29 thoughts on “Is Beyoncé Feminist Enough?

    1. Beyoncé’s performance at the VMA’s last night was controversial among the usual suspects (white feminists) who constantly debate whether or not she can be in the club.

  1. I bet to differ, with the whole Ike/Tina Turner thing she did with Jay-Z a year or so ago…you can’t just make light of such a horribly abusive relationship like they had, and then go around toting “girl power” all the same…that’s just my opinion though, clearly…

  2. Ah! I live a cable-free existence, so I’m always out of these loops.

    But sheesh, it drives me crazy that we don’t even need men to keep women down — we’ve been trained so well to constantly criticize each other and find every other woman to be failing or deficient somehow. I am so, so sick of that.

  3. Honestly, I can’t think of anything bolder anyone could do than standing on a stage with the FEMINIST word behind. All the things you could say, explain or do are nonsense now.
    I didn’t think I’d live to see anything like that, and I get goosebumps everytime I see the pics. God bless her.

  4. I bet to differ, with the whole Ike/Tina Turner thing she did with Jay-Z a year or so ago…you can’t just make light of such a horribly abusive relationship like they had, and then go around toting “girl power” all the same…that’s just my opinion though, clearly…

    1. I don’t care for that lyric, either, but I think that if we focus on that one misstep and say, “Not feminist!” then we’re overlooking the fact that here is a woman of color who has built a billion dollar empire while also choosing to be a wife and mother, who raises up women (women of color especially) through her music and her example, and who will publicly identify as a feminist when her pop contemporaries (Katy Perry, Taylor Swift) will proudly declare that they aren’t feminists in order to court public favor. I consider myself a feminist, I label myself a feminist, but I can sure say/do some anti-feminist things with my life. The difference is, when Beyoncé does them, billions of people see it.

      I think it’s also kind of disingenuous for people to ascribe that lyric to her, when it was her husband who wrote it and performed it on the album. Yeah, she could have put her foot down and said no (just like she could have said no to the 50 Shades soundtrack) and she didn’t, but no woman has lived a life without doing or saying something that furthers misogyny. I think we should focus on why more women in the public eye won’t ID as feminists, rather than focus on the occasional anti-feminist action of the one who will.

      1. I hear you, absolutely. And of course, she definitely wears the feminist hat with pride, and those actions outweigh the non/anti feminist actions she has made. I do like that she is helping women realize that it’s a good thing to identify as a feminist, we need more of this. That lyric just REALLY bothers me (even though she didn’t write it), and also the 50-shades soundtrack…

        It almost makes me wonder, if perhaps she just isn’t 100% aware of just how horrible 50-Shades really is, or maybe couldn’t identify with the “eat the cake” lyric as it was written…I don’t know. It just hits me in a bad place.

        That being said, I love your blog, and absolutely LIVED for your hate read for 50 shades. I direct everyone who praises that disaster right to your review.

        Keep on with your bad self.

        1. The 50 Shades one concerns me probably the most. Because I look at it from a business standpoint (“Hey, this is the biggest book of all time, probably going to be the biggest movie of all time, you’re basically the biggest star of all time or are on your way to being, why not make bags of cash off a song you already wrote?”) and then from a moral standpoint, because I can’t imagine if someone came to me and said, “Write this thing that makes 50 Shades look more appealing,” that I would go, “YES!” However, I admit that my morality would be influence by the number of zeroes that go along with the offer. I’m self-aware enough to know that my principles bend based on $$$$.

          But what you’re saying, that maybe Beyoncé is one of those women who looks at 50 Shades and ignores the problematic aspects of the books for whatever reason, or just doesn’t see them… that makes me very sad, because it could be true.

      2. The thing with the “eat the cake, Anna Mae” line is, does anyone identify with Ike Turner and think highly of him when they hear that? Or do they identify with Tina and think how awesome she is?

        It’s an ugly line, but at the same time it shows how much things have changed, because if anyone thought Jay-Z actually treats Beyoncé the way Ike treated Tina, I’m pretty sure his reputation/career would never recover. (I could be wrong — Chris Brown is still doing all right.)

        To a certain extent, the question isn’t why Beyoncé would permit such a lyric on her album, but why the heck Jay-Z would want to encourage anyone to think of him as Ike Turner. Because pretty much the primary feeling associated with Ike is disgust, right?

  5. Oh god thank you for saying this out loud, this is perfect.

    (I mean, if I was queen of the world, everyone who wanted to write a scolding article about whether Beyoncé really deeeeeeeseeeeerves to be called a feminist would be forced to identify her accurately, as in “is 34 year old grown-ass millionaire and self-identified feminist Beyoncé feminist enough?” Because hey, maybe then they would reconsider.)

    1. I think you meant BILLIONAIRE. *high fives you as though her financial success has anything to do with our actions*

      1. Oops! (I mean, the briefest google suggested that Beyonce and Jay-Z, collectively, are worth billions, but Beyonce herself is worth only – AHAHAH – 101 million dollars, which still reads to my poor college student self as “approximately all the money in the world”. My attempt was to separate her incredible economic success from her husband’s? But clearly, woe, the half-ass google will lead you to embarrassing yourself on a blog. :D)

        And I mean! I am never suggesting that people who are financially successful should never be criticized by the plebs, omg, oops! Thank you for helping me to clarify what the hell I mean, omg.

        But my general point is: look, it’s very difficult to become an African-American billionaire by your mid-thirties. This is not an accident, y’all. My argument is always: Beyonce – and Kim Kardashian, and Jennifer Lopez, and Nicki Minaj – all of these women are brilliant performers with loads of talent and they are also WICKED SMAAT and very, very, very aware of their culture and the culture’s perception of them.

        I would argue that Beyonce didn’t just on a whim decide to cash in on all of that sweet sweet cultural cache that publicly identifying as a feminist grants women in 2014 (lolsob) – I don’t know her, but I can infer that she is aware of the cultural connotations that this kind of statement brings*, and I believe that she made a conscious choice to make this incredibly public statement.

        *isn’t there some pretty sad thing going around where women and men take pics of themselves holding signs explaining why they DON’T need feminism, and it’s all a pretty brutal train of internalized misogyny and (self) victim-blaming?

        (Sorry I am hella long-winded, longest blog comment ever, I got linked to your blog over your really insightful post about the Meghan Trainor thing and I absolutely love pretty much your entire point of view, hi!)

  6. If you have the lyrics “Eat the cake, Anna Mae” in one of your songs, you aren’t a feminist. You’re glorifying abuse against women. Not feminist, sorry.

    1. Yup. One single misstep automatically disqualifies a woman from being a feminist. Especially if that misstep is one line in a song that she didn’t write.

      1. Seriously. I’m really glad none of my baby feminist mistakes* were done in the kind of scrutinizing public forum Beyonce deals with. I would have never lived them down.

        *Because, you know, it’s not like I’ll probably keep making mistakes throughout my life that will apparently kick me out of the feminism club.

      2. I must have been alone in this – I haven’t heard the song much, and had to look up the lyrics to be sure it’s the one I thought it was – but the whole song felt like singing about an unhealthy situation. There are many songs out there about toxic relationships, and the obsession/fucked-up-ness in this one didn’t feel like it was being presented as a good thing. Maybe just me.

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