• Fri, Dec 13 - 3:23 pm ET

Why White Feminists Are Mad At Beyonce

beyonce no angel

You of course know by now that Beyoncé broke the world by releasing her self titled “visual album” around midnight last night all in one fell swoop without having the decency to make sure we were sitting down. Well it’s only been about 15 hours since we’ve had access to the album, and while the initial reviews have been wildly positive (or maybe more accurately, akin to idol worship), there’s an interesting fight happening over at Jezebel between the Beyoncé detractors and defenders, who are getting into a complex discussion of feminism, race, and celebrity.

As it stands, the arguments aren’t particularly well formed, because they’re mostly taking place in commenting threads. Jezebel’s excited post announcing the album release set off a bit of a shit storm and has turned into a fight between mainstream white feminism that discounts women of color (among many other groups), the commenters calling them out, and the occasional troll or spambot.

The thread started with questions about the deification of “Queen Bey.” Things started to go off the rails when one commenter under the handle thisismyfirstburner claimed that Beyoncé was not an artist but instead an entertainer, citing Joan Baez and Joni Mitchell as examples of the former. Commenter Unicorn Lover shot back “I find its usually (always) black musicians who are called just entertainers or whatevs whilst white guitar people get to be artists. Its pretty ridiculous.” This is completely true and dehumanizing, and I don’t want to live in a world where Jason Mraz is an artist and Beyoncé isn’t.

Another thread had to do with the old standby argument of “is this woman a feminist?”–aka, does this person stand up to my subjective, personal and prescriptive type of feminism? Commenter isner-mahut took issue with the title of Beyoncé’s current Mrs. Carter Tour, saying

I’m only pointing out that there is a degree of cognitive dissonance between the idea that girls should not make marriage their goal in life, and then going on a year long tour that identifies you solely in relation to your husband.

This seems like a futile criticism, given that the basic tenant of feminism is equal choice for all. Commenters were quick to respond that marriage has different meanings tied up in it in black feminism, criticizing her choice to identify as married only shows a complete lack of understanding or intersectionality. Commenter amybobamy explained it comprehensively:

You do not seem to be taking in account how different marriage is in the black community….Since you seem to be confused, black women marry at a much lower rate than white women, yet men maintain relationships with these women over years and years. So essentially a black girl saying “if you liked then you should’ve put a ring on it” is essentially, I’m great enough for you to decide to marry me, do it. The goal is not to get married, the song is about men staying in relationships with women for a long time and letting the relationship end because they don’t want to commit. Commitment, in this song, is represented by a wedding ring. Y’all really do seem to forget that for a lot of black women, many of the women that I know, marriage really is a source of power. It is not the only source of power, it is not the end all be all, but it can be empowering. It breaks the stereotype of baby-mamas or mammys raising someone’s kids.

And so began a shit storm of white feminism versus black feminism, with the most vocal white feminsts really, really missing the point. But it was commenter Elaine who really put it all into one succinct comment:

Amen. Miley Cyrus appropriates and the Jezzies defend her. Gaga makes a song appropriating religious and cultural attire and they call her brilliant.

Beyonce drops her album with no publicity needed, continually empowers women and little girls (esp black) everywhere and she’s STILL not good enough.

Features a Nigerian feminist on her album. Still not good enough.

Just another day in the life of a black women in a sea of clueless white feminists

Whether you’re a Queen Bey fan or not, this has set off an important conversation about intersectionality, which is something that much of mainstream, white feminism ignores. The problem with ignoring intersectionality is that assumes all female-identified people come at life from an even playing field with the same experiences and cultural mores, which we should know by now isn’t accurate. It’s fun to think that we’re all one big sisterhood of women, but of course no one is solely defined by being female-identified, and so our points of view are vastly different.

Trying to determine if Beyoncé holds up to mainstream white feminism is counter-productive, and I think even worse, it’s anti-feminist. I’m not one for saying what you can and cannot do to be considered a feminist, but I think rooting a person out of a movement that only benefits from visibility because she doesn’t see the world with your eyes means you shouldn’t be able to come to club meetings.

Photo: Youtube

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  • Samantha_Escobar

    Cue the “AND HOW IRONIC THAT THE WRITER IS WHITE” comments, because you’re not allowed to be upset about something shitty in the world if it doesn’t directly apply to you.

    • Cee

      I understand what white women are saying, though at times I feel they are TELLING me what to be offended about, like whitesplaning or white knighting. I feel they talk to me like im stupid and should give them a sticker for standing up for something they at times dont even understand. It is my problem at times with feminism and Jezebel.

    • Samantha_Escobar

      Oof, that is definitely an issue. Also, the “give them a sticker” thing is something I have huge issues with; I feel like whenever a company or person uses women of color in their ads, everyone’s all, HOLY SHIT THAT IS SO AMAZING GOOD JOB YOU MUST BE VERY PROGRESSIVE when in reality, it should’ve already been like that.

    • Cee

      Yup ! Theres lots of race issues and useless pats on the backs in white feminism. I cant count how many times Ive been told to “take a seat” by a white feminist whos about to explain something about my race and what should offend me or how the ladies of Jezebel take to Groupthink to rage about how “they dont get it” when minorities say “hey were not offended” on something they wrote. (Re: Lana Del Rey appropriating Latin culture).

      At the end I think this exaggerated love for Beyonce is another pat in the back.

    • Monsta

      Well I’m sick of being talked down to by non white women as if I can’t possible grasp even a bit of your experience as a woman.

