest men all want to keep us down which is one of the reasons why I don’t like that label feminist.”
Check out the full episode of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert at the CBS website.