Is Beyonce the Face of Contemporary Feminism?

by Arielle Loren

Since the late 1800s, feminism has worked to advocate for (certain) women, fighting for equality, access, and diversity. There’s been progress, setbacks, and stagnation, but one thing is clear: most women do not identify with the word “feminist,” even if they share its core ideologies. There’s been a shift in the definition of women’s empowerment and the contemporary agenda for achieving equality. Not only are most women tired of the hardcore oppression and patriarchy rhetoric, but also they’re ready to embrace their bodies and sexuality in public way. Simply put, 20-something-year-old women are ready to showcase the multidimensionality of womanhood: we can be intelligent, independent, powerful, family-oriented, and sexy without having an identity crisis.

Enter Beyonce, one of the most talented, career-driven women that has ever graced the music industry. She’s a multi-platinum selling artist, songwriter, entrepreneur, wife, daughter, sister, and oh…she can also dance like no other. Ignoring all of the previously listed positions that Bey occupies, most people simply deem her a gyrating, sex symbol. And frankly, all of the traditional feminist criticism of her “Who Runs The World (Girls)” video is just another example of the disconnect between intellectual theory and real life.

It is no secret that black women need more diverse representation in the media. Yes, it seems that every pop culture icon, actress, or singer can fall into the “hypersexualized” category. But truthfully, what does Beyonce represent as a whole, as a multidimensional human being? Taking bits and pieces of her is the same as reading a chapter of a book and claiming to know the whole story.

Beyonce’s “Girls” video is an anthem for contemporary women that aren’t afraid of being powerful, driven, smart, and sexy. We can hold our own in the workplace, and later in the evening, pull out our garter belts and work it for our partner.

Essence Editor Demetria Lucas critiques Beyonce’s video, writing:

“A mind is a terrible thing to waste and so is a perfectly good video that doesn’t match the song. Despite the declarations in the lyrics (and the unrelated hotness of the video), it’s a still a man’s world, and it will always be as long as women think their vaginas are where their power lies.”

I’d have to disagree. Lucas’ commentary implies that powerful women cannot bask in their sexuality, femininity, and confidence without jeopardizing their authority. Like Lucas, women pushing the traditional hypersexual critique have been focused on the “male gaze” for far too long.

Have you ever noticed the reaction of most women to Beyonce’s music in a dance club? It’s as if all the men in the room disappear and the women group together, dancing with their heads held high and empowering each other with every hip twist and hand wave. Almost every woman can feel some sort of empowerment from Beyonce’s music and it doesn’t take away from her power the next day when she runs the emergency room at a major hospital or leads an executive board through a complicated marketing plan.

When Beyonce sings about girls running the world while busting African-dance-influenced choreography and swiveling her hips, it should remind all women that it’s okay to run this mother f***er and still appreciate our breasts, move our hips, and showcase our multidimensionality (and sexiness) in a public way.

Beyonce’s video provides one more signal that women need a new movement. Can we finally declare first, second, and third wave feminism as history? Has the fourth wave of feminism finally arrived?

  • lola289

    HellzNaw!!!

    sorry… there are soo many women doing the daymn thing right now and Beyonce is not a factor!

  • http://clairehuxtable.tumblr.com C. Huxtable

    I think that Beyonce is a positive example of modern-day women proving that we shall not be pigeonholed to any particular stereotype. I think that the song is a wonderful (and catchy) anthem that reinforces what many of us black women need today–reassurance that we’ve got this. I get tired of people thinking that black women can’t be sexy without placing them into the shoes of some video-vixen. Beyonce did a wonderful job and I cannot wait to hear her new album. I’m still giving her “kudos” for enlisting an all-female band.

    P.S. The concept is very befitting of the video, in my opinion. It’s her portraying herself in the very Roman-esque battle attire facing up to an army of seemingly “powerful” men. The men are armed and therefore unconquerable but the women in the video conquer them without using any weapons. The use the power of “being woman” to enchant and ultimately defeat the men.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/secretaddy secretaddy

    I try not to police people’s feminist “authenticity”. But I shall say this. I agree with the editor of Essence, Lucas, commercialized hypersexuality can certainly be a mode of challenging patriarchy, but it isn’t necessarily so in this case.

    Beyonce’s shallow mix of “girl power” (not women who are adults but girls) being packaged and sold to young girls is one we have seen over and over and over again. I wish it had substance. I wish she would comment about her husband’s glamorization of violence against women in “Monster”. I wish she would discuss feminine empowerment that is not based on beauty, sex and male appeal.

    At the same time BEyonce is a woman that works hard, so she does do some good work in the area of feminism…

  • liz

    You gotta be kidding me….what is Beyonce doing differently that women entertainers before her didn’t do? Oh thats right…nothing

    Her music is good, she entertains well, but seriously the face of feminism? give me a break.
    The true face of feminism is not ONE woman. It includes ALL the women of the world: teachers, doctors, actors, stay at home mom’s, preachers, back up dancers, activists, video girls and the list goes on…. heck just women in general out there doing their damn thing. Beyonce is just one of these women not the damn face.

  • Mo

    I do understand how Beyonce has supported women’s empowerment in her work as an artist but I don’t think the concept was completely executed in this video.I think she undermines the overall messaging. I don’t have a problem with supporting women being more comfortable in their sexuality. I think we have to be careful to distinguish between that and supporting women as ONLY powerful when they are sexual which does support patriarchy.

    I didn’t see enough diversity in how women are powerful in this video. Women have other forms of power that is rarely express in images we get from media on a daily basis. She really missed the mark for me on what could have been a great opportunity. A gew shots of women in suits, young girls playing sports or in plain clothes at home with their kids rocking to this song would have been phenomenal. Something outside of our power is wrapped in our sexuality. We know we can be powerful and sexy. Can we be powerful and not be hypersexualized? That’s the message our sisters aren’t getting.

    Dancing is good. Beat is hot (I prefer original song). Lyrics need some work. The hair, floor rolling, animals didn’t do it for me. It didn’t make me feel empowered or like I could do anything. At most it inspired a trip to the gym but that’s about it.

  • Alexandra

    You could interpret her song in so many ways. But my friend had the same sentiments Ms. Lucas had; she pointed me to the part of the video where she spread her legs and said “we run the world”! But this is not the first Beyonce song that empowers women. I also agree with liz, one woman can’t represent an entire movement. I do believe Beyonce represents a different brand of feminism.

  • Kenyanness

    No. Sorry. No, no, no. Feminism is about women being appreciated for their personhood, and this mixed messaging is what is confusing women into thinking they have to look a certain way and act a certain way in order to be feminine or powerful. When powerful women talk, people listen regardless of what they’re wearing or how they look. Because their message transcends superficiality. Even on a most basic level – does your mom have to slip into her lingerie to get your dad to take the trash out? All she has to do is ask.

    Ask yourself this, if Beyonce wasn’t twerking all over the place, if she didn’t look the way she did would you care what she had to say about anything? Would you even know what she thinks or feels about anything? She’s positioned herself as a blank marketing slate onto which anyone can project their aspirations – like what Lady Gaga is being marketed as for the gay community, who by the by are increasingly unsettled by her mixed messaging. Honestly, I find this kind of false empowerment vacuous and pretty distressing.

  • chanelA

    SO TRUE! i forgot about that “monster” song! how ar eyou gonna do a song about “female empowerment” when your husband is in a music video with half naked women hanging from ceiilings and dying all over the place.oop! i’m about to go on a facebook rant! lol

  • so yeah you know

    No.

