When Beyonce releases a new song it stirs attention and discussion about feminism. Her recent tune, “Girls (Who Run the World)” is no exception. On one hand, the YBF called Beyonce the next Gloria Steinem. (yeah right) Others, like internet personality Nineteenpercent, called Bey’s message superficial and dishonest when considering the status of women here, and abroad: YouTube Video – Beyonce – Run the World (LIES)
“A mind is a terrible thing to waste and so is a perfectly good video that doesn’t match the song. Despite the declarations in the lyrics (and the unrelated hotness of the video), it’s a still a man’s world, and it will always be as long as women think their vaginas are where their power lies.”
Is the problem Beyonce or the meaning of feminism/woman’s empowerment? There’s no consensus even among Black feminists, according to BlackVoices. I’m of two minds on this. Beyonce does promote an image of a woman who is independent, and encourages the right things. Hearing her say a man should “put a ring on it” is a positive anthem, especially for African-American women who are losing hope and believing the hype that there’s no value in having an MRS.
God knows when a relationship’s gone bad, the lyrics of “Me, myself and I” sends a strong message that walking away is best. Given the startling domestic violence stats in the Black community, leaving could be a life-saving decision. No doubt. Her music is pro-woman but songs like these are what I call Find-a-Man feminism — a brand of empowerment that’s centered around relationships. It’s empowerment lite that encourages female power without the baggage of social justice. This is where I begin to have issues.
Beyonce’s an established member of the entertainment industry, wife of Jay-Z, movie producer, actress, beauty icon, ad woman and role model for women. Clearly, she has a certain amount of respect and privilege to take some risks. Yet, when has she EVER stood up for anything meaningful?
Bey’s one of the sexist women in the entertainment world but has never defended female sexuality or her own for that matter. For the longest, Sasha Fierce was the one up there grinding and being sexy — not her. She’s too nice to be sexual. As the leader of Find-a-Man feminism, power is in being sexy and appealing to men — not in having opinions.
For those of us, continuing the fight against misogyny, domestic violence, street harassment, work place discrimination, cuts to family planning, moving on and other “girl stuff,” Find-a-Man Feminism does not contribute a whole lot.
In our world, positive self esteem and high heels have no power in against budget cuts, crazy billboards or media attacks Phat beats can’t drown out being told we’re crazy, bitter, angry, man haters, lesbians, ugly and too serious.
Instead of beauty ads, we’re underpaid, overworked, threatened, stalked, ridiculed and even attacked because of our work.
But don’t get me wrong. I’m not hating. In fact, I say “do ya thing Beyonce!”
While you’re silent, the rest of us will be right over here toiling away and making sustained, systemic change.
We are sending out action alerts, writing blog posts, planning conferences, reading our history, analyzing culture, rallying for justice and calling out the bullshit. We have little choice. There’s so much work to do, and we’re too passionate and determined to stop.
- Preach. (thriftingvignettist.wordpress.com)
- Is Beyonce the Face of Contemporary Feminism? (Clutch Magazine)
- Is the Meaning Behind Beyonce’s Music Misunderstood? (Jezebel)
- Is Beyonce’s New Video Feminist? (Alternet)
- Beyonce Knowles: The Demise of Feminism. (Slice)