Feminism? I Don't think So.
So, a few nights ago at the MTV Video Music Awards, we were treated to a nearly 16 minute serenade by one of the most popular musicians in history. I am of course talking about the preeminent Ms. Beyonce Knowles. Or, “Bey”, as her fans know her. The blogosphere was abuzz with the declaration that Feminism is back baby! It is back because as Ms. Bey performed, partially clothed as she is want to do, the word Feminist in big bold letters lit up the stage behind her. Just like that, she declared that she is a feminist for the entire world to see.
(Insert record scratch) But wait a minute. Didn't we just see her two months ago at the Grammy Awards dressed like nympho and looking like a crack whore, while her husband towered above her and made Ike and Tina Turner references? Isn't this the same woman who basically pimps herself out onstage every time she performs? Or maybe, if you are making money selling your own ass then it is feminism? I don't think so.
I don't have any particular axe to grind with Beyoncé. I am not a fan of her music, but then I don't think I am the demographic she is aiming for. I am a firm believer that people should do whatever they want to do within the context of the laws that govern our society. I certainly believe that the true essence of feminism is the principle that women have the right to chart the course for their own lives without seeking anyone's permission. So, it isn't so much that I don't think she deserves to be a feminist because she prances around half-naked gyrating for the pleasure of men. I think that a woman who does that is playing both sides against the middle, and that strikes me as disingenuous.
I don't think selling sex is a power play. At the end of the day, she has made herself an object for men. Isn't that counter- feminism? Aren't we against the objectification of women's bodies? Just because she has made a ton of money, doesn't wash away what it is. I'm really not sure what message she is sending to young women or our society at large, but I don't think I agree with it. I don't like her appropriating the word "Feminist." Does she own the word now? If I continue to use the word, am I going to be associated with her version of it?
Maybe I am thinking too hard, or making a big deal out of nothing. I don't agree with her brand of feminism, but then again...do I have to?