  • http://www.codeemphasis.blogspot.com Clarity Jane

    Beyonce the ‘face of contemporary feminism’ is laughable. Beyonce does what she does and that is, she pushes the agenda of the entertainment industry which is that ‘sex sells’…I don’t wrong the girl for that. Beyonce’s work ethic is by no means a justification to wine ya pum pum and then call it girl power. The Spice girls were lame but they did a better job with their ‘Girl Power’ M.O, showing that individuality is ok and it’s not just about sex and getting a man to do stuff for you.

    When I saw the video, I thought she wasted an opportunity to actually do something for female empowerment but that video was about Beyonce and Beyonce only…All the women dressed the same, dancing the same only messaged that in order to run the world we have to pander to male fetishes and sexual desires and then we get paid. Getting paid doesn’t mean you’re achieving anything, it just means you’re getting paid to something for someone else.

    All this talk of Beyonce being a hard worker and on top of her game doesn’t mean she represents feminism..I’m a hard worker too… so what? Being on to of your game and getting paid millions don’t mean sh*t to me when when the game means that you lose yourself to be a robot and a puppet for the industry. It’s a shame because she is sooo talented but they dumbed her right down to basic vocals and over-exagerated dance routines to stay in line with Rihanna and Gaga, the 2 ‘It’ girls.

    Still love Bey for all the superficial reasons everybody else loves her for though, just don’t insult my intelligence and call it ‘feminism. (Rant Over).

  • KGDC

    I had to laugh at the title of the article… then I read it… and you were serious.

  • Tomi-chan

    If Beyonce is the Face of Contemporary Feminism we need to try a helluva lot harder. Now if you asked me the same thing back in 2005/2006ish I would have said yes,

    And Clarity Jane beat me to the rant, haha.

  • http://parisianfeline.wordpress.com Tatiana

    I have to vehemently disagree with any and all notions that Beyonce is remotely considered a feminist ideal. I agree with the what the editor of Essence, Lucas, said that sexual liberation is not female empowerment. I have been irritated with this brand of hypersexuality based feminism for a very long time. Not everyone resonates with being a sexual person, nor is that that a terrible thing. I have a lot more going on than my vulva. Yes, women who enjoy sex (particularly with multiple partners) tend to be chastised heavily by both men and women, but that doesn’t mean that shoving your sexuality in people’s faces is necessarily empowerment either.

    I have never been a fan of Beyonce. I find her lyrics impressively shallow and without any real connection to what lots of women experience who don’t have aspirations to be her. Also, all of her songs are incredibly heterosexually focused, which is almost always ignored when women applaud her. In fact, her last album was almost entirely about her relationship and perception of men. Not every woman is attracted to men, so she definitely lacks the sexual diversity that Lady Gaga embodies.

    A comment mentioned that the song is titled “Girl Power”, not “Woman Power”. This might be a marketing gimmick to appeal to high school and middle school aged girls who aren’t quite a woman. It could also be that more people are aware of “girl power” from the 90s and not being able or willing to transfer to “woman power” of today. But I do feel that sometimes women are ignored in favor of teenaged girls because they need to be “saved” from the pressures of sexism. However, teen girls look to adult role models to embody, so adult women need to find peace and empowerment within themselves before rushing off to save the fifteen year old across the street.

    But in a country where black female representation is sparse, it’s almost a sin to not like Beyonce. But I have to say that I don’t, even at the risk of being called a “hater” or not appreciating her work. I just don’t find her or her work to be authentic.

  • http://www.codeemphasis.blogspot.com Clarity Jane

    I agree with everything you’ve written…When I mentioned ‘Girl Power’ I just used it as a term that since the Spice Girls coined it in the 90s most female artists and groups of today have adopted the gimmick in order to emulate similar success…They use it as an M.O to justify being hypersexual and relating it to being in control…For example I’ve heard the Pussy Cat Dolls and Rihanna use the term in interviews. Beyonce’s song is called ‘Who Runs the World (Girls). Sorry if my comment was misleading.

    You’re right when you say that there is more an emphasis on ‘girls’ because that market group are easier to mould, Beyonce and Rihanna don’t make music for 30 somethings they music for a younger audience that will buy into their brand. To even put the word ‘Feminism’ in the the same sentence as ‘Beyonce’ is oxymoronic to me.

  • Malik

    Uh, there isn’t any glamorization against violence towards women in Jay’s verse on Monster. He’s comparing himself to various monsters throughout his entire verse. The closest he comes is with his allusion to Vikings.

    As for Beyonce, the title the problematic enough with referring to women as ‘girls’. This happens far too often when referring to women of any age group and is never attached to males unless someone is deliberately separating the mindset between ‘boys’ and ‘men’. The video itself is terrible as well. While sexual liberation (for the lack of a better word on my part) should in fact be part of the feminist movement, it shouldn’t always be the only mode where women attempt to make strides.

    Every time Beyonce has attempted to make some sort of anthem regarding women it has been terrible. I wish she would stop and just do the dance songs she’s good at.

  • http://AirInDanYell.tumblr.com Erin

    No. LMAO.

  • African Mami

    I HIGHLY DISAGREE.

    Thrusting vaginas, licking door knobs in the case of Keri Hilson is just PURE FOOLISHNESS to me! There is nothing empowering about that!

    It is very easy to make sense out of nonsense, if you really wanted to! This is a classic case of nonsense, well at least to me!

  • Jamilah Lemieux

    No. She’s a great entertainer and has made some music that makes women feel good and have a good time. But she’s not bringing anything so different to the table. She’s not the first performer to be sexually self-possessed: we’ve had Janet, Grace…this isn’t new! Is Beyonce a beneficiary of feminism? Sure, but I think the ‘new face of feminism’ should be able to articulate what feminism is and I’m not sure that some vague Spice Girls-esque “Girl power” sound bites are gonna cut it. Call it Rhythm Nation 2011, but don’t call it a movement.

  • Mimi

    There is no way that everyone is going to agree on what feminism is so asking the question is Beyonce the new face of feminism will illicit different responses because of all of our different definitions of the word. There are people who feel that having the freedom to shake your ass in a video represents feminism and there are some who feel that conducting a meeting in a boardroom while wearing a St. John suit is feminism. Remember when Sex and the City first came out and some people said that the girls were slutty and some said that they were liberated and feminists and just showcasing another side of being a woman, which is the sexual side. It’s all about what you belive feminism is.

    On another note, I personally don’t like the video or the song. “Girls” don’t rule the world. Another side note, am I the only one who thinks that she looks like Jennifer Lopez in that first pic?

  • http://www.VeronicaPearman.com Veronica Pearman

    As a 47 year old mother of a 17 year old young woman – I totally agree with you.

    There is a positive message in Beyonce’s video. There is powerful symbolism and strokes of Female Domination are highlighted. This power and control are driven by the presence of female sexuality which – undoubtedly leads to the unmistakable control of any situation, if used properly.

    I saw this video begin with a world in a mess, and women caged and crucified – while Beyonce, donned in a Mesopotamian head dress gathers her army. Empowered by their sexuality but not ENSLAVED to it.

    There was a time when it appeared that Feminism was only identified with the absence of sexuality and in my opinion this should never be the case – because as women, we are the embodiment of female sexuality and it should always be embraced, in all its forms. If you think about it, the true essence of Feminism should never deny what is inherently ours.

    The use of “Girl” is inconsequential… it’s more about gender than age – that is quite apparent. I think that if all you see in this video is a gyrating Beyonce – you may want to take a closer look at yourself and your views on your own Womanhood. There is no “either/or” here… you CAN be totally in control, revel in your sexuality, and maintain your dignity and keep your self respect in tact. A balancing act worth the effort.

    Yes, I agree that the fourth wave of Feminism has arrived – you just have to “get it”… it’s a new world and BALANCE is the key.

