Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Why I'm Not That Excited About Beyonce's FEMINIST Performance

The Internet basically exploded Sunday night, when "Queen" Beyonce stood proudly in front of the word FEMINIST during her performance at the MTV Video Awards.  I didn't catch the original performance because I spent 5 minutes watching them and I thought my brain was going to melt was watching The Leftovers.  But, after seeing all the hoopla, I decided to check out the performance.

Beyonce is talented.  I'll give her that.  I'm not denying that she does not have star power.  As a mother, I also loved seeing the tribute to her daughter.  I understand that love, it's beautiful.  

Also, as a mother, I kept thinking "She's really letting her daughter watch this?"

It was so sexual you guys, I hated it.

There was a point where she was acting out sex on a chair, it was ridiculous.

(I know, I'm not supposed to hate on Beyonce- I'm sure I'll be shunned by many for this post.)

But, I can't keep my bewilderment under wraps.

Yes- thank you, Beyonce for proving that FEMINISTS CAN BE HOTT TOO! (Note: Limbaugh on Feminism: "Feminism was established so as to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream of society." (uh, okay?????)  But, I'm not really impressed about it.

And, yes, big thanks for bringing feminism and the discussion of what feminism is to the populace- that's great.  Especially since it's been 94 years since women were granted suffrage in the United States.

Thank you for sampling Nigerian novelist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in your song, "Flawless."  That's really, really, great.  This is the quote:
 "We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are. We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, ‘You can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful. Otherwise, you will threaten the man.’ Feminist: The person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes." 

Yes.  That's exactly what feminists are: people who believe in the social, political & economic equality of the sexes, yes!

But just because we have the power to be sexual beings does not mean that we should proudly become sex objects and find it somehow acceptable because we are doing it in the name of feminism.

Oh, I know what's you are thinking: Azia!  You hypocrite!  You preach about not slut-shaming & now you are totally slut-shaming Beyonce.

I am not.  Really, I'm not.  I just don't feel like celebrating this sexual "liberation."  Beyonce may be a lion, roaring with all her might, choosing to own her sexual identity- good on her.  But just because she chooses to be an object, does not mean that objectifying women (sexual objects you guys, come on!) is suddenly okay.  

I fear the repercussions on the impressionable American (male&female) youth.  Our society is already so hyper-sexualized.  Where is the gray area?  It seems our society has one side that's shouting NO SEX ED, NO SEX BEFORE MARRIAGE, LET'S IGNORE SEX & the other side that thinks twerking, self-"chosen" nudity, swinging around on a wrecking ball naked & licking hammers is somehow LIBERATION.  Is there anyone else hanging out in the middle ground?  Am I the only one?  

I embrace sexual relationships, we were designed to enjoy sex.  (I have 3 children, clearly I'm not opposed to sex.)  And I will go as far as to say that I think we are doing our children a serious disservice by not providing them with a comprehensive sexual education (note: Christians- we can't hide from the world our children live in.  We can instill values of abstinence, but we need them to be aware of sex in today's society.  It's like sending them out into a battlefield unarmed.  We must arm our children.)- but I also do not agree that sexual liberation makes sexual provocativeness okay.  I do not worship sex in the way our culture seems to, apparently.

And I don't want my daughters and son to think that this behavior is okay.

I don't want my children objectifying women.

So, thanks Beyonce, for bringing this all to light.  And, I think you have the star-power to get a lot more people talking about the equality of sexes in this country.  Really, I appreciate this.

But I can't pretend that I appreciate the way you've chosen to deliver your message.  I can't pretend that I like the type of feminism you are showcasing.  I can't pretend that objectifying women, even self-chosen objectification, is somehow not objectification.

So thanks, but also, I'm not that excited about it.

You can watch the performance here:


  1. Your point is well made. However, I think you can still choose to flaunt your sexuality without objectifying yourself. Michael Jackson grabbed his dingle dangle 50 times per stanza and I wouldn't characterize him as a sex object. Granted, men are in the position of power in this patriarchal society, but I would argue that Beyonce is in a position of power as well. Also, by her very nature as a popular symmetrical woman, is inherently objectified, and thus, by acting the way she did with "feminism" displayed behind her, is in fact truly owning and redefining the conversation that the patriarchy is already having without her consent.
    Now, the really disturbing and anti-feminist part, in my opinion, are the scantily and bondage-clad backup dancers. Or the faceless women whom you can only identify by ass-cheeks. That's the real problem, stripping her lessers of their very identity and autonomy.
    I like this post, don't get me wrong. It speaks to a person's ability to hold two seemingly disparate but really just nuanced thoughts in one's head at one time. Well done.

    1. "Now, the really disturbing and anti-feminist part, in my opinion, are the scantily and bondage-clad backup dancers. Or the faceless women whom you can only identify by ass-cheeks. That's the real problem, stripping her lessers of their very identity and autonomy." DAMN. You have no idea how much I wish I would have said that. GREAT POINT. I was so focused on the message it was sending to the youth, that I didn't make note of something as important as that. THANK YOU for pointing this out!

      Yes, I agree with Michael Jackson, and, honestly, I'm sure there were parents who were afraid of his sexual nature, much like Elvis, etc. I think mostly in pop culture, the men tend to be less sexual themselves but more so by using women as their props as a way to be sexualized. And, also, I completely agree about her already being objectified, which, is still not okay. Objectification isn't okay. But, I mean, I load my kids into the car and teenagers will drive by and go, "MILLLLLLLLLLF" and I'm just a regular ol' lady. It's just ingrained into our culture. I want my kids to be better than this.

      Thank you for such a thoughtful response, you made some really valid points for me to mull over.

  2. Beyoncé has so much talent and beauty and I'll even give her props for the show with the chair- that couldn't have been easy. I have two feelings about this:

    Anyone over the age of 18 can do whatever the heck they want with their own bodies, so long as it doesn't hurt anyone else or break any laws. Their body, their right.

    But they have to be aware of the consequences that come from it. If they want to walk naked down Broadway Avenue, they'll probably be arrested. If they want to sit on a wrecking ball and lick a hammer, they'll probably go viral, which doesn't mean it's a good thing. If they want to hump a chair, well, they'll probably never live up to Beyoncé. But none of that is going to help feminism or hurt it, not in today's world.

    1. "But none of that is going to help feminism or hurt it, not in today's world." EXACTLY. I think that's why I"m just not as excited about it as I should be. It's just another day. But, what does make me happy is getting girls talking about feminism. I mean, maybe this will lead some of her fans to spend more time understanding the suffragist movement and how hard women fought for our rights and how much more work we have yet ahead of us, because Lord knows, it's barely addressed in schools.


Love to read what you have to say! Keep the comments coming!