The Vagenda

Defending Beyoncé’s Feminism


There are some things that I will defend to the death: my family, my friends, my cat, my right to voice an opinion, my right to drink tea and watch EastEnders – you know, the universal stuff. Then there’s feminism. And Beyoncé.

In an article published this week Annie Lennox took it upon herself to question Beyoncé’s feminist credentials, dismissing B-Kno’s own particular brand as ‘feminism lite’. Clearly I was living in a cave the day that they made Annie Lennox the all knowing Supreme Leader of Feminism, deciding what and who fits the definition of feminism proper (or, to use her analogy, er, Full Fat Feminism…?)

As a Beyoncé fan, I’m about to get ***Flawless on this shit, but as a feminist I am just shaking my head in disappointment. Because this is just another example of one self-proclaimed feminist “calling out” another self-proclaimed feminist, telling her that she’s not quite up to the job of being a Proper Bona Fide Feminist. Then, last week in the Guardian, Roxane Gay also had a pop at “celebrity feminists.” I am just so sick of this.

One of the things that makes me proud to be a feminist is feminism’s commitment to the protection of identities, particularly the identities of minority and marginalised groups. We – quite rightly – defend the right of anyone to define their own sex, their own gender, and their own sexuality. We wouldn’t dream (or at least I hope we wouldn’t) of telling someone that they were ‘woman lite’, or ‘female lite’, or ‘lesbian lite’. That would be outrageous for many reasons, not least because, the beauty of identity is that it is defined by the owner first, and last. I don’t care if you are the brainchild of Germaine Greer, Emmeline Pankhurst and (my own hero) Jessica Valenti, but you have lost your mind if you think that I am about to sit here and let you tell me – or anyone else – that I am ‘less of  a feminist’ simply because I don’t fit your own specification criteria. It pisses me off when people, especially women, start questioning how much of a feminist other women are. Doesn’t feminism have enough of a mountain to climb without the internal hating and face stabbing? Can’t we start propping each other up, instead of pulling each other down? Discussion and debate are crucial, of course – vive la difference! – but can we steer clear of this endless patronising condescension of others? And, let’s be clear about this: questioning the credentials of another woman’s feminism does not make you any more of a feminist. Beyoncé is a feminist for many reasons, but the most important of these is this: she is a feminist because she has told you that she is a feminist. Accept that.

So what is it that Lennox is alleged to have said? Apparently, her words were thus: ‘I would call [Beyonce’s feminism] ‘feminism lite’, L.I.T.E. I’m sorry. It’s tokenistic to me…’, before going on to say,I have issues with it. Of course I do…. I think what they do with it is cheap and … yeah. What can I tell you? Sex always sells.’

Is this the sound of a woman calling out another woman for what she is wearing? In 2014? Is this shit for real? You’re going to look at the most successful female artist in the world, who only one month ago beamed the word FEMINIST into the homes of millions of people around the world during her MTV VMA performance, and you’re going to start hating on her feminism, because she’s doing it in a “cheap” leotard? Does that mean I am also less of a feminist when I am wearing a bikini on the beach? Am I only a feminist when I am fully clothed? Fuck this shit! Beyoncé may not be writing manifestos for the sisterhood or penning contributions to feminist academia, but let’s not fall into the trap of thinking that what she is doing – what she stands for – is any less significant. Academic snobbery needs to sod right off: if you really want to spread a feminist message to the masses, you need to look beyond learned professors and academics, because the truth of the matter is that most people do not read them. What most people do is listen to music, watch TV, and read magazines. And tell me, who has never had an idol? Beyoncé has been mine since circa 1997, and one of the BIG reasons this is the case is because she has always stood for women.