  • http://theseventhdistrict.com Nicole

    I’m a certified Bey stan. I loved the video! Especially the styling and the dancing but I’d never go as far to say Bey is the new face of feminism. Let’s be real…she is an entertainer not a women’s right activist. What more do people want from her? She’s staying in her lane. She’s doing what’s worked for her in the past and she’ll keep doing it and stacking while we debate about it on a blog. Let’s just let Bey do her and keep making hot dance videos and leave the real womens empowerment and inspiration up to women like Michelle Obama! Absolutely LOVES her. Now she should have been in the video! just my thoughts.

  • Intrinsic Beauty

    It’s not just you. I said the same thing when I saw this pic. She does indeed look like Jennifer Lopez. Matter fact, she looks less and less black everytime you see her. And the song SUCKS!!! This sounds like some watered down M. I. A. music that Beyoncé decided to “sing” over.

  • http://heardhimsay.com Drew-Shane

    No. I don’t think Beyonce is the face of anything to do with feminism; maybe crotch popping and entertaining. A few girl empowerment songs, sure but I can’t see her like that. And I don’t even think she really believes she is.

  • http://twitter.com/dianamcqueen D.C. McQueen

    Certain? Certain women? I think your article lost me in the first line.
    Feminism is about all women, and there’s been women of all colors and walks of life in the movement at all times. Just because the famous ones were privledged or white, that goes to the media covering the movement.

    Also, feminism is about women being themselves and being independent and proud of their own power. Beyonce embodies this. The one thing that most men and women miss about feminism is that it’s just as much about men as it is women. It’s about equality and living together.

    Lady Gaga is also another pop star who could be the face of feminism. Also, pretty much any independent self-made woman who is living life as she desires is the face of feminism. Just because lazy people who pay attention to the loudest people, doesn’t mean that there aren’t many faces of feminism in all walks of live and nations living right now. But if we have to settle for Beyonce alone, we could do worse.

    The point is to not boil things down to the simplest dumbest answer an hyperbole.

  • Gylain

    no why feminist why not womanist. i dont understand why any women of colour would identify with a movement that has not included them until recently.

  • http://hoodlook.tumblr.com Jasmine

    100% concur
    Thank you for a point of view that isn’t ‘all or nothing’ and is realistically applicable to what it means to be a woman. Critical thinking means assessing all angles and not just jumping on a band wagon. I’ve learned they never really get you where you’re trying to go.

    I do not advocate hypersexuality, however, if anyone believes that the only way to be considered a man’s equal is to negate femininity than you have already lost. We do not ask men to nullify their masculinity in order to be considered equal to women. The world is designed with harmonizing and balancing energies. Just like success and love, power isn’t characterized by one finite attribute or quality.

  • Truth.com

    I could care less about all of this, but that song and video is hot. Its just a song and video its not that serious,

  • http://revolutionarypaideia.wordpress.com Antonio Maurice Daniels

    Beyonce is certainly one contemporary face and voice of feminism. In what she does, she champions the empowerment of women, gives women a serious voice, and speaks against gender discrimination and inequality. Feminism has always been inclusive, both in theory and praxis, and is increasingly growing more inclusive and diverse. There’s nothing wrong with seeing Beyonce as one contemporary face and voice of feminism among many others. We can critique her as a feminist face and voice as we do all other contemporary feminists. More women in various professions and stations of life need to find ways to advocate for feminism and offer feminist critiques about economic, social, academic, and cultural phenomena and life in general.

  • delamiel

    I always find that Beyonce’s feminism gives no room for male and female talks. No chance to include our husband, fathers, brothers in the struggle of women. Its the old school stereotype of feminism that says women good, men bad. It really pits us against each other. All her independent songs are about trifling men, well of course if u with a trifling man, u will hv to pay his bills and what not. the same as if u r with a trifling woman, whats feministic about that ? I see her feminism being portrayed as men haters ( which is what we are not).

    And why r we still having that sexual empowerment debate… seriously sexuality is not the only thing our foremothers fought for…

    lets just remember that feminism is teh radical notion that women are persons too

  • Ms. Niki

    I agree with Demetria. when did feminism and women empowerment become about the freedom to be sexy (dance sexy, dress sexy, etc)? If so, then we should look at video vixens as the most Empowered women in our culture, and strippers as sexually liberated. But anyone with a teaspoon of common sense knows better than this. Beyonce is definately not the face of feminism. The only part of that song that even scream “I am Woman, Here me Roar” was the chorus, and even that was a weak attempt. Her lyrics have become cookie cutter and predictable. For someone who has been in the industry for that long, her lyrics should have a level of depth to them. She should’ve shown some growth by now. Unfortunately, every album after the first, has been a downgrade lyrically. what is empowering about women “unifying” on the dancefloor in a club “pat pat patting” their weave? What about this song will give my female students the courage to go after their dreams? What about it will encourage them to fight inequality in the workforce? What about say “f*** you, pay me” will encourage them to develop healthy relationships and give them the strength to walk away from bad ones? This is not a woman’s anthem, it’s a club banger. As good a business woman that Beyonce is, and as progressive in the industry, she still doesn’t translate it into her music. But we as black women seem so hungry for black female leaders that anybody will do these days. If this is the new wave of Women’s Empowerment movement and feminism, it is mediocre at best.

  • omg

    i don’t find beyonce at all inspiring.

  • Ms. Niki

    Girl you are so right! Prostitutes get paid, and I assume they too work hard for that money. does that mean they are empowered women? Hellz nawl.

  • Ms. Niki

    but my thing is, when did hypersexuality become sexual liberation?

  • African Mami

    @ Maurice,

    Good to see you on here!!!!

    Guess what I just submimed your whole post! When does she all those things you’ve mentioned? Speak against gender discrimination, coz all she be doing is single ladying the hell out of songs!

  • http://mynameismisswhite.blogspot.com Miss White

    Great post! I’m a Bey fan as well. I felt the message of the video was that we’re fierce and can go toe to toe with any man. Overall message? We can do what we damn well please, including running this mutha. If that isn’t feminist I don’t know what is. The choreography? I felt it was intricate and energetic, as opposed to raunchy and laced with p-poppin’. I saw Demetria’s point but everybody has a lane and Beyonce runs hers. I’m reminded of when Lucas talked about people expecting Nicki Minaj to cover all the bases that female mc’s hold. It’s a lot to put on one artist. Also, I don’t really mind how she shouted out college grads. I find it respectable she did it at all. That’s a first. I got where she was going but I just didn’t think it was that deep.

    Our power is where we place it, and I don’t think Beyonce places hers in her P****. Does she play up her sexuality? Yes. But I’m not gonna lie if I was in that type of shape, I’d flaunt it too! Now the face of feminism? That’s a thought. I think feminism has many faces and to me she is one of them. But other faces look like Oprah, Michelle Obama, and well, you and me. If you don’t see feminism in her, that’s fine too. So many other places to look. She definitely “ain’t for everybody” *Hov voice*

  • pinkpearls

    Exactly! It’s entertainment. A video. And I doubt Beyonce thought (or cares less) that it sparked these debates. Enjoy the music for what it is and if you don’t like it, don’t listen and don’t watch. Simple as that.

    That aside, I loved this point you raised Arielle:

    Lucas’ commentary implies that powerful women cannot bask in their sexuality, femininity, and confidence without jeopardizing their authority.

    My sentiment exactly.

  • http://mynameismisswhite.blogspot.com Miss White

    Love this comment!

  • African Mami

    Drew Shane,

    You my friend are the voice of reason

    Yes crotch popping!!! does not equate to feminism!!!!!!!!!!! In that case, Keri Hilson, Tierra Marie, Ashanti are all feminists.

  • pinkpearls

    Very true.

