Is Beyoncé Helping or Hurting the Girl Power Movement?

by Danielle Pointdujour

BeyonceBeyoncé.  Love her or hate her she is an undeniable force in the entertainment world.  I’m no Bey Stan (though I love her work), but anyone that knocks this woman’s hustle and work ethic is just a smidge on the bitter and jealous side.  The woman works…and hard.  Some would go as far to say that Beyoncé is a role model.  A positive image for little girls everywhere with dreams bigger than their neighborhood, an example of what determination, hardwork and a little divine intervention will get you.  She usually stays out of the foolywang scandals that come across blogs each day, her image is mostly squeaky clean, she runs her own business, is apparently happily married and now has the kid to boot.  Who wouldn’t see her as an example of all things Girl Power?

Hadley Freeman from The Guardian, that’s who.

Recently Freeman penned an article titled “Beyoncé: being photographed in your underwear doesn’t help feminism,” in response to King Bey’s highly gawked cover story with GQ magazine that was released recently.  In it Beyoncé talks about being powerful and how she thinks it is ridiculous that women are still earning less than their male counterparts.  She encourages women to run their own show and strive for financial independence from men.  Sounds good, and Freeman even agrees…to a point.  Freeman says:

“Knowles is right: it is ridiculous that American women earn 77 cents to every dollar earned by men. This is almost as ridiculous as, say, a self-professedly powerful female celebrity (“I’m more powerful than my mind can even digest,” announces Knowles) complaining about men defining sexiness in a men’s magazine in which she poses nearly naked in seven photos, including one on the cover in which she is wearing a pair of tiny knickers and a man’s shirt so cropped that her breasts are visible.”

Hmmm, never thought about it like that as I was screaming “YESSSSSS BEY….WORK!!!” at the top of my lungs when the cover was revealed.  I mean, Oprah is one of the most powerful women in the world and even during one of her many slim periods, she never took to a magazine cover in nothing but Steadman’s boxers and a smile.  So why do the Beyoncé of the world feel the need to prove their “power” in this way? Shouldn’t their work, clothes on, be enough of a showcase?  Freeman agrees saying:

“It’s one thing to submit to this attention-seeking nonsense if you’re a C-list reality TV desperado trying to get on the cover of Nuts; it’s another if you are professedly one of the most powerful women in the entertainment business who has no need of such tactics. Knowles rightly hates the fact that women are humiliated by being paid less than their male counterparts. But they are similarly humiliated by being fed the message that it doesn’t matter how successful, powerful or smart you are – all that matters is how sexually available you are willing to make yourself look.”

Though I’m all for owning your sexuality and don’t think a magazine cover negates all that Beyoncé has done, the author does have a point.  If we’re going to scream “Equal rights,” “I’m more than a sex object,” and other pro women sentiments at the top of our lungs, shouldn’t we also make it a point to let our work do the talking and not our boob shots?  If Beyoncé is correct in saying men shouldn’t define sexy, then wouldn’t it have been just as sexy for her to pose for GQ fully clothed in some waist snatching outfit instead of panties to prove that she’s the baddest?  There are plenty of other powerful women who appear in magazines and never once have to take their clothes off for their presence to be recognized and respected, so why does she?

Then it hit me…because she’s Beyoncé.

While Freeman’s points are most certainly valid, I think where she goes wrong is that she used Beyoncé as an example, as a role model.  Of all the powerful women, Beyoncé is who she chose.  A woman whose job it is to be sexy, to be available, to be the fantasy of every bee in her hive.  Beyoncé shouldn’t be the Girl Power role model, she shouldn’t be an example of the feminist movement and how far it has come and still has to go.  She should be Beyonce.  A sequins wearing, lace front flinging, p-popping all across your stage and music charts superstar, not your or your daughter’s idol.  If you want an example of how far the feminist movement has come, there are countless other women, fully clothed women, that Freeman and the rest of us could point to.

As usual we expect a bit too much from normal humans who are simply here to entertain us.  Is King Bey the perfect example of feminism gone right?  Maybe not.  But what she is, is a glimmer of hope for some little girl out there dreaming big.  And while we shouldn’t encourage that little girl to pin all her hopes and dreams on Beyonce’s image, it’s definitely not a bad place to start.

What do you think about Freeman’s comments?  Is Beyoncé hurting or helping the movement?

  • jamesfrmphilly

    girl power or sex power?

  • AM

    “hurting” what movement? FEMINISM.

    Please. Let Beyonce do what she does best, and that’s entertain. She is there to feed the male gaze. She has never aligned herself with the movement, so why is she being taken to task?

  • Nila

    I find it interesting that Beyonce posing in her underway is seen as a step backwards when TONS of other celebs have been photographed in way more provocative ways. Please lets stop giving attention to writers who have run out of valid things to write about.

  • B

    Neither help or hurt.. Beyonce is inconsequential. She doesn’t have the power to do anything besides line her own pockets.

  • myblackfriendsays

    I don’t think it is a good idea to look to any human as a role model. Unless you realize that all humans have flaws, and are eventually going to disappoint you in some way.

  • Cocochanel31

    I too am a bit sick of Bey’s nude body being so heavily on display now, especially since she is now a wife and mother..her success is huge and she doesn’t need to appear naked for fame or fortune anymore. She’s the baddest – we get it. I’m still not sure what power she yields – maybe she owns her production company- I’m not sure because imo she never talkes about the “business” side of things, nor is she a champion for a huge cause like A Keys is for AIDS Awareness – so an average person would not know about her so called “power”.