I remember how, at 14 years old, I was completely bowled over by the confidence of this girl who looks into the camera during No No No and sings, “What’s the problem, baby? Never had a girl like I?” At 16, I was listening to Hey Ladies in delighted disbelief (Sample lyric: “Hey ladies…. why is it that we never seem to just have the strength to leave?”) Then, there was Independent Women – this was the anthem of my late teens. Here was a girl, only a couple of years older than me, writing a song encouraging women to become – and stay – economically independent (“I pay my own fun … and I pay my own bills”). Encouraging women to rely on themselves alone (“depend on no one else to give you what you want”); to strive for equality in love (“always 50/50 in relationships”); and even to be their own sexual being (“when it’s all over, please get up and leave”). I could go on. Beyoncé was, in some way or another, there for most of my life – the teenage angst, the first relationship, the break up, the crises of confidence, bereavement, depression, the whole schubang.

So la Lennox doesn’t think B-Kno quite fits the feminist bill? Okay, let’s take this back to basics. Feminism is a belief in the ‘social, political and economic equality of the sexes’*, right? (*NB. It is worth noting that, thanks to an excerpt from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Ted Talk ‘We should all be feminists’, that appears on Beyoncé’s 2013 eponymous album, millions of album-purchasing consumers around the world are now familiar with this very definition…) Well then, let me count the ways.

Social equality of the sexes, you say?   

When I was at university, I lived with my aunt, uncle and my two little cousins – who just happen to be Two of My Favourite People In The World. I love them like they’re my sisters and I couldn’t be prouder of the women they have become: they are awesome. When they were little, we would often find ourselves dancing in the kitchen, shaking our butts and waving our arms to all of my favourite artists; Shakira (from the early days, pre-English language transition), Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake – and, of course, Destiny’s Child and Ms Beyoncé Knowles. That’s right, a 19 year old me and two little girls of just 5 and 8 having the time of our lives strutting our stuff to Independent Women whilst doing the dishes. A few years later, when I watch them practising their routines for their Hip Hop dance class, there is more than a little bit of Beyoncé in their attitude, in their personas, in their confidence. They love her, they look up to her, I’d even go so far as to say that they take on their very own Ms Sasha Fierce when they are on that stage.

When the younger of the two once said to me – before she was even a teenager – that she thought that her thighs were too big, how do you suppose I tried to reassure her? By giving a speech about how we, as girls and women, should strive to break free from the shackles of the patriarchy and its bullshit standards of beauty? No. Look at Beyoncé, I tell her. She has legs like you – they are not stick thin, they have muscles and curves and are all kinds of fabulous and strong! And isn’t that just so beautiful? A few months ago, her sister (by then a 19 year old student) told me that she had been sick with nerves because she had to give a presentation in front of her peers. Do you know how she changed her mindset? By asking herself what Beyoncé would do (answer: strut onto that stage like a goddess and make sure that every last person in that room was listening!) I shit you not. Needless to say, she did the presentation. These are small examples of how Beyoncé has impacted the lives of two little women that I love – they may not be academic examples, and they may not contain statistics demonstrating the feminisation of the masses, but to give two people that I love the kind of confidence that we would hope for all women, is a smidge more than feminism ‘lite’ to me.

And then there’s her band. Beyoncé has, for some years, toured with an all female band. The reason for this? Because she wants young women to see examples of other women playing – and owning (see Bibi McGill) – their own instruments. How many times have we seen a female artist flanked and propped up by an all-male (or nearly all-male) band? To see an-all female band, supporting a female artist is a very powerful message – this is literally sisters doing it for themselves. This is women in control of their own creativity, this is an all-woman cast selling out all-women shows around the world. This is a message to the hundreds of thousands of girls that go to any one of these shows: you too can own this stage. This is a socio-political message wrapped up in pop culture, and the message is loud and clear: a woman’s place is out in front, a woman’s place is at the top of the game, a woman’s place is taking control of her own career, her own work, a woman’s place is challenging the accepted status quo of male-dominated industries. A woman’s place is being the first solo female artist in over 20 years to headline one of the biggest music festivals in the world, whilst being 3 months pregnant and in the face of scepticism about her appearance at the altar of Glastonbury (get over yourselves, haters!) Women, go out, and own your shit.