  • http://www.VeronicaPearman.com Veronica Pearman

    “When did Feminism become about the Freedom to be sexy?”… Feminism is about a whole lot more – but that statement alone says a lot – the “freedom.” Our outlook on what is sexy, or being sexy has to catch up with the true essence of Feminism – being FREE to be who you are and express yourself as YOU see fit is a part of Feminism. If who you choose to be empowers you – that’s your choice and it should be respected. But for example – if you are on a pole because you have to feed an addiction – you are enslaved to your sexuality. There shouldn’t be an either/ or when it comes to female sexuality and it’s many forms of expression and Feminism.

  • Ms. Niki

    The problem is that although people on here are saying it’s not an either or and that it is multidimentional, sexiness is the only thing that Beyonce is portraying in her image, choice of music and lyrics, and videos. this is all we are seeing.

  • http://www.lavishmagonline.com LavishChic

    No.

  • laura

    CO-SIGN! Best response I’ve seen to this article.

  • bosslady

    @Tatiana,

    Music is a way to express yourself, although I do not like Girls, you cannot complain that Beyonce’s music is heterosexually geared. She is heterosexual!!! DUH!! Lol. She is writing from her standpoint.

  • bosslady

    @African Mami,
    I know Ashanti hasn’t made music for a minute but I don’t recollect her “crotch popping” or being overtly sexual.

  • PascaleDE

    I agree with both of you ladies, especially Ms. Niki “the only thing that Beyonce is portraying in her image, choice of music and lyrics, and videos.

  • Whoo

    I agree with Ms. Niki 100 per cent. Beyonce is the certainly face of the fourth wave’s identity crisis that young women face nowadays, who grew believing that Madonna’s telegenic, button-pushing, “graphic sexuality over a hot beat” was THE road to empowerment.

  • sli

    “Being on to of your game and getting paid millions don’t mean sh*t to me when when the game means that you lose yourself to be a robot and a puppet for the industry.”

    That’s it, in a nutshell!!!

  • binks

    No, maybe because I don’t see enough correlation of what she does for her job which is entertaining and being a brand and what she does when she is just Beyonce. If we could see more of this feminism attribute people and she claims she has than we should be able to reference it in all aspects of her life not just when she is singing and performing. Don’t get me wrong, I think she talks a great game and does have a few feminism ideas but I don’t see further actions after she is off stage/set. I just don’t see the face of feminism here because anybody can belt out a few women friendly songs but that doesn’t a feminism make solely. Personally, I thought she could have taken the message behind this song so much further than this video (which is fine but falls along the same lines that we are use to seeing of bouncing, shaking and gyrating) and like someone said before their is a difference between basking in your sexuality as a woman and being hypersexual. I feel like you almost want your cake and eat it too so I kind of agree with D. Lucas here it is a mix message. Secondly, another thing that has made me think is how can you be all about womanhood when you say a line like “none of these b*tches can’t fade me…’” oh okay.

  • Zoe

    My thoughts exactly! Well put!

  • http://sartorialme.blogspot.com serenissima

    ‘Ignoring all of the previously listed positions that Bey occupies, most people simply deem her a gyrating, sex symbol. And frankly, all of the traditional feminist criticism of her “Who Runs The World (Girls)” video is just another example of the disconnect between intellectual theory and real life.’

    Yeah I stopped reading after that phrase. So, to be sexy in ‘real life’ I have to writhe around in no pants, flip the bird at unsuspecting passerby, and talk about how bitches dont fade me? i cant be sexy in jeans and a t-shirt, and sneakers? damn. if this is the new wave of feminism i want no parts of it

    i skimmed the rest of the piece and stopped again at this words:

    ‘Beyonce’s “Girls” video is an anthem for contemporary women that aren’t afraid of being powerful, driven, smart, and sexy. We can hold our own in the workplace, and later in the evening, pull out our garter belts and work it for our partner.’

    Where was the part where Beyonce was holding her own in the workplace then working it for her partner? i mustve missed that part of the video. I wouldve much rather preferred to see her in a real world setting, like running a company as CEO or something like that then breaking it down later on in the vid, instead of this Mad Max mess she put out. Bey is a strong, powerful woman but this video DEFINITELY doesnt showcase that.

  • http://melindasperspective.blogspot.com Melinda

    Finally,someone with some sense.

  • http://sartorialme.blogspot.com serenissima

    @Malik: um… have you HEARD the song? Jay def says:

    none of you n-ggas have seen the carnage that I’ve seen
    I still here fiends scream in my dream
    murder murder in black convertibles
    I kill a block I murder avenues
    rape and pillage a village, women and children
    everybody wanna know what my achilles heel is

    hmmm… ‘rape and pillage a village, women and children…’ oh yeah, no glamourization of violence against women there AT ALL

  • http://sartorialme.blogspot.com serenissima

    @MsNiki:

    million dollar question right there

  • http://sartorialme.blogspot.com serenissima

    your point is a good one, but i think the problem that most people have with this video is that there IS no balance. You said it yourself: ‘There is no “either/or” here… you CAN be totally in control, revel in your sexuality, and maintain your dignity and keep your self respect in tact. A balancing act worth the effort.’

    I certainly see her reveling in her sexuality… but where is the dignity in this video? Where is the respect? Where is the balance? Is it hiding behind her telling people ‘fuck you’ (the meaning of flipping the bird) or screaming out ‘nigga pay me?’ And speaking of respect… where is the respect for fellow women? You can’t say ‘Girls run the world’ in one breath then say ‘None of these bitches fade me’ in the next. The song is one-dimensional, and hiding behind the guise of ‘sexual empowerment’ when is crass, tasteless, hypersexualized propoganda designed to snatch up younger fans and make lots of records. Let’s call a spade a spade here, people

  • http://sartorialme.blogspot.com serenissima

    @BossLady: You dont remember her song ‘Good Good?’

  • http://sartorialme.blogspot.com serenissima

    oops meant to say:

    The song is one-dimensional and hiding behind the guise of ‘sexual empowerment’ when it’s actually crass, tasteless, hypersexualized propoganda designed to snatch up younger fans and make lots of money. Let’s call a spade a spade here, people

  • Taryn R.

    The term feminism is defined as a collection of movements aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights and equal opportunities for women. When has Beyonce or her music EVER done ANY of the above?? Stop trying to make this girl out to be more than she is. She is a vapid entertainer who I doubt has little to no clue of any real social or political issues taking place. It’s just a song (not a terribly good one by the way) and the lyrics are so banal. Do we really want this to be our anthem????

  • http://sartorialme.blogspot.com serenissima

    and you know what else KILLS me? ‘feminism’ is a universal term, but this wave of hypersexualization and disrespect of others = being a ‘boss’ or ‘running the world’ only seems to apply to minorites. the ladies of SATC were sexual, but they were friends… they didnt disrespect each other or put other ladies down. Beyonce has made an ENTIRE CAREER out of making women feel ‘empowered’ because they feel like theyre ‘better’ than other women.

    ke$ha is a perfect example of how sexual liberation without nastiness can mean feminism. she blatantly says in her songs things like ‘im in love with my crazy life,’ ‘i love my girls all pretty and plastered,’ ‘ill c u next tuesday (to a lover she knows has a girlfriend, but is only using for sex),’ ‘when you grow a pair, you can call me back’ (to a guy she feels doesnt act like a man,’ etc. she never tells a guy to pay her bills, buy her shit, or acts like other girls are under her. she just is who she is and shes loving her life, and if YOU dont like it thats YOUR problem. THATS girl power

  • Jennifer

    I call your feminism into question with your request that Beyonce take responsibility for her husband’s actions/lyrics. Critique her on what you view as her shortcomings. It is misogynistic to hold her accountable for him as if she doesn’t have a well established identity apart from Jay Z. I am guessing, you have never asked him to offer an explanation for anything you hate about her lyrics?

