Q&A: Meghan McCain Talks Feminism and New TV Show

September 11, 2013 | by Simona Rabinovitch | Talk of the Town

Meghan McCain, Raising McCain   
Meghan McCain (photo: Kevin Lynch)  

From same sex marriage to millennial veterans and the effect "sexting" has on dating, Meghan McCain's new talk show covers what matters most to her generation. Intelligent, fun, and decidedly "not preachy," each episode of Raising McCain explores a hot topic, with the help of a revolving cast of expert guest hosts. Certainly, the New York-based daughter of senator John McCain has never shied away from expressing opinions she's passionate about, and her new role as talk show host is no exception. In advance of the September 14 premiere of Raising McCain on the Pivot network (10 p.m.), we spoke to McCain about millennials, post-feminism, and what her dad thinks of the show. 

So where did the idea for Raising McCain first come from?
MEGHAN MCCAIN: I always wanted to do a talk show for young people. When I was growing up I used to really love MTV News . . . The VJs discussed really important issues—politics, AIDS in America, and things that really impacted my life.

How do you pick the show's topics?
MM: When we first went into meetings with my producers, it was as simple as one of my girlfriends screen-shot this guy sexting her and said, 'What am I supposed to do? I like him, but we've only been out on that one date. What is he doing?' And I started laughing and I was like, 'Technology is killing dating.' And I looked at my producers and I said, 'Ding! That's an idea for a show.' Every single episode has some inspiration that's literally from my life . . . Am I a feminist? Am I allowed to be a feminist? I want a man in my life and I'm a republican and all these different things.

Speaking of being a feminist, these days the word has gotten a bad rep. What does being a feminist mean to you?  
MM: You know, it's so funny, that was the inspiration for [an] episode, because I didn't know if I was allowed to consider myself a feminist. I had been asked that question when I had given speeches before, by college students, and I always considered myself a feminist, but I had a lot of pushback. You can't be a republican, you can't be pro-life, and still be a feminist . . . For me, it's just about wanting equality to men, period, in every single form. I consider myself a post-feminist, which I think more accurately describes the average American woman . . . I want the same options a man has in this world.

These are topics that provoke thought and inspire debate. How will you deal with the critics?
MM: It's a half-hour show, but we try to get as many different opinions as possible . . . I'm not here to lecture anyone, I'm not here to preach, I'm not here to say I know more than you, I'm just here with questions and I want everyone to come along and help me try to find the answers. I anticipate that everything I do is controversial—it's just my life . . . But I hope more people, especially women, find something they relate to in it than not. I'd rather take a risk and do something I believe in than be scared of critics.

The show targets millennials, but what does your dad think of the show?
MM: My dad watched the first few episodes and I was shocked how much he liked it. I was quite nervous, because I swear on the show and I'm much wilder than I am around my dad on camera. And he's 77 years old and he really liked it! 

Raising McCain Sneak Peek: 

Raising McCain debuts September 14 on the new Pivot network at 10 p.m. ET.

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