So Beyoncé is a feminist. She identifies as one. This is both great and problematic. It’s great because she influences whallops of young girlies (and boys too) all the way from little to teenager to even in their twenties and thirties. We love Queen Bey. So her coming out as a feminist is great because it means all these people across the globe who idolise her for various reasons are now going to think that feminism is something to explore, something that maybe is as cool as Beyoncé. It helps take away some of the taboo behind identifying as a feminist. Beyoncé doesn’t have hairy pits, or want to kill all men, say the teenage girls. Maybe being a feminist is a good thing! GREAT. That’s great.
But it’s also problematic because a lot of what Beyoncé says and does is not all that empowering for women or in line with the plight of women. There was the controversy over Beyoncé and Jay-Z singing the version of Drunk in Love involving those horrid lyrics which trivialise, sexualise, glorify a scene of domestic violence.
And then there’s what brought this to my mind in the first place: her GIRL POWER revolution songs which are celebratory to the point of ludicrousness. I know she is helping make thousands, millions of girls who have felt insecure, fat, weak, unloved, feel E M P O W E R E D and that’s amazing, I really think that is good, but she’s doing it at a cost, and the cost is that the message suggests the war is won.
Not even. The message Beyoncé sends is that there was no war. That we’re in charge. She doesn’t reference the battles past, and she certainly doesn’t acknowledge how very far we have to go.
I’m not saying it makes me love her any less, but yesterday was International Women’s Day, and my social network newsfeeds were kind of a patchwork of various WHORUNTHEWORLD hashtags and links to this song, and it just really didn’t please me. I’ve been unsettled about this message of Beyoncé’s, and in particular that song, for a while.
Luckily I’m not alone in my dissatisfaction. (This is a GREAT video explaining the dangers of Beyoncé’s GIRL POWER attitude, and I highly recommend you give it a look/listen.)
Happy belated International Women’s Day anyhow, to all the women out there, strong, weak, big, small, cis, trans. All of you. ❤