  • TS

    don’t really agree with this article…. the whole selling my body but using it for power is a illusion. in the end u are vulnerable to men to be used as a sex image.

  • Gigi Young

    Christina Aguilera has written more feminist songs than Beyonce.

  • browniegirl360

    Exactly! the feminist movement was about white women pissed off at THEIR white men….and still is when you really think about it…

  • NY

    100% co-sign

  • Lurker

    I applaud the dialogue and conversation here but must admit when I first read the title of this article it made me feel queasy.

    Beyonce is a talented woman but she contradicts so much. I see her version of empowerment as being sexual or flaunting her sexuality in a man’s face then snatching it away—and that’s power in a way, I guess, but she’s beat that dead horse since her DC days and her lyrics as basic and pedestrian as they are show not the subtley and nuance an artist with 16 Grammy awards should have.

    But this isn’t about semantics, rather it’s about her message overal and many of you have spoken on that well enough already.

    She’s sticking to a formula that’s proven tried and true for her—and that formula is “let me overtly, literally bludgeon you over the head with how awesome I am by being as sexually visceral yet withholding as I can be”.

    I often times envision her snapping her neck, rolling her eyes, popping bubble-gum and saying “nanh-nanh-nanh-boo-boo, I’m better than you…oh and female empowerment, woo-hoo, let me count my money” before/during/after every song she sings.

    Beautiful female.

    Awesome performer.

    Feminist? Sure, for profit. Her anthems seem to be for herself rather than everyone else. And calling other women b*tches… (Something misogynistic men love to do) but it’s okay ‘coz it takes away the negative power of the word, right? Hmmm…

  • Mae

    Listen to the song ‘Cater to you’ or ‘Ego’ she is not a feminist.

  • Gigi Young

    IMO, Beyonce promotes sexuality (or looking attractive) in return for material goods. Her whole schtick is about being the baddest chick, the best looking woman, the woman with the most designer duds, etc etc that an equally materialistic man can be proud to have on his arm. She’s all about the external, and when that doesn’t keep a man, just grab your millions and your closet full of Louboutins and move onto the next.

  • B

    “Have you ever noticed the reaction of most women to Beyonce’s music in a dance club? It’s as if all the men in the room disappear and the women group together, dancing with their heads held high and empowering each other with every hip twist and hand wave.” Really? That’s just way too much hyperbole. I mean, let’s be real. You lost me there.

    I agree with many of the other comments: Beyonce’s just selling sex. I don’t see how in the world that makes her a feminist or womanist. Period. That would mean that damn near every female singer these days is a feminist/womanist and we all know that just isn’t the case.

    Selling sex is not the same as owning your sexuality. Beyonce simply does the former – I’m not remotely convinced that she does the latter in her music. But I guess that’s up for debate.

  • B

    Indeed, the first really sensible comment I’ve seen so far. I agree entirely! Way to keep it 100% real.

  • http://aintiwoman.com za

    a quick answer – NO

    Beyonce isn’t the face of contemporary feminism – not even womanism.

    she may be a woman who presents some strong images in some of her songs but she does more “cater to you” songs to numb whatever strong feminist messaging she dabbles with. i also find these supposed feminists or womanist messages to only be used as a gimmick and not any true, lived, constant in her musical philosophy (if i can call it that)

    i love her work, some of the time, but she’s not in the same pantheon as bell hooks or Staceyann Chin or Pumla Gqola even if we call it fourth wave.

    btw: i keep saying feminist or womanist because she serves neither cause.

    the African-dance inspired moves are a dance calls isiPantsula originating ins South Africa. The male dancers (amaPantsula) at the beginning of the dance are from Mozambique, i think they call their crew Tofo Tofo…

  • Isis

    Exactly!!!!

  • Isis

    Totally agree!!!

  • Isis

    @bosslady U are right Ashanti has never popped her crotch @serenissima Yes, I remember the video Good Good cuz right after that yall girl Beyonce had to make a similar video for her song Why don’t you love me? lmaooo If Beyonce is the new face of feminism yall feminist are in big trouble

  • http://sartorialme.blogspot.com serenissima

    @pinkpearls: I hate when people use this argument, ‘oh it’s just a song/video/commercial, etc). It’s marketing. It’s a marketing ploy. And what is the point of marketing? To sell a product, a concept, an idea. And a star as HUGE as Beyonce has unparalleled influence on the youth that are her target demographic.

    Girls don’t hear this song/watch this video and think ‘oh, it’s just a song,’ they internalize everything abou her image and what she’s saying and apply it to real life. How many people do you see calling themselves divas and bosses these days? They certainly didn’t just make it up.

    Im also confused about Arielle’s point that Lucas’ commentary ‘implies that powerful women cannot bask in their sexuality, femininity, and confidence without jeopardizing their authority.’ Since you agree, maybe you can explain that? I didn’t get any implication from Lucas that women can’t bask in their sexuality, femininity, and confidence.

    Lucas blatantly stated that the video/women ARE hot (ie sexual), but showcasing said hotness doesn’t change the fact that men still rule the world (which they do) and also doesn’t challenge the notion that said hotness is all women have as power. Beyonce didnt do anything ‘powerful’ in the video besides dance and look sexy… Plus she saluted the men at the end! Did you and Arielle not get the point?

  • Galatea

    “Sexiness is part of my feminine identity and I have a right to it” is squarely in the middle of third-wave feminism, so there’s no need to split off. It’s also a load of baloney.

    Beyonce isn’t promoting women executives or women ER-runners. She’s promoting women who present their bodies for male availability. She’s promoting BODIES, period, not women at all.

    This video is not about Beyonce’s “multidimensionality as a human being.” It doesn’t show her brushing her teeth in the morning, giving orders to her agent, making intelligent decisions. This article author’s fantasy “artist, songwriter, entrepreneur, wife, daughter, sister”* Beyonce is nowhere to be seen in the work she chooses to make.

    *And it’s ridiculous that in listing the things that make Beyonce “a multidimensional human being,” three out of the seven items on this list describe her in terms of her relationships to the men in her life.

  • Emelyne

    Maybe if she cracked open a book and didn’t sound completely ignorant and uneducated whenever she comments on anything or is conducting an interview, I could she how she’d be doing something to empower women. She’s the the stereotypical, over-sexualized black women with nothing to offer between the ears. If contemporary feminism is the equivalent of contemporary stupidity, then I guess so…

  • Brooklyn

    Very well said. If she is the face of feminism we as women are in serious trouble.

  • Mina

    Thank you!!!!!!

  • anony

    So I know I am late to the discussion, but when I first saw this posted it didn’t seem worth my time to comment. The whole idea of Beyonce being the face of anything to do with female empowerment is kind of laughable to me, tbh. I’m going to put my (very late) .02 in before reading the other comments, although I hope my opinion is that of the majority:

    Beyonce is a great performer. She has catchy songs that pay great lip service to female empowerment, but it’s just that: lip service. Beyonce doesn’t even write most of her own songs (her sister Solange wrote a lot of DC and songs on Bey’s albums) and I don’t think she’s smart enough to really know what feminism is. She seems like the type to say, “oh well, I believe EVERYONE should be equal! But I’d never call myself a feminist because I like to cook and clean and love my man!” etc. in that awful drawl of hers.

    Beyonce IS a feminist in many ways, whether intentional or not. If she read some books by bell hooks and picks up “Black Feminist Thought”, who KNOWS what she can accomplish! But the idea of Beyonce representing “modern feminism” (which is still a white woman’s movement and why I proudly reject the label because of its racism, classism, and transphobia in favor of the title of WOMANIST) is laughable.