What’s that? Political equality of the sexes?

Beyoncé is one of the founders (along with actress Salma Hayek Pinault and Frida Giannini) of the Chime For Change campaign: a global campaign that strives to fund projects working towards equality for girls and women in the areas of health, justice and education. A 2013 concert at Twickenham in London was beamed around the world, and was supported by politicians, activists and celebrities alike. Performances from some of the biggest artists on the planet were interspersed with video clips that sought to educate and increase awareness of the plight that women face at home and around the world. One video clip that will stay with me was that of a young woman who talked about being sexually assaulted on her way to work. Standing on a crowded tube, a man had masturbated himself up against her; it was only when she got to work that she realised that she had semen on the back of her legs. Twickenham stadium fell silent. When Beyoncé herself appeared for the closing performance, she used her backdrop screen as an opportunity to beam images of well known women (Hilary Clinton, Maya Angelou, among others) to the thousands of us in the stadium, and the millions watching at home. The message was clear (and written above the stage in big bold letters); none of us can move forward, if half of us are held back.

In the run up to the 2008 presidential election, Beyoncé, alongside her husband, Jay Z, went on the campaign trail for then-Senator Barack Obama, encouraging people to vote, encouraging people to make themselves heard. She walked the lines of people waiting to go inside to vote, she thanked them and reassured them that what they were doing was too important to forgo. So here you have one of the most famous people in the world encouraging her compatriots to be politically active, encouraging all people (women included) to take part in their country’s election, to make their votes count. Four years later she would again voice her support for President Obama and, once again, encouraged Americans to vote via a number of posts to her website and Instagram page. In July 2013, when George Zimmerman was acquitted on charges of murdering the black teenager Trayvon Martin, she publicly backed demands for a civil rights case and joined hundreds of people protesting in New York City, as part of a broader 100-city demonstration across the US. In March 2013, she endorsed the campaign for Marriage Equality, altering the lyrics to Single Ladies in the process (“If you like it, you should be able to put a ring on it!”) She has publicly celebrated the activist Malala Yousafzai by sharing the young Pakistani schoolgirl’s story on her webpage, highlighting the reality of the many women living in the shadow of the Taliban. She helped the First Lady, Michelle Obama, launch her Let’s Move campaign by reworking one of her own songs, encouraging kids to get active. She was one of a group of celebrities and activists who launched the Demand a Plan to End Gun Violence in the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings of 2012. She backed Sheryl Sandberg’s BanBossy campaign, a social media campaign encouraging women and girls to lead (“I’m not bossy, I’m the boss”). She may not be running for office, she may not be drafting legislation for the Senate, but Beyoncé has what most politicians do not have: she has credibility with the young. She has credibility with women (nb. I am not speaking on behalf of all women here – that would be foolish). The very act of being politically active, of being socially aware, of giving a damn about what’s happening in the world, sends a very strong message to the millions who look up to her. Politics is not just for the politicians, it’s not just for the male, white and middle-aged. You too can stand up and be counted.

And, here it is, the big one:

The Economic Equality of the Sexes

At this point, I am tempted to be lazy and refer you back to my previous paragraph about Independent Women. As it is, I’m feeling a bit more generous than that. First things first, Beyoncé is fricking loaded. She has, in her own words, got ‘so sick and filthy with Benjis [she] can’t spend.’ Estimates put her wealth at around the $500 million mark. She is one of the best selling artists of all time: the trusted Wiki tells me that her solo sales are hovering around 130 million worldwide, with an additional 60 million sold by Destiny’s Child. In 2011, sceptics were shocked when she parted ways with her manager – and father – Mathew Knowles, wondering if, by managing herself, B-Kno had taken on too much. Her response? She was living her own message: ladies, it’s time to get independent. She owns her own company, Parkwood Entertainment; co-owns her own fashion label, House of Dereon, alongside her mother, Tina Knowles; she has sponsorship deals aplenty. To paraphrase and update Sir Mix-a-Lot, baby got bank!

