There seems to be a discrepancy in the way people interpret the word “feminist.” There’s the more formal definition that scholars accept such as “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.” On the contrary there’s a social definition that everyday people use to interpret feminist: “A Nazi group of females who essentially hate the male species, don’t have sex, and want females to dominate everything in life.” Despite the variety individuals interpretations, everyone can agree that all feminist are fighting for equal gender rights and opportunity.
With feminism becoming extremely popular in the hip hop and pop culture, one artist definitely comes to mind: Beyonce. Beyonce Knowles has undeniably emerged as a famous person who openly identifies as a feminist. From her recent album to her performance, she has no issue adding a personal touch that truly screams “feminist.” For instance, the lyrics of her song “Flawless” rallies around the idea that woman should be seen equal, if not, greater to their male counters.
She sings, “I know when you were little girls, You dreamt of being in my world. Don’t forget it, don’t forget it, Respect that….I took some time to live my life but don’t think I’m just his little wife.”
Beyonce’s song even includes a sample of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED talk around woman empowerment.
Although many people admire Beyonce for embracing a more feminist lifestyle, she recently received a great deal of skepticism after a live VMA performance. During this performance, Beyonce used a massive, multi-national platform to demonstrate her roll as a feminist.
The discourse surrounding her performance was mostly positive, and since Beyonce has always been a beloved artist, it wasn’t surprising to notice her strong fan base overwhelming support.
Still, some critics claim that Beyonce should not have any association with feminism and some even go further claiming that she is de facto a woman who contributes to females being seen as sexual beings.
While it is true that Beyonce incorporates sex appeal in her songs and performances, people must realize that this is only apart of Beyonce’s stage identity. They must look at other facets of her life to determine if she is able to call herself a feminist. In actuality, she appears to contribute greatly to woman’s advancement, especially since she is a mother, a wife and a “buisnesswoman” simultaneously. As far as I’m concerned, her stage personality and home personality should not clash when people start questioning her role as a feminist.
Another facet of feminism, in my opinion, is the fight for free expression. Beyonce is obviously expressing herself in a manner that she wishes, and this could actually serve as a lesson to woman who feel they must confine to the extremely conservative role that society expects them fulfill. In a society that expects woman to be classy while men are free to express their sexuality, it’s good that Beyonce is only performing her song in a way that highlights her sex appeal. Perhaps Beyonce could help add on to the definition of “feminist” and serve as a catalyst for a larger feminist movement.
Do you personally feel that Beyonce is contributing to the Feminist movement? Do you feel that her incorporation of sex appeal deters the audience from jumping onto the feminist movement? What is your overall definition of a feminist?