  • anony

    Yes, on all points! And I love how you mentioned Gaga re: the gay community. It is becoming very unsettling to me how she has made herself the “Mother Monster” of a community without earning the title or really DOING anything. So a video around the time of DADT being repealed…that’s…awesome? Where is the time, the real effort? Aside from saying, “you’re all beautiful!!!1″ what has she REALLY done? People really need to start thinking about why they blindly worship these popstars and give them titles they do not deserve.

  • Isis

    lmaoooo Thank goodness. I thought I was the only one!!!

  • http://recycledwanderer.tumblr.com anony

    co-sign.

  • http://sartorialme.blogspot.com serenissima

    Random but I’m watching The Mummy Returns and I would have loved to see an ancient Egyptian theme… Like Beyonce as Queen Cleopatra or something with some fierce outfits, jewelry, pale gold makeup… Leading armies and still looking hot. She could also have incorporated the same exact dance in there… Like a modern day ‘Remeber the Time.’ Now THAT would have been empowering!

  • fabian egbesu ohore

    this is coming from a woman who wore blackface to honor fela kuti and this is who you guys want to represent you. a corporate created image. have any of u strong black woman feminists ever heard of edward bernays/ have any of you seen the bbc documentary “the century of the self” on youtube have any of you ever heard of queen nanny or funmilayo anikulapo kuti or ida b wells-barnett? its a sad shame that in 2011 mall of you women have bitten the idea of feminism none of these black feminists are relevant since more black women listen to wendy williams and zane than bell hooks or audry lourde. Feminism is and still is a crypto eugenic movement that is funded by white men to further the interests of white women. how many of you black women know that the gynecologist was created by a white man testing his practice on black female slaves until he perfected his techniques before he did them to his precious white women or that the birth control pill was experimented on puerto rican girls before they were given to precious white women. yall can keep lying to yall selves me on the otherhand ill be looking for women like margaret ekpo or betty x for inspiration you can have these weave wearing, lady gaga copying black feminists who spend more money on their hair than theirt kids.

  • Tomi-chan

    You are SO on point, especially about the birth control. Margaret Sanger was also a known proponent of Eugenics, an Anti-Semetic and lauded the idea of mass sterilization of the poor and uneducated (aka Black).

  • http://www.testorshia.blogspot.com Tes

    No, Beyonce does not speak for feminism. She speaks for commercialism. That’s about it.

    I’m not saying it’s wrong to praise our bodies, but when that’s all we’re prasing there is a problem. You can say one thing all day and night, but it’s what you do that shows where your mind’s at and what your character contains. Beyonce isn’t concerned with anybody’s feminism, in my opinion, Beyonce is concerned with making money. Anything else spoken on her behalf about “multidimension”-whatever is reaching.

  • aggie

    How do you judge another person, woman at that, by her geographical drawl. That is ignorant in itself. I would think that many of you would support her as a black woman. Now, I do agree with many of your comments and support your thoughts. However, why are so many against her? She never said that she was or wasn’t. Don’t think that she got this far soley by following someone. We all need a leader before we take our place as leaders. She is a strong woman. Despite her lack of higher education, don’t knock her for the knowledge that she does have.

  • BeautyIAM

    I really had to LMAO at this because didn’t we already establish that Beyonce really didn’t understand what feminism is in this article,

    http://clutchmagonline.com/2010/08/beyonce-says-she-thinks-shes-feminist-in-a-way/

    *sigh* Bey, go back to school….

    Face of contemporary feminism, NO

  • BeautyIAM

    I really had to LMBO at this because didn’t we already establish that Beyonce really didn’t understand what feminism was in the article entitled “Beyonce Says She Thinks She A Feminist, In A Way”

    Yeah, I really think she needs to go back to school. Contemporary feminist…NO.

  • Shelle

    Check Out This Blog Post Opinion on Beyonce and Feminism… pretty interesting!

    http://thequeenbhive.blogspot.com/2011/05/ohhhh-queen-b.html

  • ShaunaInFlux

    As someone previously commented, this video is about Beyonce and Beyonce alone. This video was to show off that Beyonce has been in the dance studio working on becoming a better dancer and that’s what’s represented in the video. This disconnect from lyrics to video was because Beyonce was out to prove she could compete with the Gaga’s, Rihanna’s and Janet’s of the world without looking like she was trying to hard. Please believe this woman is all about creating an image of innovation where there actually isn’t any. I enjoy her music just like the next person, but I know the girl may sound like there’s nothing in between those ears, but there is, and she knows how to play to the lowest denominators without rolling in the mud.

  • http://furahaproject.blogspot.com Maria

    thank you.

    People talk about her as an “entrepreneur” as is she’s done anything besides shake her booty and smile and pose all these years. You could say her *parents* are entrepreneurs and made her into a worldwide brand, but don’t act like Beyonce herself was balancing budgets and pitching to venture capitalists. She is the product, not the businesswoman.

  • http://furahaproject.blogspot.com Maria

    Clearly Beyonce as a feminist is a joke. We agree on that.

    But you have got to quit with the conspiracy theories. “Feminism is and still is a crypto eugenic movement that is funded by white men to further the interests of white women.”

    Yes, black women are underrepresented and ignored in modern feminist movements. Well, we are underrepresented and ignored in everything, ever. It is up to us to make our voices heard and bring ourselves into the conversation – it is dumb to wait for other ppl to include us, and it is even dumber to spew such vitriol on another group ie white women. Crabs in a bucket mentality.

  • fabian egbesu ohore

    Maria
    what conspiracy, as usual when some one points out the history of the movement you guys are so “gaga” over u guys huff and puff and experience what the european rationalists call “cognitive dissonance”..go and read the book “white womans rights” by michelle newmann or the manipulated man by esther vilar or the anatomy of female power by chinweizu. alll i am doing is pointing out to my black sisters and mothers that there is no oppressed white woman its always been a farce and the books i recomend point that out. again have u ever read edward bernays why do you want to include “yourself in the conversation” its the illusion of inclusion crap that is fooling us black folk world wide, u sound like a 1960 sit in protestor begging to drink ice cream with your oppressor all in the name of “development. feminism is not rooted in any cultural history its just a bunch of hot air rhetoric which is why black feminists ignore queen nanny and big up bell hooks even though her solution is rooted in the st simonian marxism that even the french and germans dont practice. have you read foucault and his thoughts on bio politics. we need to look at societies like the maroons in jamaica or the seminoles that were in florida esp the seminoles they consisted of indians, africans and whites who deserted the army and feminism is not going to get us there any sooner, all further debates can be sent to me directly at gasdemup?yahoo.com.
    peace

  • TT

    I completely agree.

  • Smurf Berry

    Beyonce is an incredible talent with both singing, song, writing and dancing skills, but a feminist she is not. First of all the hook “Who runs the world GIRLS” is silly at best because if anyone is going to run the world, women do, not girls. Second, as a man, when you tell me that you run the world and suggest that I respect that I respect you as my equal, all while saying this in garter-belts and sexually exploitative outfits you actually force me to revert back to seeing you as a sex object. Next, you are married to a man who built a successful career off of songs titled Money, Cash, Hoes. There is so much confusion in the messaging here that it makes very little sense.

    Also, this song is VERY divisive in that is pits men against women. If we could have more songs that encourage men and women to work together the Creator intended, I would have more respect for efforts. Beyonce is more interested in making money and than she is in making a real difference in the way we view and treat women. I just wished she would use her enormous talent and platform for better uses instead of pushing these divisive “we don’t need no man songs.”

    Last if you have noticed Beyonce has been progressively loosing the soul in her music. What happened to producing soulful black music. This techno-pop music is crap. Going after the “white non black dollar” is an insult to all black people. When I go to an Italian restaurant I expect to eat Itialian food. When I go to a black radio I expect to hear soulful black and urban music. As a Beyonce fan, I’m not feeling this new movement by Bey or black music in general.