I don’t know about anyone else, but seeing one of the most famous women in the world sitting on a self-created wealth of truly eye-watering proportions, is pretty fricking inspirational. It is thought that her own personal fortune matches that of her husband, Jay Z: economic equality of the sexes? They are a poster couple for it. Of course, the wealth of one woman doesn’t mean that the task is done, we have a long way to go to reach universal economic equality, something that she herself acknowledges: in 2013 she penned an essay condemning gender equality as a myth, before going on to say that it was time to stop this shit: “Equality will be achieved when men and women are granted equal pay and equal respect.”

I have tried to outline a few examples of how Beyoncé is a fricking awesome feminist. I have no doubt that there will be people who will disagree with much, if not all of what I’ve said – that is the nature of the internet. But hopefully there will also be people who will give Beyoncé the credit she deserves; she has been a champion of women since before it was cool to be a champion of women. Hopefully some will understand what I am, above all, trying to say: that a person’s identity is theirs alone, and it is not for anyone else to contradict something that is so fundamentally a part of who we are as human beings. Whether you love or loathe Beyoncé, please do not presume to tell her that her feminism is not good enough; she’s doing her feminism, her way, on her terms – and isn’t that, in itself, feminist?

-  Bianca Franqueira Hanks

34 thoughts on “Defending Beyoncé’s Feminism

  1. omg I could not have said it better myself. everything I ever wanted to say about beyonce’s feminine was said. I appluad you on such a direct and informing article. Thankyou and I help people learn from this.

  2. Hasn’t she occasionally contradicted her feminist views though, for example the ‘Anna Mae’ reference in her and Jay Z’s performance? I’m not saying people can never make an error of judgement, but from my point of view that’s quite a big, and disrepsectful error to make?

    • Yep, I agree becky. it’s one of those difficult things where there is a tension between Choice Feminism, which in some ways can be poisonous and in others makes sense, and, I dunno what to call it, “radical Feminism”or something. I am actually one to question Beyonce’s choices but i am not really in the choice feminism camp myself. But I am also not the queen and lawmaker of feminism as a whole, just like Annie isn’t :-)

    • Do you seriously think that one lyric undermines everything in the article (and all the other stuff not mentioned)?

      Seriously, show me the feminist who’s never once said or done something “unfeminist,” even if only through ignorance. I know I have, plenty of times.

      • As I said in my comment ‘I’m not saying people can never make an error of judgement’, maybe read a little closer next time before ranting :)

  3. I came here to make exactly the same remark as Becky has above. That, and the airbrushing her thighs incident, are enough to make me think feminism of convenience/marketing.
    And three months pregnant? – I applaud her energy at that stage but it is hardly about body image.

  4. Well said. Just as people all differ, so do women- and so do feminists. Perhaps if we stopped arguing, infighting and just gave a bit more support to each other?? Would that be so bad….

    • never gonna happen. I speak as a man and football (soccer) fan, and feminists sound just as dumb talking about feminism as men do talking about sport.

  5. I agree so much. So fed up of this constant warring of who’s-a-better-feminist. If you’re a feminist you believe in equality for both the sexes, and that’s it, it doesn’t matter how you do it. This shaming of other feminists is only creating more problems in our world.

  6. Thanks for this article – I didn’t really know as anything about Beyonce’s commitment to feminism before reading this but she certainly sounds like a ‘fricking awesome feminist’!

  7. Brilliant article! I spent my whole 20s thinking I was probably not a feminist seeing as I didn’t conform to the kind of feminism as espoused by those who enter into that “I’m more of a feminist than you” kind of discussion – but it is the kind of writing and debate that the Vagenda excells in that has made me feel proud once again to say that I am a feminist, and to recognise that mainstream media culture can be feminist too. I lecture on feminism and, if it’s ok, I’d like to use this example of beyonce as a means to challenge feminist stereotypes?

  8. “Beyoncé is a feminist for many reasons, but the most important of these is this: she is a feminist because she has told you that she is a feminist. Accept that.”

