Is Beyonce a Feminist? Ask Her.
By Liz Everly
Once someone said to me that I couldn’t be a feminist if I was a mother. Once. But I’ve noticed sneers and rolling eyes among some of my hardcore feminist friends from time to time about my mothering. It used to anger me. But now, I see it’s really not worth the energy I would expend in debating with them.
Nobody gets to tell me what or who I am.
And I daresay nobody gets to tell Beyonce who or what she is.
She is on the cover of Ms. Magazine this month, which has prompted this huge debate about if she has “feminist creds.” I ask you reader, just what the heck is “feminist creds” and who gets to come up with that list? A group of editors at Ms.? A group of lawyers and PhDs at a think tank? How out of touch are these people with the every day reality of women everywhere? Women who have to make tough choices everyday, not just study and debate those choices.
Don’t get me wrong. There’s a place for intellectuals in the feminist movement. There’s a place everybody, right?? Evidently some people think because Beyonce dresses provocatively and dances around on stage, she’s not a feminist. (We know what that’s about, right?) Once again, I ask who gets to decide that. Who’s “qualified,” if not Beyonce herself?
Feminism encompasses a wide spectrum of women from oh-so-many backgrounds, age groups, professions, and so on. I don’t know about your breed of feminism. But but for me the heart of feminism is about equality. Equal pay. Equal opportunity. Equal choices. It’s about inclusion. If a woman chooses to make a career singing and dancing because she’s talented and wants to express herself that way, I say bravo. I have no idea how Beyonce lives her life, other than through skewed lens of media, how am I to know the battles she’s fought in a (still) heavily male-dominated industry? How am I to know how she treats her own staff?
As an article in Bitch Magazine says, “A tiny top and a traditional marriage should not be enough to strip a woman otherwise committed to gender equality of the feminist mantle. If we all had pundits assessing our actions against a feminist litmus test, I reckon not even Gloria Steinem and bell hooks would pass muster. Women must be allowed their humanity and complexity. Even self-proclaimed feminists. Even Queen Beys.”
I say kudos to Beyonce for owning her sexuality, having a smart head about business, and standing up for what she believes in. What do you say?