  • Smurf Berry

    Beyonce is an incredible talent with both singing, song, writing and dancing skills, but a feminist she is not. First of all the hook “Who runs the world GIRLS” is silly at best because if anyone is going to run the world, it will be women, not GIRLS. Second, as a man, when you tell me that “you” run the world and suggest that I respect you as my equal, all while saying this in garter-belts and sexually exploitative outfits you actually force me to revert back to seeing you as a sex object and not a respectful woman. Next, you are married to a man who built a successful career off of songs titled Money, Cash, Hoes and Big Pimpin. Come On now. If you want my respect as a man, address that messy trail of misogyny and do a song about unifying good men with good women. There is so much confusion in the messaging here that it makes very little sense.

    Also, this song is VERY divisive in that is pits men against women. If we could have more songs that encourage men and women to work together as the Creator intended, I would have more respect for her efforts. Beyonce is more interested in making money than she is in making a real difference in the way we view and treat women. I just wished she would use her enormous talent and platform for better uses instead of pushing these divisive “we don’t need no man” songs.

    Last if you have noticed Beyonce has been progressively loosing the soul in her music. What happened to producing soulful black music. This techno-pop music is crap. Going after the “white non black dollar” is an insult to all black people. When I go to an Italian restaurant I expect to eat Italian food. When I go to a black radio I expect to hear soulful black and urban music. As a Beyonce fan, I’m not feeling this new movement by Bey or black music in general.

  • Emelyne

    Loosing the soul? When did she ever have any? The only time Beyonce’s songs had soul was when she was portraying a character (The Fighting Temptation, Dream Girls), otherwise, the songs are as shallow, yet pretty as she is. I agree with the rest of your comment, though.

  • she dont care what anyone says

    sorry why are people assuming beyonce doesnt read? or further more doesnt know shit? what just cause her personal life is not pushed in yer face? cause you dont see her taking a poop like keisha coles, or the braxtons? seriously I think the hateration really needs to stop. after that idiot Japanese guy said we black women are the least attractive race the last thing we need is to shoot our great white hope down. this is what they did to Michael Jackson. it was ok after the first few albums but now its like she’s over rated, she over sexualised. I’m guessing most of ya are single, wear glasses, wouldnt know sexiness if it hit you and aint had no joy in that department for sometime… I’d love to see you lot gyrate your hips and sing two hype hype tunes then turn out a good ballad for good measure and still have the fan base only some stars would dream of. good thing she is happy with making her family and her man happy as well as thousands or millions of young girls who want to run the world who just needed confirmation that they could. good on her. hope she gets bigger and better despite the Haters

  • and darling she doesn’t care about you either

    You repeatedly used the word hater (or derivations of). This completely and utterly turns me off to any valid points you might have been making. Get up off having a 6th grade level vocabulary. You and the rest of Beyonce’s divisive fanbase.

  • http://sartorialme.blogspot.com serenissima

    ‘I’m guessing most of ya are single, wear glasses, wouldnt know sexiness if it hit you and aint had no joy in that department for sometime’

    glasses arent sexy? i missed the memo. i wasnt watching the beyonce vid close enough i guess

  • jaded

    Sorry, after watching this video I thought:
    If women really ran the world, there is no way we’d bother with garters and stockings.

    It would be a sad day if Beyonce represented feminism, I am not really sure she is actually creating her own path. The first part of being a feminist, is to forge ahead with your ideas and not society’s manufactured ones.

  • Jinx Moneypenny

    Nope.

    I watched the YouTube video critiquing the song and frankly, if you were looking at Beyonce as a feminist in the first place, then okay, but not once have I ever viewed her or labelled her as one so it didn’t make sense to me.

    It’s not a word I use lightly and I certainly wouldn’t apply it to Beyonce. She’s trying to be an entertainment icon. In the PC society we live in right now she would lose her following coming out and claiming herself as feminist publicly.

    Seriously.

  • Jinx Moneypenny

    -DEAD-

    I am so glad you posted that link. I am laughing so hard right now.

  • Merci

    @ and darling she doesn’t care about you either says
    LOL. I couldn’t finish reading the comment.

  • Cathy

    OMG!

  • Cathy

    Is Beyonce the Face of Contemporary Feminism? The answer is no.

    Let’s give credit where credit is due and not get caught up in the hype of her fame.

    There are so many other women in this and past generations that truly inspire women of all backgrounds that we can reflect on in terms of learning, empowering and uplifting beyond our everyday struggles. I would not consider (B) as one of them. She is a very good entertainer and I think we should not be lost in the fact, that entertaining is what she does for money.

    What historical mark has she made with regards to this generation that would have an impact for the long term, is the question? I’m not saying that she is obligated to do so, I’m just saying, she should not be grouped in with other women that have made a lasting historical mark in our society.

    Although, she is a singer and somewhat of an actress, I would say that she has inspired some with her music. Heck, I like a lot of her music and think she is gifted to say the least. However, her path was not hard and there were other that came before her that paved the way, that I would consider the face of contemporary feminism.

  • Lynaya

    Very well said Galetea. I completely agree and I’d like to add that the notion of looking to Beyonce (or any other current female entertainer) as the face of contemporary feminism is just incredulous. It’s a male-run industry and when a woman shows that she can be sexy WITHOUT being half naked, then I’ll be impressed. I don’t see why the garter belts, slits up to the waist, and leather bathing suits are necessary to be sexy. Can’t a feminist be powerful, sexy, AND clothed?

  • Lynaya

    Just wanted to add, her nose job is quite apparent in this video. How about an article on the whitening of Black music? I know I ain’t the only one.

  • Lynaya

    I agree that she’s just after a hit. And I’m trying to learn the dance moves. I don’t expect her (or any other singer) to represent US. I also don’t expect her to care about how she’s portraying (and over sexualizing) Black women. It’s a business and she’s about her paper, period.

  • Emelyne

    Her nose looks a bit different, but that could be makeup and lighting. the only one obvious to me is Kelly Rowland’s. Beyonce’s age is starting to catch up with her in that pic, though.

  • terra nadir

    I have always been a little uncomfortable with Beyonce’s brand of “empowement.” Shilling for Walmart during the height of its sex discrimination scandal, her odious lyrics reenforcing patriarchal power dynamics (Upgrade: “I’ll let you lead, it will be easy” “Men run the show but the women keep the tempo”, The entire Cater to You track); the slyly catty “Survivor (we get it, you don’t need Farah). Moreover, am I the only one who remembers Destiny’s Child at the 2000 Republican convention running across the stage shouting “Go Bush! Go Bush!” I know some would argue it was just a gig but I think we need to bear all of this in mind before we start attaching progressive or feminist attributes to this hard-core capitalist fem-bot. A talented fierce one, no doubt, but a hard core capitalist fem-bot all the same.

  • Maria

    Whitening of black music – also she wears blonde wigs/weaves almost exclusively now. What’s with that.

  • Pingback: New Model Minority

  • BeautyIAM

    Uh oh…another stan that thinks the sun shines out of Bey @ss……………

  • http://twitter.com/blackfeminism Sapphire Sister

    Amen, sistah. How can you run the world singing a song written by four men? Oh, right: your “co-writing” credit. Brilliant.

  • Bookmark

    After hearing the lyrics and viewing the video, I think Beyonce’s people and Beyonce were at a loss as to how to package it and decided to call it an anthem because of the aggressive lyrics. Or, maybe they thought of the packaging beforehand and the actual lyrics mattered not. Either way, this hot mess of a song was packaged incorrectly.