    When Miley Cyrus claimed to be a feminist, I don’t recall seeing many articles defending her version of feminism (quite the opposite from what I read). I don’t endorse Mileys version of feminism, but this just seems a little contradictory.

    Further, don’t you think you missed an important part of Annie Lennoxs comments about Beyonce? ” I think I’d like to sit down with quite a few artists and talk to them. I’d like to listen to them; I’d like to hear what they truly think.” She also comments on the fact that Beyonce uses sex to sell her records, to young children none the less.

    • Ahem…as a Beyonce fan I have watched interviews where she said on her latest album she felt free to talk about sexuality in a more open way because her fans who were once her child fans have now grown, she’s been holding back. I’m sure children are still listening but I don’t think Beyonce or Destinys Child were ever AIMED at that audience.

      Also, the leotard thing in the article, does nobody actually watch her dance moves??? Think she could do them in a suit and tie??? Flowing dress??? Hell no. No one goes to a dance performance and complains about the costumes so why complain about a performer who happens to sing as well as dance??

  9. Fantastic read, I agree, a truly inspirational woman. I would rather my niece admire Beyoncé than some of the vile women seen in the media.

  10. Don’t get me wrong, I love Beyonce and would never suggest she wasn’t a feminist. However, when it comes to critiquing her most recent album I find the feminist stance jarrs with some of the content. Feminist, but ‘wake up flawless’. Feminist, but ‘I just wanna be the girl you want’. Human beings are complex and feminists are complex. Wanting to please a man or look beautiful doesn’t make you unfeminist. But making these desires the focal and most memorable parts of a feminist album maybe wasn’t the greatest creative choice. I don’t necessarily have a problem with these lyrics, but in the chorus? As the bit you hear over and over? The bit that sticks in your head and you sing to yourself on repeat? I don’t know. I think we can do better. I think we can be more responsible.

    • I think this is a weak argument. Like you said, people – and feminists – are complex. It took me a while to remember what ‘I just want to be the girl you want’ is even from. (Partition, I’m guessing). I don’t berate that one lyric. It’s a feeling every man AND woman can identify with – wanting to be good in the bedroom, wanting to please your partner, hell, it’s what good sex is BASED on. Of course she wants to please her man in bed, just as he wants to please her, equally, it’s the foundation of a good sexual relationship. If she implied it was all about him, or that she was uncomfortable with doing certain acts but felt obliged to do it, then I’d get where you’re coming from… but offhand comments like that make it sound like feminists hate sex. And, as we know from Partition, (translated) ‘men think that feminists hate sex, but it’s a stimulating and natural activity, one that women adore.’

      I don’t know, I don’t get the flawless comment either. Yeah, it’s a bit random. Saying she – and women (‘ladies, tell ‘em’) – look good. But contradicting her feminist message? It’s a bit of a weak footing.

  11. Of course we shouldn’t expect enything reasonable from someone who states in the beginning that she will ‘defend Beyonce to death’. Do you even know who Annie Lennox is? Besides making awesome music for decades, she has also been rewarded for her charity work. She also WRITES HER OWN MUSIC, not like Beyonce. For me, an autonomous creator is a better role model for girls and women. Beyonce is a trademark and a moneymaker and not some feminist guru or thinker. Someone is feminist by their acts, not words. When she stops focusing her work on men and appearance, maybe I’ll reconsider.

    • Beyonce does write her own music. Look in any of her albums, pull out the little booklet and read the credits. I know because I’ve been doing it since I was 8 years old and I always liked that (unlike my Britney Spears albums). She doesn’t write ALL of it, I’ll grant you, and she does bring in co-writers, but she’s hardly a puppet in the moneymaking business. And I’m a bit confused that you just read that article, with all about Chime for Change, BanBossy, her support to the Let’s Move campaign, and her constant raising awareness of these influential, powerful women and can write, in criticism of her: ‘Someone is feminist by their acts, not words.’