    I thinks she was the puppet of MAtthew Knowles for many many years, and I guess she is now coming out from under his yoke and into her own as a woman, which I am happy for. It would be nice to know more about how she is a BOSS- or what her motivation is etc.

    I look to women like MAry J Blige, and A Keys more as role models, simply because they have been through something in this life and somehow , despite the odds, still managed to succeed AND keep their clothes on.

  • Kanyade

    I think she helps more than hurts…and the only reason I’d say there is a “hurt” there is because of conflicting statements made in the article versus the images used for the article: “[Men] define what’s sexy. And men define what’s feminine. It’s ridiculous.” So…who defined the photoshoot? I think at this point it should have been said that the photoshoot was “her” idea, otherwise it looks like she’s playing into the role of adhering to the definition of sexy and feminine as ‘defined’ the male audience…at least GQ’s male audience.

    On another note, I think “King” (<—really?) Bey wanted to show everyone her body after working hard ("harder at least than anyone [she] knows in the biz") to re-define her six-pack abs after giving birth LOL :) *shrugs*

  • Chillyroad

    No, but I do suspect she is the cause of world hunger and the depletion of the ozone layer.

  • Naps!

    Though I do understand The Guardian author’s argument, I also see no problem in embracing your own sexuality.

  • D

    This is getting so stupid. It’s almost like feminism means doing the opposite of what any man anywhere might want you to do, regardless of whether you actually want to do it yourself.

    Men, including Howard Stern, recently criticized the chubby chick on the HBO show Girls for always taking her clothes off for nude sex scenes. People, especially feminists, leapt to defend her right to disrobe on every episode. People were like “Yeah, girl, keep stripping! Ignore the patriarchal standards of beauty. Don’t let society control your sexuality.Do what you want.”

    Beyonce takes off her clothes. “Girl, put your clothes on. Don’t play into the patriarchal sex-obsessed culture. You shouldn’t have to take your clothes off.”

    LOL…so f’ing silly.

  • GTFO

    Making sure you meet that 100 Beyonce articles in a month quota huh? RMFE

  • AM

    -girl,she did not give birth. her belly was inflating and deflating at sky high rates unknown and never seen by man. Let the Bey stans come after me! boomshakalaka.

  • binks

    Neither, I see the whole feminism movement as stagnant at this point. There are too many problems women face, particularly women of color, as a whole and too many opinions/talks regarding said problems and NOT enough solutions and action.

  • Andrea Holyfield

    Thank you for the article. I am a Beyonce fan and I am a womanist/feminist. I believe that Beyonce’s strength and work ethic speak volumes and that she should be respected for what she does in her lane as an entertainer, but why hold her up as a representation of the feminist movement and critique her for doing her job as an entertainer? I’m sick of people thinking feminist means asexual. She rocked the cover!

  • Stacy

    and rich people do not workout to get their pre baby body back. they get tummy tucks right in the same hospital they birthed in…
    but we know she didnt carry that baby unless she has one of those special stomachs that flatten on command…

  • Relle

    I don’t see what the big deal is! It’s not like she is doing nearly naked magazine spreads every month like Rihanna does. One thing that I do admire about Beyonce is that though she has Jay-Z by her side, she still handles her business on her own. That is the point she is trying to get across. The photos don’t bother me. It just shows that she has confidence in herself and her body and how she got back in shape after having a baby (just like how every celebrity graces the cover of People magazine 7 months after giving birth).

  • Fem

    The high praise over Beyonce’s success is BS. Yes, said it. And it’s not because I think she lacks work ethic, it’s because from a very young age she was motivated (pushed?) to become a star over prioritizing things like her education. This is where my issue lies – yes, Beyonce has her own company, which she would not have had the opportunity to have if she had not already been famous for singing/dancing. When you have already reached a certain level of fame, opportunities are literally handed to you – people want to work with you because they want your name.

    Now, on the other hand, it would be silly to say that one should turn down these opportunities because they’ve received them “easier” than most (easier in quotes b/c she has obviously worked hard, the music industry is not easy), but would I call her a feminist or role model? Not at all. And she never called herself one either – Beyonce is simply Beyonce. It’s the people who idolize her who provoke the opposing side. Each day, I am baffled at the dedication people have to this woman, I truly am. They will stan for Beyonce over the first female Supreme Court Justice or top black female CEOs because those aren’t “sexy” jobs. And that’s sad. But…that’s society. Carry on.

  • Renee

    feminism is the choice to be whatever woman you wanna be. so she is helping the movement, the end.

  • Treece

    Okay, so first of all….Beyonce has a beautiful voice. Hands down one of the best singers of our time and will not throw any shade at that fact. However, she is not the great hustler and woman with a stellar work ethic that the author paints her to be. Sorry, but the real hustlers and people working hard a mo-fo are Beyonce’s many handlers. The record company, the publicist, the image consultants, the song writers (other than her), the people who do the wheeling and dealing behind the scenes, etc, etc. Those are the real hustlers and part of the reason why she is so “powerful”. her physical attractiveness is what helps the process along. Need I say that there are other singers and songwriters just as good if not, better than her that are not as attractive and get no attention? Don’t need to point that out? Great. Her physical attractiveness is what keeps her producers and the record company execs pushing her out there and it’s what keeps the public’s interest. The great majority of the time Beyonce is sittin back chillin, resting her voice, learning new dance steps, and making sure she keeps up her appearance (which is much easier to do when you making millions upon millions of dollars a year). It’s not like she got here by selling CDs out of her trunk and performing on street corners…..hustle? I think not.

