Beyonce’s faux feminism hurts the cause

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by Briana Alford

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Recently, TIME magazine issued its 100 Most Influential People issue.

There, in all her glory, is Mrs. Beyonce Knowles Carter on the cover.

It’s not much of a surprise that she would be on the cover. The woman is flawless, after all. She is an influential entertainer who can sing, dance, act and be a doting wife and loving mother all at the same time. The woman is so close to perfection that she is now declared a deity by the group of followers that worship the religion of Beyonce.

Although she is clearly prominent, I question if she’s more influential than other women, such as Hilary Clinton or Lupita Nyong’o.

Regardless, Sheryl Sandberg, the interviewer for the story, discusses Beyonce’s top-selling secret album and then praises her feminism. Yes, feminism. “Queen B” has a lot of attributes, but I don’t believe being a feminist is one of them. In fact, her real title is something closer to a faux feminist.

[quote]I know speaking ill of Beyonce nowadays is considered equivalent to a felony, but there are key factors as to why she isn’t a great example of feminism. [/quote]

I’m not saying Beyonce doesn’t try to promote feminism and uphold women to the same standards of men. My issue is that she does things that feminists would appreciate and then contradicts herself.

On the track “Bow Down/Flawless”, Beyonce first starts off with hard notes declaring “Bow down bitches” (so much for girl power) but then switches to the “Flawless” track which features a clip from Nigerian feminist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi’s speech discussing gender inequality.

“I’m Ike Turner, turn up, baby, no I don’t play/ Now eat the cake, Anna Mae, “Eat the cake, Anna Mae,” are the lyrics that Beyonce’s husband, Jay-Z, chants in their hit collaboration, “Drunk In Love”. Manypeople listening don’t realize Jay is referencing when Ike, then-husband of Tina Turner, forced and smeared cake in Tina’s face. Anyone who has seen the biopic “What’s Love Got To Do With It” would know that Ike was a very abusive husband.

For a woman who claims she’s a feminist, why would she allow her husband to reference an abusive relationship in a satirical way in their song?

In her girl power anthem “Run The World (Girls),” Beyonce sings about girls running the world and all the powers they supposedly have.

The sad realization is that woman don’t run the world. As American women, maybe we can relate a little bit more to these lyrics than, let’s say, a woman in India, but we still don’t have equal rights. Women in America are only paid 77 percent of the same exact work that a male counterpart does.

[quote]“Disrespect us? No, they won’t,” is another lyric from the song.[/quote]

Actually, women are still disrespected more than men and statistics show that approximately one in six American women are raped.

Luckily, America is improving its women’s rights, but Beyonce’s international fans might be confused and offended by the song. I’m sure her fans in Saudi Arabia, who still are not even legally allowed to drive, feel indifferent when Beyonce claims they run the world.

By singing songs with lyrics such as these, she is discussing historical inaccuracy and giving false hope. Women don’t run everything, and pretending we do won’t get us anywhere. On top of that, feminists don’t necessarily want women to run all of the world, but instead want a socially equal society where gender would not be a deciding factor on who runs what.

I am confused if Mrs. Carter happens to truly be a feminist or if her public relations team thinks being a feminist is a perfect way to rack in more money.

No doubt Beyonce has come a long way from asking her lover, “Can you pay my bills?”

She has an all-girl band and her song “If I Were A Boy” was very thought-provoking. But if she is going to be known as one of the most influential feminists, she should be a little more thoughtful and consciously aware of what she is trying to say before she releases songs.

With power comes the ability reach the masses. If Beyonce is going to write songs about feminism, she should use her power to be a feminist, either without contradicting lyrics or by not dabbling in such a politically charged subject at all.

 

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock. 

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