      • Ok ok, I admit I overreacted -I just didn’t like the tone and the disrespect for Annie Lennox, which was what bothered me the most. The article didn’t really respond to her criticisms, it just attacked her. And sorry, but it’s not so amazing that Beyonce does all that charity with all the money she has. By ‘acts’ I meant what she does on stage, with her music. Lennox said that Beyonce’s feminism was ‘light’, for the masses, even commodified, and that’s what it is. Is that so difficult to accept? She has a role in the lives of people, but come on, even bell hooks wasn’t amazed about her version of feminism, an will you say that bell hooks is not entitled to commenting on this topic?

        What bothers me is that this approach excludes any rational debate. Is it so impossible to say, yes, it’s (probably) good that Beyonce is popularizing feminism, but there are some points in her performance and lyrics, which do not do feminism any good? Besides, Beyonce was already accused of claiming some songs to be written by her, which were then discovered to be someone else’s (for example Linda Perry’s). So yes, her artistic and ethic credibility are not so great. Yes, she is an excellent performer and singer, she is beautiful, elegant and charismatic, but I don’t really believe her when she tries to be political, while constantly perpetuating self-objectification.

        Emma Watson was far more convincing.

        • Also, no one is saying that Beyonce as a person is not a ‘good enough’ feminist. That would really be invading in her personal integrity and individual identity. The critics are aimed at her public persona, at her work and performace in the public. I think it’s an important difference.

    • Thank you! I had doubts when the article started off with ‘I’m a Beyoncé fan’. That became pretty obvious throughout the rest of the article. The author has written a lot that shows how much of a fan they are of Beyoncé. Those of us born before 1980 have had the dubious benefit of seeing 3 decades of female entertainers and I for one agree with Annie Lennox. She was an artist of great influence who managed to sell records and still wins awards all without flashing her ass. The author is upset over nothing, because she doesn’t understand where Lennoxs criticisms come from. Beyoncé’s feminism doesn’t need defending because it’s a bandwagon. If she was a real progressive supporter of women and their rights she’d be pushing for all human equality. When her and her husband appear on stage in matching leotards maybe I’ll believe she’s a feminist for real. Otherwise she’s just another entertainer. She needs fans to keep her rich. This fan post article is a joke.

  12. Amazing amazing amazing. I too was accompanied through my teens (and into my 20s) by Beyonce’s music and I get soooo frustrated with the ‘but she’s not perfectly fitting into my kind of feminism’ arguments about her. I would hope those who critique her in this way wouldn’t attempt to dismiss my feminist identity on the basis that I very much enjoy a short skirt of the can’t-bend-over-while-wearing variety, because if so we are going to have some serious beef I’m afraid.

    • It’s possible to like someone and look up to them, and still have a critical distance. All I see here are people panicked because someone attacked their idol. It’s not about ‘my kind of feminism’, it’s about debate and opposing arguments.

      Is it allowed to post links here?
      ^^Here are some debate and arguments.

      I also enjoy wearing sexy clothes, seducing other people, being openly sexual. Actually, it goes perfectly with feminism. A problem for feminism is self-objectification and perpetuation of patriarchal relations. I just watched Drunk in love. It doesn’t show Jay Z’s body as sexualized as hers. Why doesn’t he show some skin and grind on her? That would be liberating to see! But no, it’s perfectly patriarchal – objectified beautiful female, strong male. And, of course, ‘eat the cake, Anna Mae’.

  13. Great article … my goodness! Will this ever stop?!

    I want to please my partner AND I am also a feminist.
    I want to feel sexy, desirable AND I am still a feminist.

    Most of the time I look after myself, every now and then I want someone to look after me. Am I still a feminist? Y E S

    These things should not be contradictory. You can be good and bad, no one person is ever one thing at all times. I don’t want to feel militant in anything that I do, least of all my choice. And for me, that’s what feminism is, having all the choice in the world to do what I want, when I want without the threat of being abused by men or women.