    This brings me to the point or question in the article. Seeing how I don’t believe that Beyonce is as much a work horse as people make her out to be, I don’t think she adds much to the feminist cause other than a few lil diddies about girls being independent and running the world. I don’t think we need to even place her on that pedestal. So I frankly don’t care it she went all out and bared full titty for GQ or some other magazine because to me, she is not “above” that. She struts around half naked on stage anyway. So what’s the difference?

    I don’t have any children, but I don’t think I would sit back and blindly let my daughter idealize a figure like Beyonce as one she should look up to as a symbol of women’s empowerment. That’s not it. I would be honest and frank with her and explain that while we may enjoy her music, there are things that she does (wears, ways she dances) that are not appropriate for children and don’t help women progress past certain stereotypes. Feminism may be “dead” to a certain degree, but you can still encourage young women to hold their value in something else other than thier bodies. If you have talent, let THAT speak for itself. You don’t have to take your clothes off to showcase your gift. But like I said… for Beyonce, I don’t place her above doing a spread in GQ like this. Just further proves my point.

  • EST. 1986


  • Chillyroad

    Beyounce has been exposed to a real world education. She has an education outside the classroom and that is even more valuable. Please don’t down play Beyounce’s education, intelligence or experience because it wasn’t dictated to her via a syllabus and she hasn’t received a diploma as some proof of what she has mastered.

    She probably knows more about contract law than any law student because of her profession. She has more business savvy than any MBA who can only dream of being in her position to see the practical sides of things. No, she hasnt been sitting in a classroom for a few hours a day studying theory. She is just as cable of picking up a book and reading about any subject and writing about it or mentoring the people in her immediate circle about the real world application of book learning.

  • EST. 1986

    Now, she’s releasing someone else’s sonogram pictures to prove she was pregnant.

  • Tonton Michel

    “The high praise over Beyonce’s success is BS. Yes, said it. And it’s not because I think she lacks work ethic, it’s because from a very young age she was motivated (pushed?) to become a star over prioritizing things like her education.”

    Lets see, singer, actress, multi-millionaire, famous, world traveler, married, married a successful man, has a child, met the president and first lady.

    Yeah………she should made education her priority …yup what was she thinking?

  • Do better

    Well said.

  • Chillyroad


    Thanks for hitting the nail on the head. Feminists today are more reactionary than empowering. It is more anti male than it is pro women.

  • Child, Please

    I’m glad you put a nail in the coffin labeled “Beyonce works hard.” She’s not the only one and it’s a damn shame those women (who arguably have to work harder) are not acknowledged more.

  • Alison Caddell

    This article was BS. The writer, out of her love for/fascination with, just didn’t want to admit that Beyonce’s words and actions contradict themselves. The writer needs to admit that she is in fact a Beyonce stan, because the whole “Beyonce can do this because she is Beyonce” is bordering on idolization. This woman is hardworking and successful, but she isn’t God, so she’s not above criticism. And another thing…if Beyonce is all for female power, why does she insist on being called “King B” instead of “Queen B”…perhaps because she feels that female royalty is still not as powerful as male royalty.

  • Chillyroad

    I am not a male but I enjoy gazing at Beyounce. Her fans are young women not young men.

  • Kat

    How can you say that she’s worked since she was a child and that’s why she has these things only to turn around and say that she received them “easier” in the same breath? She didn’t just wake up one day a superstar.

    Let’s keep it real the most people prioritize their education in hopes of having a successful career that will allow them to live well or at least take care of their family. I’m not saying that education is overrated at all because i don’t believe that, but a lot of the people who take shots at her education or lack thereof more than likely would’ve opted to work hard in a different area of life that they were passionate about if they could guarantee success and the means to survive off of it.

    and i’m not even a stan for the girl..i just never get why people feel the need to bring up her education. When’s the last time you heard somebody mention Michael Jackson’s lack of education?

    People love entertainers. Why is this such a foreign concept to people all of a sudden?

  • Chillyroad

    She wasn’t the puppet of Matthew Knowles. She is the daughter of Matthew Knowles. He did what fathers are supposed to do. I don’t know if you have a father but his stewardship is to be commended. But no… We must align ourselves with Gabby Douglas and her dysfunctional relationship with her father and promote that madness.

  • Bria

    Let the next article be about how she gave back to the community. Thanks Clutch!

    Not to discredit her past…I know about the cosmetology school in 2010, and the move your body campaign in 2011, but I’m talking about some serious giving back in the near future.

  • Fem

    This isn’t true – that’s the feminism that we see out in the open, in MSM or pop culture (which is total crap and attention whoring). There’s a lot more going on that unfortunately doesn’t get a lot of exposure. I have been trying to get more involved in proactive feminism and I’ve had to research organizations and initiatives. I’m also not sure what you mean by anti-male – just as a personal example, I am not anti-male at all but have been accused of being that way several times b/c I won’t let men treat me a certain way. It’s like that’s the automatic label, which is also unfortunate. I think that feminism is important but admit it’s frustrating.

  • nattynay

    Beyonce (though considered one of the greatest entertainers of this generation), is not the and-all-or-be-all of feminimity(especially black feminimity).

    If you want to teach young girls about stregth, professionalism, poise, and intelligence, then just do that.And if you must use another woman/girl as an example start with family first, or yourself, or people in your community(there’s bound to be a strong woman somewhere other than the t.v. screen).

