If a feminist like Gloria Steinem or Cecile Richards were to ever find themselves in front of the bench of Judge Judy, the tough, no-nonsense gavel-pounder would send them into the arms of the nearest bailiff crying. Despite her tough edge, however, Judge Judy does not include herself among the ranks of modern feminists. Like Mary Tyler Moore, another strong woman, Judge Judy rejects the feminist label.
Speaking with Megyn Kelly earlier this week, Judge Judy Sheindlin refused to label herself a feminist for a variety of reasons, most especially because it diminishes the individual.
"When I was growing up and going to school and being a lawyer and trying to become a judge and becoming a judge and then becoming a supervising judge, I didn’t do it through any organization," she said. "I think it takes away from your own self-worth, if you say 'I did it based on the work of a larger group.'"
Judge Judy said it would be like having the "safety net" of a "large family," which she admits is nice, but it reduces the agency of the individual.
"It’s nice to have a safety net," she added, "But if you don’t have your own self-worth, and forge for yourself, that safety net, all it can do is give you the bottom. That’s what makes me say I’m really not a feminist."
Judge Judy opted to describe herself, instead, as an "individualist."
"I think that individuals each have within themselves the capacity to be the hero of their own story," she said. "It doesn’t always have to be a star of a television program to be the hero of your own story. You want be a doctor, a lawyer, an Indian chief. Whatever you want to be, you can be the best at it, be the most recognized in that profession."
Judge Judy urged people to be great wherever they find themselves: parent, son, daughter, wife, or husband.
"Be a great family person, be a great parent, be a great child, be a great citizen, be a great volunteer," she added. "That can make you a hero. That doesn’t take a village. That takes an individual spirit."
"I think everybody has it in within themselves to do that," she concluded.