Why Do Feminists Hate Beyoncé?
Estee Shaw | On 10, Jun 2013
There’s been a lot of talk recently about Beyoncé and whether or not she can, or should, be counted among feminist icons.
I find it interesting that blogs such as beyonceisnotafeminist on tumblr dedicate so much time to scrutinizing Beyoncé’s music and why they believe she has no place as a feminist icon, when Beyonce has never claimed to be the next great icon in the first place.
Most recently, Beyonceisnotafeminist posted this picture:
Well, no. I fail to see what is so funny about Gloria Steinem being held up as superior to Beyoncé, who, in addition to being seen as anti-feminist, is also being slammed as unintelligent all in one photo. If it doesn’t make you uncomfortable, given the history of feminism pushing out women of color, then you have some reevaluating to do.
As feminists, where are our priorities? I know women get tired of hearing that question asked, because it’s often a rhetorical question used to invalidate our criticism against the culture that oppresses us. So, to be clear, I am not saying that you shouldn’t pay attention to song lyrics, or take issue with media that you find oppressive.
I am, however, saying that I have noticed more and more scrutiny being piled on Beyoncé’s back, with a lack of scrutiny aimed at other woman in the business who are white, and wear sexy costumes and use lyrics that include the word “bitch”. And that’s something I take issue with.
Lately it seems like Beyoncé can’t do anything right, at least according to the extremely loud and incredibly vocal crowd.
She’s taken flack for her outfit choices in concert. How dare she rock heels and sheer body suits? According to Rakhi Kumar, who wrote the now famous open letter to First Lady Michelle Obama, Beyoncé’s choice of attire and confident displays of female sexuality have contributed to the human trafficking of young girls…. Right.
I’m not for shaming women or performers for their choice of outfits, and I have to wonder if Rakhi Kumar did any letter writing when P!nk took to a trapeze at the Grammy’s, wearing body glitter and bravado.
Call me silly, but I get the feeling that it could have something to do with different standards when it comes to white and black women and displays of sexuality.
Beyoncé has also been accused of setting women back by taking her husband’s last name, the same husband who also took her last name in return. More outrage and how-could-she? when she announced the name of her tour, The Mrs Carter Show World Tour. Being proud of her marriage and family has added to the growing list of sins being leveled against her, including outrage over the song Bow Down and being proud of being a mother.
My question is this: what has Beyoncé done right?
No, really. To whoever started Beyonceisnotafeminist, and all the other feminists out there who take a shot whenever Beyoncé makes a decision in her career or personal life, I genuinely want to know:
What would she have to do to get you to stop hating on her every decision?
She is a successful, independent, confident black woman who has an all-women band, a family, and a solid sense of who she is. That sounds like a role model I’d like my daughter to look up to. I would want my daughter to grow up seeing a black woman who dominates the industry on her terms.
You don’t like her music? Fair enough. No one’s asking you to put on Single Ladies, Independent Women, or Survivor, and boogie before worshiping at the shrine of Bey.
But if you think the use a picture of Gloria Steinem, the woman who is lauded as a feninist hero but has thrown trans* women under the bus in the past, with text slapped on it that flat out calls Beyonce unintelligent, is a valid or acceptable criticism, then I don’t want any part of your feminism.
Written by Estee Shaw
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