    Bottom Line:
    Though always in the forefront(next to that Minaj person), Beyonce is not the only famous woman making strides.

  • Fem

    I did put “easier” in quotes, and was referring to the more advanced opportunities she has been given (clothing line, company, etc) because of her initial fame. That’s all I was noting. Any reference I noted regarding her education is a direct reflection of her being a role model to young girls. Beyonce does not have a typical child upbringing and IMO there are other women that we could use as positive examples. I have no issue with people loving her as an entertainer – nothing more.

  • come one people

    A degree is not the only way to achieve success. Ask Bill Gates or many other innovators of the world that have achieved many things without a degree. It is sad when secularly educated people try to look down on the success of those that did not chose the same route as they did but was able to achieve success without the debt.

  • come on people

    I am from Houston, i do see some of the things that her and her family have contributed to the community. I know that I pass by a shelter everyday that they financially funded. I attended a community outreach program that was done at the House of Derion. Why does what people do for the community have to be publicized for people to believe that many celebrities give back. I am not a Bey Stans, but really?!?! Why is this a relevate question?

  • gmarie

    It is completely possible (and okay) for women to be smart, earnest, hard working, powerful AND sexual. We are human afterall. The problem comes when people try to define femenism for the masses instead of defining it on their own terms in the way Beyonce has. She has made her contribution, what have her critics done?

  • Child, Please

    I think you read a little, too, into what Fem wrote. She said since she was a child she was motivated/pushed to be an entertainer. Who grooms their kid to be a superstar at, what, four? Her family clearly didn’t have education in her plans. Fem also mentions that her name (like other entertainers) has allowed her the opportunities she’s had. If it wasn’t for the formulaic strategy of making a pop star, Beyonce may not have even been put in a position to get said opportunities. Also, it must be said, while we’re not making light of education, her father – a college graduate – was the guiding hand for her career. She had a strong arm in the industry, so her hard work (which could equally be said of Kelly and Michelle and even LeToya, right?) was the result of having someone business minded in her corner.

    I don’t think people would bring up her education if her parents had ensured she had something to fall back on (because where is Destiny’s Child today save the re-release of songs) had she not been successful and as I stated the odd circumstance of them grooming her to be a star (again what family does that other than Joe Jackson and with such ferocity?). if anything it makes you curious what values they instilled in her aside from the assumed hardwork (which could be better attricbuted to a well oiled PR machine; look at Kim Kardashian, Diddy even, if you think talent is what it takes to make in Hollywood/entertainment). I also think people wouldn’t make a point of it if the Beyonce machine would stop making it seem like she’s a one-woman-show and “perfect.” This is the same woman who wants to hob knob it up in D.C. with the president and his staff, but lacks basic sentence structure. Let’s use Alicia Keys for example; homewerecking aside, you don’t get the idea based on her lyricism that she’s a vapid air-head. With Beyonce’s dance anthems/samey songs that she “writes” you know it’s going to be about men or “girl power” (the same theme the Spice Girls were criticized for, but will defend Beyonce for, which is strange). Apart of being perfect is the idea that she does it all. Can you really do or have it all if people cringe at your diction and grammar skills?

    I don’t expect Beyonce to be this intellectual being, but it seems based on her minidocs that she wants us to think that. However, what she’s missing is in the age of reality she just needs to be herself and if she’s ashamed of her lack of education then all she has to do is go to school. It’s just that simple.

  • EST. 1986

    Too bad Beyonce doesn’t care as much about you as you do her.

  • Kacey

    How sad your statement is! Education used to be a status symbol, since throughout much of human history only the upper classes could afford to educate their children. Learning to read and write, not to mention graduating from a school and earning a degree, were proud achievements and something people sacrificed, fought and died for. Now some amongst us are holding people like Beyonce as a prime example of why an education doesn’t matter. The problem is she is an extreme rarity, but unfortunately the message has already reached those who can least afford to abandon education. smh

  • Cocochanel31

    Yes she was his daughter, and yes I was raised by my dad, but it is no seceret Matthew worked those girls to the bone and profited very handsomely from it, started his own record company because of it. I’m not mad at it, but I guess Beyonce got tired of Daddy running the show because she eventually fired him. Again, this is not taking away from what he did for them, but we all know Matthew’s reputation with DC.

    Again, we still do not KNOW who Beyonce really is or what she stands for..we don’t know her personality. Why – bc for most of her life she was manufactured. I think she is just now letting her true “Self” show if that makes sense.

  • gryph

    too many ‘black feminists’ are raging narcissists like beyonce using ‘social justice’ as a self-advancement platform. it is really sad because black women are having their options limited by a dumbed down discourse meant to keep them beholden to interests that exploit them. if beyonce was married to a white guy she’d never be in that situation.

  • Ooh La La

    Seriously? I actually like Beyoncé, but knowing about law, business savvy… Are we confusing Beyoncé, an the accomplished individual, with Beyoncé the Machine? She has people. The very best people dictating her moves. Trust everything this woman does down to her outfit that day is practically a board decision.

  • UrbanRomanceEIC


    I think the frustration comes from trying to fit into someone else’s idea of feminism. MY feminism means women have the freedom to live their lives as they choose. Whether a woman chooses to be a housewife or whore, it is HER life and HER choice. For me, it’s that simple. Don’t over-complicate things trying to fit into other folks’ definitions and expectations. It’s your life. And as a woman YOU should be the one deciding what feminism means to you.

