After much backlash, the newly crowned Miss USA is taking back the controversial answers she gave on Tuesday in response to two questions posed during the pageant's interview portion.
When asked if she thought affordable healthcare for all U.S. citizens is a right or a privilege, Kara McCullough answered, "I'm definitely going to say it's a privilege. As a government employee, I am granted health care and I see firsthand that for one to have health care, you need to have jobs. So, therefore, we need to continue to cultivate this environment [so] that we’re given the opportunity to have health care as well as jobs [for] all the American citizens worldwide."
The answer invoked backlash from universal healthcare advocates. Subsequently, the 25-year-old scientist went on Good Morning America to modify her comments, now saying, that healthcare should be a "right" for all. “I am privileged to have healthcare and I do believe that it should be a right...I hope and pray moving forward that health care is a right for all worldwide,” she said.
When asked during Tuesday's Miss USA broadcast if she considered herself a feminist, the South Carolina State University graduate said, “I don’t want to call myself a feminist. ... Women, we are just as equal as men, especially in the workplace.” She went on to say that she would like to “transpose” the term “feminism” to “equalism.” In her interview with GMA, McCullough said, "I don’t want anyone to look at it as if I’m not all about women’s rights because I am... We deserve a lot when it comes to opportunity in the workplace as well as just like leadership positions. I’ve seen and witnessed firsthand the impact that women have.”
Regarding her initial recommendation to substitute the term feminism for "equalism," McCullough said, "For me, where I work at with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, ‘equalism’ is more of a term of understanding that no matter your gender, you are still just kind of given the same accolades on your work...I believe that if a person does a good job, they should be, you know, credited for that in a sense."
It seems as if McCullough is basing her perspectives regarding health care and feminism, not on their broader, historical implications, but on her own individual experiences, as a 25-year old "government employee."