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Gretchen Carlson: Miss America Princess Turned Courageous Woman

Why Gretchen Carlson has inspired to be the woman I am today

By: Rheagan Chapman


Gretchen Carlson is a fearless feminist icon who stands up for women’s rights. I remember when I heard about Carlson for the first time. It was in 2016 and I was a senior in high school. The story broke that Carlson filed a lawsuit against former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes claiming sexual harassment. Carlson did work for Fox News at the time and was tired of being silenced. Because of Carlson’s bravery, dozens of women stepped forward to tell their stories about their experiences with Ailes.

Standing Up For What’s Right

Gretchen Carlson speaking at the HOLT Lectures to talk about the importance of female empowerment.
Gretchen Carlson

Gretchen Carlson is an extremely brave woman. It’s funny to think she started her career crying when she won the Miss America pageant in 1988. Her bold actions to stand up against a very powerful man to tell her truth is very admirable. Roger Ailes could have ruined her career, but she wanted to take that chance so women wouldn’t be scared to come forward and speak their truths. Women like Carlson are walking proof that women don’t have to stay silent in the workplace.

Take Your Power Back

Carlson doesn’t just speak up for women when it comes to sexual harassment. She stands up for men too, “Men aren’t always just the perpetrators of sexual harassment – they can be victims, too. It should be clear by now that this isn’t a women’s issue. It’s a human issue.” Her determination to fight for what’s right is very moving. After reading her book, “Be Fierce: Stop Harassment and Take Your Power Back” you will understand that she won’t stop fighting for the greater good until sexual harassment is no longer a problem.

Philanthropic and Public Work

Carlson flashing her pearly whites for her book cover photoshoot.

Carlson also does a lot of philanthropic work. She created the “Gift of Courage Fund” when she partnered with All In Together to create the Gretchen Carlson Leadership Initiative (GCLI). The program’s focus is to bring leadership training to underserved women across the country. She serves on the board of many other nonprofit organizations, including holding the position as Miss America’s chairwomen at one point. Her selflessness to serve on these committees is awe-inspiring. It’s not a shock that she was named on of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. As a woman who has had similar experiences like Carlson, she has inspired me to come forward with my truth and to not let anyone else take it away from me. 16-year-old me had no idea that the first headline I read about her would be so impactful in my life. She has influenced me when it comes to my career, as well. She is the reason why I would love to work for a women’s nonprofit organization that is against sexual harassment.



About the Author

Rheagan Chapman is a public relations major at the University of North Texas. She is expected to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in May 2021.