Charlotte Hays

One might have thought beauty pageants, throwbacks to a pre-1960s world, would be political correctness-free zones. This is not the case as Marissa Powell—aka Miss Utah—learned the hard way Sunday night when she flubbed a politically-charged question at the Miss USA pageant.

The 21-year-old became an instant media sensation, ridiculed as a brainless beauty. The question was posed by Miss USA pageant judge and “Real Housewives” star NeNe Leakses. It could have been planted by the Obama administration. Note to mothers who aspire to turn their daughters into beauty pageant contestants: subscribe to Ms. magazine. It's boring and behind the times, but it'll come in handy when question time rolls around.

The New York Daily News labeled Powell’s deer-in-the-headlights performance “cringe inducing.” But you know what was really cringe-inducing? NeNe Leakses’s question.

Relying on a Pew study that she obviously hadn’t fully digested, Leakes asked a loaded question. “A recent report shows that in 40% of American families with children, women are the primary earners, yet they continue to earn less than men. What does it say about society?” Ms. Leakses wanted to know.

What does this question say about Ms. Leakses? Unlike Miss Utah, she had plenty of time to prepare for this moment in the spotlight, and yet she asked a question based on false information and ideology. The politically correct answer to the question is that women are victims of discrimination and we po’ things need more laws and bigger government to close the gender wage gap.

According to the wage gap theory, women earn only 77 cents on the dollar on what a man makes for the same work. This claim has been debunked time and time again, yet it lives on as a feminist urban legend. While some cling to guns and God, grievance feminist cling—for dear life—to the wage gap. And there’s a good reason for this: it is the most powerful tool in their arsenal when it comes to their political agenda.


Charlotte Hays

Director of Cultural Programs at the Independent Women's Forum.