  • Tonton Michel

    Run tell that to those educated ones on the unemployment line, when your done make sure to tell the other educated ones who are working in a field that has nothing to do with their major the same thing . Make sure that bunch tells the ones who are working for Bey and tell them all to payback their student loans in full. The government will not be letting them off the hook with Bey’s tax dollars.

  • Kacey

    “Let the next article be about how she gave back to the community. Thanks Clutch”

    You mean an article like how Jay-Z, for example, gave .000001% of his income to charity and then used that contribution to net an even bigger tax benefit for himself in 2012?

    Naw, you’ll never see anything like that on here about her!

  • Kacey

    Ooooooooooooo. Girl! You done did it now! Run fo’ yo’ life!

  • Chillyroad


    Calm down. No one said education doesn’t matter. However you’re making it matter more than anything else. You’re making it out to be the sum of all parts. People or rather women sacrificed and still sacrifice today to do the things Beyounce is doing. Her accomplishments are just as valuable as anyone else’s.

    Sometimes I think many women here at Clutch are limited to only getting degrees. It’s about the only things y’all talk about. I’m bored.

  • Chillyroad


    Sorry. I forgot I’m supposed to be stanning for Kerry Wahington. Now let me go memorise some lines from Scandal.

  • Kacey

    I love when people bring up individuals like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg as examples of achievement without education! Conveniently forgetting that these people are extreme outliers in our society, AND also forgetting that these individuals ONLY hire college grads to fill positions in their companies (unless, of course, you want to be a janitor there). LOL

  • Chillyroad


    Correction. It’s not that we dont know enough about Beyounce we just don’t have enough to tear her down with. How much did we know about Gabby Douglas before we were ready to string her father to a tree?

    Just admit that Beyounces lack of dysfunction and beauty scares us. We rather rally around weirdos and hood boogers but complain about how we are viewed in the media.

  • Kat

    what i’m saying is that she EARNED that name…a formulaic strategy is nothing without a person there to actually execute it. I don’t care that there was a person behind her with a degree that got her to where she is…there are plenty of other huge stars/successful people that were guided just as far by people who have no degree at all. Lets not sit here and act like that makes you any less of a person. Hard work is hard work. There are plenty of people who have a degree and know nothing at all and vice versa…as there are people with degrees that have accomplished a lot and people with no education who are bums.

    The wonderful thing about life is that there is more than one path to take when trying to make something of yourself and that’s ok…if anything it’s a privilege that a lot of people don’t have and it should be celebrated. That’s my point. There’s no good that can come from looking down on a person just because they chose to take a different path. At the end of the day it’s all about the will of the individual and their drive to succeed that goes for a singer, a judge, a doctor, a tap dancer whatever.

    People don’t celebrate your degrees when you leave this earth…they celebrate what you’ve contributed to the world. In the big scheme of things that’s just a minor step in you becoming what you’re supposed/want to be.

    i’m not reading too much into what she’s saying i think you just may be missing my point. There’s more than one way to live and just because she chose to do it differently than most doesn’t make her any less of a person or her accomplishments any less worthy than somebody who’s accomplished a lot with the assistance of a good education. That’s all Im saying

  • AM

    you are NOT her intended market as far as her sexiness/underclothed image goes.

  • AM

    @ Kacey,

    LOL! Folks are out here writing novels about Miss thang. She MUST be doing something right!

  • EST. 1986

    Hmph. You seem to be carrying over some residual anger from your conversations with others from the Scandal article. I say this because I do not watch Scandal and made no meaningful comments on that article.

  • Child, Please

    @Kat, you asked why people bring up her education, I answered. Her “hard work,” which whether or not you’d like to agree, is largely tied to the people working for her (save family and close industry friends) ARE EDUCATED! There may be more than one way to achieve success and hard work is one, but you’re completely ignoring the fact she is a well oiled PR machine with a strong arm in the industry. If she was any ounce of ugly or didn’t live up to society’s standard of beauty, she’d be regular ole Bey from H-town.

    You’re solely basing her success off of her accomplishments (you know the things that will be celebrated once she leaves this earth? SMMFH!) when there are other factors at play. if one of those things had been off then where would she be? Singing in her mom’s hair salon? Working with her dad?

    Funny thing is you said you didn’t want to belittle education/getting a degree but you did. Oh, and just so you know, you can’t take money with you either to the grave or does that not matter when we’re discussing the “hard work” and “accomplishments” of a pop star you just so happen to like? Just food for thought.

  • Kacey

    @ Chilly

    I grew up in a community where I saw first-hand what the lack of education does to people. I saw young people who dropped out of school and end-up in jail, on public assistance (with several illegitimate kids), working low-level, go-nowhere jobs…bums! If it weren’t for my education, I would still be there and be just like them. Education not only fed my need for achievement, gave me an outlet for my ideas, but also gave me options and opportunities.

    I’m not saying that people with college degrees don’t also struggle and end-up in less than ideal situations, but those without them are statistically much worse off.

    I thank God for my education, but you’re right – it’s not just about a degree – I also had good sense to know fantasy from reality, thus recognizing that celebrities like Beyonce live a fantasy life. It will never be the reality for most of us. I also had the direction of my parents, who steered me away from foolishness and kept me on the straight and narrow. I wish more people had what I did.

