Meghan McCain used to really bother me. I thought the only reason she had become a well known political commentator was because her father, John McCain, was a prominent politician. It’s obvious that she’s worked hard to brand herself as a new, young voice of the Republican party. I thought that most of her positions on issues were carefully calculated to help her achieve that image. This interview she just did with Playboy is an example of that – she has some good things to say, but she’s trying hard to seem cool and relatable.
But I’m starting to respect her quite a bit. Being very liberal myself, I disagree with Meghan McCain on many issues. But she supports marriage equality, and although she is anti-abortion, she’s very pro-birth control. Recently, she appeared on the Rachel Maddow show to speak out against the Virginia bill that would have required women seeking abortions to have a transvaginal ultrasound first. That’s an unnecessary and invasive procedure. Luckily, that part of the bill was eventually changed. But here’s what Meghan McCain had to say about it:
“I’m pro-life. I’m not pro-vaginal probing. I feel like I have to go on television and delineate between the two things. I’m horrified by the bill as a woman, as a Republican woman, I’m horrified. It scares me that this can go on, it scares me that a woman can be vaginally probed without consent or a doctor’s consent.”
And she also said this about birth control:
“I always say the best way to prevent abortions is supply birth control. I’m pro-birth control, something that alienated me with pro-lifers, but I’m not an extremist.”
I really respect her for taking that stand on women’s issues. The discussions about women’s health this election season have truly scared me. Seeing as almost every single woman I know is on birth control, I never thought we’d be debating whether or not women should be using it. But we are, and not only is it frustrating and insulting, it’s distracting from issues like the economy. So I’m glad that someone is standing up to the creepy boys’ club that the Republican party has become. And I’m especially glad that someone is a young woman.
Meghan McCain has also faced a lot of criticism about her body. Last year, Glenn Beck mimed vomiting on his TV show after watching a skin cancer PSA that McCain did. She also faced attacks from the Twitterverse after tweeting a picture of herself in a tank top. She’s handled all the controversy with class, and admitted that the criticism led her to see a therapist:
“Now I’m very sensitive to any pictures taken of myself at photoshoots and whatever because the Internet has this very weird … especially people in politics … this very weird reaction to my body because I’m not super skinny, I have large breasts, I know, they’re real, I can’t do anything about it, and like the Internet just has this really weird reaction to my body … I’ve seen a therapist about it.”
I think her openness and honesty about the media’s reaction to her body is important. It’s an unfortunate reality that women are often criticized based on their appearance in situations when it shouldn’t matter. It isn’t fair, and it can be seriously damaging. It’s a brave thing to stand up to that, and at the same time admit that it really hurt.
So I’ll be paying more attention to Meghan McCain. I’d feel a lot more comfortable about the future of our country if the Republican presidential candidates sounded more like her and less like… all of the Republican candidates.
Garnet is a student at Columbia University in New York City. She is “that person” who starts dancing at a party when everyone else is standing around, and if there were a Facebook stalking Olympics, she would be a gold medalist. She also loves cheesy 90s music, and almost died of happiness when Vanilla Ice retweeted her. Once. Follow her on Twitter @garnethenderson.