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Monday, 6 November 2017

Is Beyoncé a feminist role model?


I don’t consider myself a feminist and haven’t for almost two years now. I don’t consider myself ‘anti’ feminism either; I have no issue with feminists that do actually care about women’s issues like domestic violence, FGM, sex-positivity, having prevalent female characters shown in film and literature, etc. It’s the man-hating regressive feminists that claim everything is sexist that piss me and most of us off.

I don’t know if I’d say Beyoncé  is a feminist role model; it's more likely she's jumped on the feminist bandwagon and appealed to populist liberalism without knowing much about the history of the movement. Plus she looked like a robot when she recited words in that stupid 'Ban Bossy' campaign. However, I would say she's certainly a female role model, she’s very pro-women what with having an all-female band and lots of female-orientated songs. I think any fool can see that Beyoncé is a girl’s girl; she grew up in the girl group Destiny’s Child, and always has ladies dancing alongside her. Plus she’s married to that weird-looking guy with boring songs so clearly doesn’t hate men.

When I was in sixth form there used to be a lot of debates which I loved. One of them was on this very topic. I find it sort of hilarious and ironic that the argument a lot of feminists make for claiming that Beyoncé isn’t a feminist role model is ‘omg look at what she wears! Self-objectification! Sexualisation! Showing off her body!’

Look people, Beyoncé  has a nice body; why shouldn’t she show it off? She only dresses and performs how every other female pop singer does. Pop music stagecraft features expressive dance moves and women wearing tight outfits. Opera on the other hand features men in suits and women in long dresses and a lot less dancing around the stage unless it’s a theatrical opera.

People (particularly feminists) tend to complain about the over-sexualisation of women in the media, failing to realise that men’s body are also hyper-sexualised, sex sells and eye candy appeals to people, and these women choose to dress how they want. Alicia Keys and Adele don’t dress the same way Beyoncé does because they don’t want to, and it wouldn’t fit their musical styles. Both are mainstream artists but they’re more soulful rather than dance-poppy. If Alicia Keys was to perform a concert sitting at a piano wearing a silver leotard, it would look strange and wouldn’t make much sense.

I don’t know how I feel about all this ‘objectification’ and ‘sexualisation’ stuff; I have a blog post about it where I start and end feeling confused: http://www.thezarinamachablog.co.uk/2017/02/sexual-objectification.html
On the one hand I agree that the media over-sexualises our bodies a lot in Western culture compared to cultures where men and women walk around in little clothing and they’re not ‘outraged’ because their bodies are over-sexualised. At the same time, it’s a marketing strategy and we can’t do much about it. If a woman prefers to be valued for her mind over her body then she should take care over how she physically appears, it’s basic human psychology. It’s why lawyers wear suits and scientists wear lab coats; how we dress does impact on how others view us. I have bright red hair; it’s very noticeable and the first thing anyone will see when they look at me. That will doubtlessly come with some sort of presumptions, even as simple as ‘she likes red hair.’

If  Beyoncé and Katy Perry and Rihanna and whatever other pop singer want to wear little clothing and prance around on stage, who cares? Why the moral outrage? It’s like people getting offended over Page 3 pin-ups. I mean yeah I agree showcasing naked girls in newspapers is unnecessary, save it for the lad mags and porn sites. But I don’t know why some feminists act like it’s the worst thing in the world. This talk I went to years ago from a UKIP MP named Anne-Marie Waters was very interesting. She said she isn’t offended by page 3 pin ups and prostitutes, she’s offended by FGM and the treatment of women in Islamic countries. Hear hear lady.

And finally, feminism really needs to decide. If we’re for sex-positivity then we should be looking at Beyoncé and going wow, a woman proud of her body and her sexuality who is comfortable in how she dresses on stage. (I doubt she wears the same stuff in day to day life; on stage she’s performing and playing a character like Ziggy Stardust and Alexander Nevermind). If we’re not and we want to go back to policing what women wear and losing our nuts at a chick showing ankles, then so be it.

This is my second post on Beyoncé. Also see: http://www.thezarinamachablog.co.uk/2017/08/is-beyonce-overrated.html

2 comments:

  1. tbh idk and i find it hilarious some feminists whine and cry about beyonce choosing to wear sexy outfits on stage

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