  14. Good article!
    I disagree with some of your points, but it definitely speaks volumes to the type of influence people like her have on the younger generations.

  15. I discovered Beyonce when she released Independent Women with Destiny’s Child (I was 13 at the time) and I’ve listened to every single album she’s released since then, with Destiny’s Child and as a solo artist. I do enjoy her music and I think she’s a great performer and amazing vocalist. In fact, there was a time she really was one of my idols. Having said this, growing up having her as a role model or as an example of a powerful women hasn’t necessarily had the inspirational effect you talk about, Bianca.

    For starters, I have never been able to look at Beyonce and feel good about my body because she looks just like any girl you would find on the street. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Beyonce may not be the anorexic type but nobody can deny that every time (or 99 percent of the time) she shows her body it looks absolutely flawless from head to toe – especially in her music videos, which is where we see her most of the time. So to my teenage self that wasn’t any inspiration at all – in fact, she was just a remainder of how imperfect I looked.

    And what about her behaviour? Well, she did seem powerful and fearless, but she showed a very sexual attitude in most the her music videos, which made me think well, Beyonce is doing that and is getting all the praise and attention so maybe that’s the way to get there. Because, after all, even if she is donating to charity or campaigning for civil rights, what most people see is beyonce covered in oil singing as though she’s having an orgasm with Sean Paul fully dressed in the same music video. And whether or not that is the public her music is aimed to there are going to be thousands of girls and young women who are going to see that as the only way to become as popular, as powerful or as loved.

    I am not saying Beyonce is not a feminist, and I am sure she believes in equality between men and women, but when she talks in an interview about how concerned she was after she gave birth about “getting her body back” (hello? you still have a body now?) or when she sings a song that says ‘Nasty put some clothes on, I told ya, Don’t walk out your house without your clothes on, I told ya’ or ‘These men don’t want no hot female that’s Been around the block female, you nasty girl’ she is sending a very confusing message to those girls who see her as a role model or an example.

    Now I’m not saying she is responsible for the world’s girls’ self-esteem, but she knows she is powerful and she is being looked up to, so why does she keep objectifying herself? Sure she is also under pressure to look thin and beautiful and sexy, but she is somehow perpetuating the ideal by conforming to it. It would be amazing to all of us if she could release a record without appearing on any video, like Sia has done.

    I think there are other very talented female artists who are also very involved in social causes who haven’t become as popular just because they do not sell their body as much (see Alicia Keys).

    I am really not trying to discredit Beyonce for the good work she’s done in any way, but for a public figure this big her impact on feminism could be much deeper. That’s my opinion.

  16. Mmmmn, I like the responses, they are varied and prove that Beyonce does have an ability to make women and girls feel good about themselves, all good.

    It’s just, the posting piccies of herself in her pants and wearing playboy logo-ed clothing does, for me, undo some of this positivity.

    Everyone is contradictory but not everyone makes so much money or has alot of influence as Queen B, and so for me, I’d rather encourage others to feel that they can be sexy and desirable and a force for good and independence without having to pose in their pants, or writhe about soft core style in order to be successful or make points about equality.

  17. annie lennox is a ‘feminist lite’ herself… she’s a skinny blonde and her eye brows and done and shes obviously wearing make up in all the photos i’ve found of her online.

  18. All I can say about all of this is – Have you read Ariel Levy’s book ‘Female Chauvenist Pigs.’ Let us be clear here – Raunch Culture is not a synonym of Feminism. You cut a fine line by saying women should not put other women down, because in fact, you are disqualifying very quickly what Annie Lennox has to say. There is a deeper, more sinister issue going on in mass media (and music) right now, that is qualifying ‘pornography’ as empowerment of women.

    Please – before you shut down (with aggressive language toward other women in your posts) – be open hearted, and open minded discussion about this topic because of the very fact that you are a Beyonce fan. Take note that she does make very many women and girls feel UNCOMFORTABLE as a so called ‘feminist’ figure. Ask why, go deeper and learn further.

    P.S Your book is fantastic by the way!

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