  • Dane

    It’s funny how the people who are preaching about BEYONCE and her cover, don’t realize men are doing the same thing on magazine cover’s but no one is telling the men to put clothes on. So it’s an oxymoron because they’re stripping the equal rights away from women. Men can do it but women have to be lady like. In other countries and religion some women can’t even show their eyes, face, hands or feet. Their body is covered from head to toe. Yet, we bash women who are FREE to pose and express themselves in the manner they choose fit. Instead of embracing people like Beyonce, we tend to want to put her back in the box. Women can be sexy, mother’s can be sexy, women can be business oriented, women can be intellectuals. Beyonce image not the clothes she wear should be what people talk about. This woman have dated for 7 years, married her long time boyfriened and gave birth to their first child three years after MARRIAGE. I thought this is the route we tell our children to follow, especially our daughters. Why can’t we have women like Michelle Obama and Beyonce or Oprah and Tyra Banks. We don’t congratulate these women for their LARGE and LONG resume of community service. We ignore all of these things only to knock them down for posing for a magazine cover. Give me a break.

  • Rue

    I sooooooo don’t give a $h!t: When i am thinking about genital mutilation, or rape Beyonce does not come to mind …Also, where do people get the time and patience to write 5 para essays about how awesome Beyonce is? And can we stop calling her “King Bey”, and “Bey”- corny and thirsty…

  • Sam

    They’re also forgetting the schools these people left from in the first place. Gates and Zuckerberg went to Harvard, Jobs to Reed (a top liberal arts college). They dropped out when they had taken the classes they needed. They started their companies with friends from these colleges, and return to these colleges to recruit. If you hear them speak or read their works, you’ll find that they believe in the college educational process, though they may have some problems with it. My goodness, why else do you think Bill Gates regularly donates to universities, builds schools, and runs a scholarship fund?!

    Sure, if they find a particularly impressive talent who will intern for them while in school, they might pull the student away and get him or her to drop out, but that is a rarity among rarities. This is still the case with newer tech companies like Google, Dropbox (started at my school, MIT), and whatever else Y Combinator is funding these days.

  • mary mary

    I think the issue people have with Beyonce is that she has stated that she is a feminist, and is all about girl power and makes statements about how society is unfair to women…and then plays into men’s wants and desires. It’s hypocritical. You can’t be all things at once. You don’t hear Rihanna or Katy Perry saying it’s unfair for men to decide what is sexy, cause they know darn well they make their living playing into those fantasies. From her statements, it seems Beyonce lacks insight.

  • bk chick

    I just have to say I think it’s funny and soo incongruous that when people praise Beyonce. The number one thing you hear is WORK ETHIC. As someone who loves the arts, I never admired any great artist for his or her “work ethic” first and foremost. The term is too…rational… for me and art is supposed to be emotional. When I think Michael Jackson or Lauryn Hill, etc. I don’t think hard work, I get a feeling…that’s how much they inspire me ..on a visceral and emotional level. Beyonce has a decent singing voice, knows how to mimic a real dancer VERY well, and has the “look” so to speak ( a play on the classic blond bombshell) but her music is completely devoid of EMOTION and that’s why when I think of her I feel like…-__-… and that’s why I think her “stans” understand this on a subconscious level because there is too much emphasis on “work ethic” (although the woman is one of the greatest performers, I will give her that).

    That being said, as someone else noted, Beyonce has the power to line her own pockets…and that’s pretty much it. If she were able to convey emotion through her music I thinks he’d be WAY more powerful.

  • Catpopstar

    It would be one thing if women were granted actual individuality, but this whole situation seems to contribute to the whole “woman=sex” vibe our culture has.

  • Rue

    “I never admired any great artist for his or her “work ethic” first and foremost.”
    Great point now that I think about it. After all, da Vinci was known for procrastination and a wandering eye,van Gogh for being a nut-job most of the times, Hill quit the industry, etc.
    *Hope you don’t mind me stealing this line!*

  • bk chick

    Not at all girl :) like, when I think of any dancers, painters, singers, etc. that I think are great or legendary, most salient is their actual art lol…def can’t say the same for beyonce

  • wfm


  • The Artist

    She’s only human…we put too much of our faith into celebrities.

  • chinaza

    Amen. Beyonce is relevant in her own life. Nothing wrong with that. She is just a name and a sound to a fraction of people in the world.

  • mikey kun

    Love this comment

  • DanaT

    To my future unborn daughter(s):
    Please, let me support your decision to enforce a heteronormative environment by reinforcing hypocritical lip service. I do not want you to obtain an education. I want you to sell flesh. I want you to ignore the history of black women, body ownership and female agency. Instead, be nuanced and show off skin and even more skin.

    When people discount or critique your constant debasement, mention that it is empowering to sell sex and this is the way to be a role model. If these naysayers become especially taxing, tell them, “you’re just jealous.” Do NOT be humble.

    I do not want you to look at me like a role model. Parents are never role models. Please, look at other artists who sell sex.

    I do not want you to work hard in medicine, literature or mathematics. No, those fields do not empower women but sex does.

    Become like everyone else. Pave the way so that other artists will also have to sell sex.

    *Meanwhile the VAWA grant was recently let go…

  • Chillyroad

    “Men, including Howard Stern, recently criticized the chubby chick on the HBO show Girls for always taking her clothes off for nude sex scenes. People, especially feminists, leapt to defend her right to disrobe on every episode. People were like “Yeah, girl, keep stripping! Ignore the patriarchal standards of beauty. Don’t let society control your sexuality.Do what you want.”