  • Pingback: BeyBey, What Are You Doing?! « Cease and DaSista

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/kiamuze Kia Muze

    I don’t know that I would go to Beyonce to lead any kind of political movement for women, but when I watch the video and try to do the steps (LOL) and listen to the song, does it make me feel good to be a woman? Hell yes. I find Beyonce incredibly inspiring. Her work ethic is crazy, she is amazingly talented and outside of her performances and videos, you never see her out in the streets doing or saying anything questionable. She makes me want to step my game up on all levels and be the best I can be. And yes, I am an admitted stan, but one with perspective. I really believe that she means good not harm and is trying to help women improve their self esteem.

  • dusttracks

    this article is stupid. the question is stale and has been answered. no.
    does this person even know what feminism is and that there’s been constant conflict for black women in the ‘movement’ because it addresses concerns that are largely those of affluent white women. what the hell is this? how did she get this gig?
    i’m finished. this blog is one of many reasons why we’re all so damned stupid…it’s official off of my bookmarks. good riddance.

  • dusttracks

    and stop that silly shit about how beyonce works so hard. we all work hard! good lord…

  • B

    Co-sign! We all f-ing work hard – black women are some of the hardest working folks period. Also, damn @ “this site is why were all so stupid.” This article is definitely silly, or plain stupid (so I feel you on that), but the site does have a few good articles now and again. It’s why I keep the site bookmarked. Commenters like you are needed on this site – somebody who’ll keep it 100%. Just saying.

  • http://sartorialme.blogspot.com serenissima

    agreed. this entire week has been nothing but nonsense. articles like this one and MANY OTHERS on Clutch are why people think Black girls are all stupid, ignorant, and just plain ratchet

  • SisterAyiti

    Problem is, as black women we are looking to a celebrity to represent us when we should be looking to our teachers, mothers, and sisters. I have plenty of people to look up to as role models that I don’t need to see Beyonce as nothing more than a good singer/entertainer and someone who makes me want to get up, smile and dance.

  • http://www.ohsopithy.blogspot.com I FEEL PITHY

    I have to agree with you, Kia.
    Beyonce can be such a motivational singer for me.
    When I have this song playing in my earbuds as I walk to the train station, you can’t
    tell me that I won’t rule the world (or at least my own little world) one of these days!

    Why shouldn’t we, women, walk around like we own this muthah?!
    Fake it until you make it!
    Say we rule it until we actually do!

  • EDC

    Wow oh wow…no wonder women (especially black women) don’t get along. Instead of uplifting and applauding each other we look for the quickest way to tear each other down! How is this song or artist named Beyonce hurting YOU personally? Why such hostility and anger when all she is attempting to do is make a LITTLE bit of light in the anti-black woman media we have to be inundated with in this country?

    I mean, I can google at least 20,000 articles degrading black women. But as soon as one woman makes a song empowering us she’s public enemy number one? Oy, your thinking is twisted.

    But good thing I already know the answers. It’s because only an INSECURE, SELF LOATHING “woman” finds ways to talk bad about another woman. And nothing hurts them more than seeing a REAL woman with self confidence.

    And these are the same trolls who wonder why men think they can treat us like doormats…

  • http://ednaworld.tumblr.com Edna

    The discussion of Black women looking at people for role models as if we all look at the same person(s) for inspiration like a homogenous blob is ludicrous. But, the women who look at women like Beyonce for inspiration and support are probably inspired by this song.

    I’m not really into the song, and I think there was too much inspiration from MIA in the production. The dancing is cool though.

    Women definitely don’t run the world, but this song is about girls. Who before they turn 25 run the world in a sort of the sort of manipulative self objectifying and classed way that is presented in this song. The themes around capitalism (getting paid) and objectification for the sake of power (my persuasion can run a nation) and also a what to me seems like a celebration of the lack of support for women (giving birth and going back to work the next day) are no steps forward in my book. In fact it sounds like B is happy just where the women in the US are today. in contrast I am not, I would like to see more sex education and less sexualization, I would like to see more partnership in heterosexual child rearing habits and less conflict and possession, I would like to see maternity leave (because that doesn’t make women soft, it just gives us a chance to recover) and I would like to see a mainstream representation of Feminism that reflects it as a political movement that ultimately benefits everyone. I would also like to be referred to as a woman in public discussion, because hearing songs about how great girls are at giving birth and seducing people is just gross.

    There is a 4th Wave building, but I doubt this song will be it’s anthem.

  • Pingback: Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It) | StandingStill

  • Pingback: 4×4 Responses to Beyonce’s “Run the World (Girls)” « S. L. Writes

  • Pingback: One song, big debate | HerLinked

  • Paints

    In my view, this song refers to ALL women, not just black women. What, because Beyoncé is black, she can only speak for black women? In the details you’ll notice there are many women from all over the world in this video. This post and these comments are discriminating and degrading in themselves. Yes, this video and song may be inspiring but is it really helping us to move forward? No! The way in which we discuss these matters is so important. Or else, we’re just going in circles. Beyoncé is no exception. She’s reinforcing gender roles and discrimination. Aren’t any of the feminine qualities women AND MEN offer to the world valuable? Why not embrace those? The wardrobe and the gestures are enticing, but they allude back to the Roman Empire and Imperialism. Really? Women want to embrace that? I thought the idea was to move forward, not backward, not to stand still. And the only traces of femininity I see are those which objectify women as sexual and primitive beings (animals only put on the planet to reproduce).

    Feminism is criticized because it places blame on men and on the system in which men are seen as in control. It also sees women as a victim, implying that women lack control and are helpless. In actuality, and we all know this, women are incredibly capable of living life to the fullest, creating, inspiring, changing and supporting peoples, places, ideas, and things. Feminism was born out of a necessary revolution which created a dignifying space for women in society. We can build upon the hard work of the women before us.

    Edna makes good points….”girls”!

    Maybe it’s not about being black or white, a woman, a man, but more so about being yourself, making your own decisions and always considering the consequences, about how the smaller and larger picture are related. Beyoncé’s song and video are powerful, but how? Why? Asking questions is important. I’m glad she and her producers made this video because hopefully it will get us talking about these issues (because we’re all smart and capable of NOT taking things for their face-value). I also hope that in the near future, videos like this one will not be made. But that is high order for pop culture and the media.

  • cherie

    85% are not.. ok some of us are still just getting by. We are still thinking with other pussy. in hope of a man willing to enter it. half of us will not and do not clean, or cook if there’s no man around. Ms. B is a hard working person, now adding mother to on her plate. she showing millions of young and older women we do run this world, because some of us have for get. Pussy is very powerful!!. But we the women have for gotten how to use this gift. And when men say It’s not very thing, you remind him. They have kill their brother’s for it, buy cars to get it, diver to the poor hoods from their nice homes for it, cheat on their wife and women for it. She is just reminding us stop for getting whom we are and stop hating one another, because we are all women pretty or not a 10 in the face, We all have one thing that’s “P”so yes my sister she is doing her thing more than many of us are. Shes not saying she is the queen Of women she is just saying remember who you are and what we have done and what we must still do. You have the power it’s your “P” not just your education. they don’t see that intel much later on. If you are willing to let them get to know you better before they get the “P”

    P.S. not hating on what you said. just given you something to think about.

  • Pingback: The More Successful I Become, The More I Need A Man | Hermetica Health

  • Pingback: Beynoce Knowles | Patrycjaa

Latest Stories

Teen Launches Hijab Project to Bridge the Gap Between Muslim and Non-Muslim Women

by

Future & Kanye’s ‘I Won’ Could Have Been a Great Love Song, But They Messed It Up

by

Study: Referring to Obesity as a Disease Encourages Unhealthy Eating Habits

by

5 Ways to Style an Awkward Length Afro

by
Read previous post:
Dating While Rare
Tyra Banks Attends the CW Network’s 2011 Upfront – Fab or Drab?
Close