In 2013, Beyonce released her self-entitled album outrightly claiming a new wave of feminism and identifying herself as a feminist. “Feminist: a person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.” Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a Nigerian Writer, defines feminism based on the primary philosophy of many Feminists in Beyoncé’s single "Flawless".
There are many philosophies of feminism but Beyonce seems to focus primarily on Sexual Feminism. While women fight to reclaim their bodies and their sexuality, Beyonce claims that as a feminist figure that is exactly what she’s doing.
I disagree. Beyoncé has recently become one of the leading feminists in an industry known for artists who often downgrade women to objects to promote an “image that sells” and to inflate their entitlement. Much like Beyonce and other female celebrities, there’s this repetitive cycle of presentation of female singers in Hollywood. Twerking and grinding on audience members is not feminism; it is not empowering.
It’s a sexual performance on stage. It is another way for the media to exploit a woman’s body. Talking about your own riches isn’t Feminism. Telling people to “bow down” isn’t lifting up other females, rather it exploits the pedestal that people and the tabloids have put her on. You cannot compare her “fight” against feminism to activities such as Emma Watson and her “He For She” campaign or Ashley Judd’s recitation speech “Nasty Women”. These women are fighting for equality.
Rap music has always been guilty of sexually exploiting women. We have come from ages of male rappers degrading women and comparing them to objects to female rappers doing it all on their own. Nicki Minaj’s "Anaconda" explicit remix to Sir Mix-a-Lot’s single ‘Baby Got Back’. In Jay-Z’s single "Big Pimpin" he refers to a woman as a “b**ch” and “ho”. His verse in Beyoncé’s "Drunk In Love" has caused controversy as he alludes to Ike Turner, known for his abusive relationship with wife Tina Turner. Jay-Z was scolded for his making light of domestic abuse. But Beyonce is a Feminist according to tabloids and fans.
Beyoncé is just creating records that sell. She is using her body to sell these records. If she is not selling her body, she is selling her marriage. In the entertainment industry, she is doing what she does best: entertaining. Placing emphasis on Sexual Feminism, people forget the other aspects that come with Feminism.
In my opinion, to be a feminist one must touch upon all aspects as stated: to improve the social, political and economic status of women. For someone who holds a big platform, she has many young girls who look up to her. Being exposed to these images are detrimental to the self-esteem of these young girls who try to live up to expectations that they cannot achieve. They lose their youth trying to become sexually mature so early.
Beyoncé is not a feminist. With an almost 20 year singing career behind her let her be who she should be: an entertainer.