    Which proves that feminism is politics for ugly women. This is where all the rage for Beyounce comes from.

  • Bria


    Let’s just leave her alone for a while! I love her, but when she comes around people treat her as if she is Jesus’ other half.

  • Kanyade

    @bk chick, you better preach my thoughts! What you said about the work ethic thing is SO ON POINT. Mercy. Great comment and I agree with you FULLY.

  • Live

    What does singing songs REALLY have to do with talking your clothes off? Do you sing better half naked? We have become a society that has been brain washed to believe somehow these things are codependent. Actually, keeping your clothes on is the “new thing”.

    Obama said: To J and B, thank you so much for your friendship. Beyoncé could not be a better role model for my girls,”

  • Hmmmm

    If half the stuff I have heard women say to me since college is true Hadley Freeman is right. You can justify it anyway you choose. But she is right. This was not a women’s mag she was covering. This was not an article for Clutch, which would have worked considering her message. It was GQ, and the men reading her message about “power” ain’t thinking twice about the words as they relate to her body in their faces. That “power” stuff is all posturing for the ladies as it relates to this pub move. And if the excuse is that she is an entertainer then she needs to just entertain and not even attempt the revolutionary statements.

  • Hmmmm

    how many of those men are trying to play like their posing is some revolutionary statement? they are candy, they know it, and they accept it….

  • Fem

    I absolutely agree with you! I actually had a discussion about this with another woman recently – she called herself anti-feminist because she said feminists try to tell women what to be. She thought that I would look down on a housewife or women who chose to have children and not work. I told her that wasn’t an actual feminist – or they have a skewed perception of what feminism should actually be. My frustration stems from the fact that it’s so difficult to try to get involved…I was doing hours of research to even find events in my area! I can totally see how some wouldn’t want to put in the legwork even though it’s important.

  • gryph

    yeah, but she uses ‘girl power’ and ‘feminism’ to advance herself, and then when it gets too hot or accountable stan’s are like ‘she’s just who she is? when will we stop artists from taking advantage of political movements

  • Penny

    Beyonce has the wiggle room to be a hypocrite because she’s an entertainer. Her music is great to listen to, she’s gorgeous and fun to watch and I really don’t take what she says all that seriously. Now, if Michelle Obama all of a sudden started posing in those types of pictures, then I’d have a problem. LOL. The author of the piece has a point, but really….why bother? It’s BEYONCE, not Angela Davis.

  • Shepherd

    Man this is frustrating. You have to give credit where it’s due, Beyonce is one of the biggest stars of our time HOWEVER; you can’t really reconcile her statement about men controlling what’s sexy and feminine for women with her racy pictures for a men’s magazine. Her statement is true but she has to acknowledge that her and her contemporaries rise to fame is due in part to the imbalance between women and men and playing up to certain roles. All the big songstresses of today are pretty much naked all of the time so much so that it is seen as necessary. Nothing is wrong with sexuality and sex but the way it’s being packaged and sold today just does not sit well with me. As for Feminism, it has become a dirty word associated with harpies, bitter ugly women and bra burning that people have forgotten its intention: equality between men and women. I look around me and the world looks pretty unequal from where I sit.

  • Chelley5483

    Yes! I agree Naps. Bey has already proven herself in her field. Anything she does at this point seems like she’s just trying to have fun and live her life according to HER standards, not the ogling masses. That includes her degrees of nakedness on a photoshoot. To me, it’s fun, it’s daring, it’s sexy. .I also will put a hurting on my 12 year old daughter if she tried to duplicate something like this any time soon. Just saying..

    But more importantly, I can’t hold Beyonce responsible for what images of her filter through to my daughter or the unfortunate chance that she would interpret the sexual images as the only thing a woman has to offer. That’s my job to help her see that that’s the lesser of things we offer in this world.

    Beyonce is definitely a facet of modern day feminism. Her appeal is that she exudes the best of everything: power, control of her earning potential, all while playing up her femininity and sexuality.

  • Worldly

    Please enough with the Beyonce articles. You’re doing a disservice to your readers.

  • i mean

    Said the white feminist…..

  • RV

    She’s an entertainer..NOT a role model — except to BlueIvy…There are a myriad of black women for our young sisters to pattern themselves [after]…i am a fan..but that’s all.

  • nancy

    I don’t thnk the battle lies with not being sexy. the truth is women like feeling sexy and use their bodies to win attention from men all the time! I like beyonce because she knows that everyday women like to feel sexy and desirable not always for men but for themselves. People need to stop acting like they don’t pose like. Beyonce in their UNDERWEAR in the bedroom mirror. It doesn’t have to be conservative and smart or stupid and sexy, it can be both. As for feminism, the battle is not keeping women from feeling and being sexy…it’s keeping the decision in the hands of women

  • EST. 1986

    Men are afforded that option.

  • Hay.

    Beyonce can’t read.

  • Choir


  • Elaine

    Hay! Be Nice! God hear your negative comments! Peace!

  • aboutourfood

    I dont understand why it is so difficult to critically think about Beyoncé and what she represents. I know that we lack positive Black female representation in the media, but dang, does this mean that we desperately and blindly have to protect Beyoncé in fear that we might be left with no prominent Black female representation at all? Is it really worth it? What are individuals like herself cost our community(ies)? It’s not realistic to say that she is only an entertainer and therefore, shouldn’t be bothered with the responsibilities that come with being a role model. She is. The problem is that too many of us prefer not to hold her accountable for that role, in fear of losing her, the most prominent Black female voice of our generation (all domains combined, and Oprah is old school, sorry to say). If we don’t hold her accountable, we have nothing to say when the youth that model her have a twisted understanding of what feminine power is all about. It is OUR responsibility as a community to keep such elements in check. We are in desperate need of standards and not being afraid of asserting them. It’s the fundamental building block of any respectable community.

