One of the oldest and longest running feminist magazines, has decided to place Beyonce on the cover for the month of May and in doing such, feminists all over are enraged. Ms. Magazine is most known for keeping to feminist values and empowering women. When singer and performing superstar Beyonce graces the cover with the tag line that she is a fierce feminist, long time subscribers and feminist had a lot to say on the matter.
The article, first published on The Frisky features a list of readers’ comments on the issue of Beyonce as cover girl of the magazine and the article that thus promotes her as a “fierce feminist”.
A quote about author Janell Hobson’s piece posted on Ms.’s Facebook page garnered nearly 100 comments: “Hobson sparks a discussion among other pop culture critics about female empowerment, combining feminism and ‘traditional’ roles, and the ‘politics of respectability’ for black women. At the end of the piece, it’s up to the reader to decide: Has Beyoncé ‘earned’ her feminist credentials? Why do we even question her feminism at all?”
The article thus leaves two questions at the end for the reader to decide where Beyonce fits in the feminist world and it boils down to either, the pop star is a feminist or she is not. A commenter on the article, Davina Anne Gabriel, wrote, “If she’s wearing stripper outfits, dancing like a stripper for men, and calling women bitches,’ she’s not a feminist. Despite what the so-called ‘third wave feminists’ are claiming, feminism is NOT whatever the hell you want it to be.”
To be honest, as a feminist student, I agree with Davina Anne Gabriel, two points that calling other women bitches certainly puts her out of the running to be feminist and third wave feminism is not an excuse to make feminism cater to what each individual wants it to be. The goal of feminism is to end sexism and to enlighten the world of the laws of patriarchy that continue to hold both men and women back.
Beyoncé’s single independent women and all girl bands are both encouraging and empowering to women everywhere but this does not qualify her as a feminist. Beyonce is an artist who has artistic freedom to dress, dance and sing about what she wants or rather what her record label will allow but to call her a feminist simply because her music may empower women some of the time is to discredit all of the work of feminist scholars past and present.