  • Deidra

    Our fondness for certain celebrities naturally stunts our ability to view them with a critical eye. I usually steer clear of posts featuring Beyonce because even when the criticism is constructive, people are almost shushed if they don’t view her as ineffable. I get it though. In the mainstream media, black people (actually most minority groups) are allotted a certain amount of megastars in the different realms of pop culture. When we see one of our own rise through the ranks and achieve the pinnacle of success, there’s a feeling that we need to (understandably) support and protect them. In terms of music, it’s Beyonce. I just feel that being a fan or stan should encompass more than buying into the person’s image and their products; it should be more than endowing them with nicknames. I believe it should include viewing them through a critical lens and encouraging them to have greater insight into just how far their influence can reach.

    As a young feminist/womanist-in-training, I am on the fence about issues involving public displays of sexuality such as posing for Playboy and men’s magazines, exotic dancing, *legal* escort businesses, etc. I understand how a woman can feel empowered if she’s doing them on her own terms; however, if it still caters to the heterosexual male gaze then can it also be viewed as counterproductive? I have had a few older women tell me in so many words to “make patriarchy work for you.” I’m not sure how to do that without playing into how women are viewed by men at large.

  • sojourner4truth

    excellent point

  • isolde3

    And we have a winner. I especially got a kick out of the comment on the first page, comparing Lena Dunham being nude on her tv show that she executive produces to Beyonce posing for this men’s magazine, as if they’re one in the same. The logic leaps that are often made on this forum are really depressing and unfortunately unsurprising. Not every choice a woman makes is feminist simply because it’s a woman making it.

  • Nic

    I think you know the answer to that question. But people get upset at the truth here…

  • Rue

    I would have thought he reads them…

  • RealityPlease

    Best comment on here.. I love common sense

  • RealityPlease

    @B not sure how my comment got here

  • cb

    lol, yes why is she wearing glasses?

  • p


    For once I have to agree with this demon@chillyroad/qon.

    And the rest of you jealous chics can stop pretending you dont like B because she had a sexy magazine cover, feminism,blah, blah, blah…….Once again, from these comments, Beyonce, for whatever reason brings out the base instinct of a lot of Black women….I wish I knew why.

  • Whitley

    yes. yes. all of that. thank you, that beautifully summed it up. why are feminism and embracing femininity and sexuality mutually exclusive all of a sudden?

  • Chelley5483

    I ask myself that too Whitley. Women are complex creatures, it’s not all black and white. Too many of us believe you have to be the “butch” feminist or the misguided “ruining it for all womankind” hoochie. There’s something to be said about a woman that can own her own company, very successfully might I add, create such a powerful brand ALL WHILE staying true to her idea of femininity/sexuality.

  • loulou

    The point is, if you want women to be respected and valued as much as men are, why act like a sexual object?They(men) don’t. I agree with you that women like to feel sexy, man too, but was it necessary to pose half naked when you are trying to speak your mind about such a serious subject? It can be confusing to see her act in a way, and then say the opposite. And let’s not blind ourselves, Beyonce was not acting this way because she wanted to feel sexy for herself, I believe it was for attention, meaning she chose to associate sex with her career and with her ability to spread messages. Don’t you think it’s ackward?! How can you expect to be fully respected and valued when you’re mane charateristic is to be super sexy all the time and apparently ready to be f&*?ed. There are moments for sexuality and other moments for serious talk, just saying.

    * Excuse my english, my first langage is French so I’m still learning…

  • amy

    I do not agree with you. Posing in your undies, in YOUR room is one thing, but talking about feminism half naked in a MAGAZINE is nonesens because the focus is on your a$$ and your breast, not on your ideas. That’s the very reason many woman find it hard to get respect from man, and be valued in the way. It’s because, some males consider us as sex objects, not as human beings. So posing in those tiny undies only renforces that, it doen’t help at all. I feel like she did that talking for her image, or for attention. If Bey was trying to help empower woman, she could, and should have done it in an other way. Just saying.

  • Whatever

    Beyonce definitely plays both sides of the fence… posing in panties one minute and singing at inaugurations the next… Singing “diva is the female version of a hustla” one minute and writing open letters to the president and first lady for all to read.

    However, the bigger question here is why anyone would look to Beyonce or any other entertainer as a role model. Nothing about Beyonce reads female empowerment in the first place. Not her costumes, lyrics or image.

  • chanela17

    i agree @come on people. i see this all the time on this site. of course you got a bunch of thumb downs. that’s all you ever see on this site is people acting like they are better than somebody else just because they have a degree.

    on another black website people were saying that eddie murphy needs to go to college and get a degree to be a better actor… are you serious? what on earth can they teach him about acting in a cot damn college? he has done wayy more than the professor would even know.smh

  • chanela17

    that’s only because A and B students end up working for C students.

    there are TONS more successful people in the world than just bill gates and steve jobs who made a name for themselves without a degree. they of course support education because education is great if that’s what you need for your future career, it’s not just the end all be all in life.

    some people just don’t need college to reach their goals. often times it’s a waste of time for those people and is in the way of their goals and dreams.

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