    • Cee

      You DO have experience as a woman and it has its place. But sometimes you have to accept that things aren’t about you and your feelings but that of others (meaning minorities) and their feelings. Sometimes a white woman needs to sit down and listen. The thing is you don’t want to and always come back saying things like these. So what were saying never gets through because you just get angry about what we are telling you.

    • So tired of this b.s

      You seem like a decent person, but you sure are making a ton of generalizations about white women. This whole “take a seat and listen” is just internet bullying. It’s not ok for the Jezzies to do it (who don’t represent all white women BTW), and it’s shitty to emulate them.

      This whole “you should take a seat” thing may sound good online, but the truth is in real life, NO ONE owes you their ear. In real life relationships are based on mutual reciprocation, not some race revenge fantasy. It’s 2014, no one is oppressing you, and you are responsible for your own feelings.

      You might stop parroting internet feminism (savior complex…oh, please) and actually go learn something real. You sound like a thoughtful person, but you aren’t going to get anywhere with your skewed feminist generalizations in the real world.

      In the real world if you go up to a random white woman and start demanding she listen to you just because you are a person of color and therefore more marginalized, she’s going to tell you that she doesn’t owe you anything and that that you should fuck off and mind your own business. I would.

    • Cee

      “she’s going to tell you that she doesn’t owe you anything and that that you should fuck off and mind your own business. I would.”

      And there is the white entitlement! You practically seethe with it when things don’t go your way.

    • JR

      I would love to know how being a white woman makes you capable of understanding what it’s like to be oppressed based on your race.

    • Feminists are so sensitive

      You sound like a total bitch. Who says anyone needs to understand “what it’s like to be oppressed?” I’m sure you’re not terribly oppressed since you are sitting on a computer in the first world bitching about white women, eh?

      I couldn’t care less whether someone feels oppressed based on their race. Their feelings and self esteem issues are their problem. I’m not oppressing them so it’s not my problem, and no amount of feminist whining will change that.

      No one owes anyone “understanding” in the real world. Especially not based on some overhyped notion of racial butthurt where white women owe women of color because of some academic notion of intersectional oppression. That’s just pathetic internet sjw bullshit.

      This feminist cult of feelings is so funny to me as an educated woman. YOU MUST CARE! No, I don’t have to care. And I don’t.

    • JR

      Hahaha. If I’m a bitch for caring about other people, what do you think that makes you, exactly?

      You’re whining about how other people expect you to behave with compassion and empathy like a normal adult human. Yet you’re doing exactly the same thing that you accuse us of doing- asking others to acknowledge and validate your feelings.

    • Fact Dropper

      The writer is a Jew. Jews are not white. Nice try though.

    • Samantha_Escobar

      I wasn’t saying she is; I was saying this is something we have been told disqualifies opinions. It was sarcasm, and a preemptive frustration.

    • CMJ

      uhhhhhhh. Judaism is a religion not a race. You can be Jewish and any race.

    • Fact Dropper

      Any race can be Jewish, technically speaking. If you use genetics, though, you will find that most Jews fall within a separate ethnic division. 85% of Jews are Ashkenazi and even though it’s a little bullheaded to assume the author is within that 85%, I will take my chances based on the content of their articles. Genetically speaking, Jews are separate from White Anglo Saxons, which are generally considered by feminists to have “the most privilege”. Ironically enough, by all measures, Jews are the most over-represented in positions of power, have the most money, and are the most nepotistic. Saying that this article was written by a white person is a clear misrepresentation and I suspect the author has a clear motivation in the bullshit they push forward.

    • LittleBabyBug Jones

      this may be true…..but honestly, i can’t distinguish a jew from a white person, nevermind the stereotypes people love to point out. so to me, they are white visually speaking. am i the only one who thinks this way? i’m aware that a lot of them don’t consider themselves white, but i think they’d blend in in any standard white American crowd.

  • CMJ

    JEZEBEL STRIKES AGAIN

    • mmeetoilenoir

      How sad that I know EXACTLY what you mean by this. That site needs help. :P

  • Muggle

    Ugh, I’m so over Jezebel. I started a Facebook page for feminists (well, certain types specifically, but really, everyone’s welcome!) and while Jezebel was one of the likes, I had to let them go. They’re supposed to be rooting for all women, not just white ones, not just “curvy” ones, not just the ones who think dolls with short skirts lead to the child playing with them being sexually abused. And certainly not Steubenville.

    • monica

      what’s the name of your page?!?

    • Muggle

      It’s Feminism Beyond Belief. It’s for atheist feminists, but really, anyone is welcome. It doesn’t have a lot of likes/views yet, so I feel shy about plugging it.

    • kittendelight

      GOOD LORD what? People think children playing with dolls wearing short skirts will end up being sexually abused? Or perhaps children being sexually abused has nothing to do with dolls but everything to do with the perpetrator.

    • Muggle

      I’m dead fucking serious, someone actually posted that on Jezebel. You’d think it would come from some fundie clutching her pearls about “modesty” or some anti-woman bullshit… nope, a so-called feminist on Jezebel who thinks Polly Pocket encourages the sexual objectification of women, and thus leads to child rape.

      Literally the whole internet facepalmed.

  • elle

    It never ceases to amaze me the number of white feminists who just completely marginalize and ignore WOC. It honestly feels like they think WOC can’t be feminists. In what world is Beyonce not a feminist icon? Ridiculous. But so Jezebel….

    • Shut the fuck up please

      Is it possible for black people to keep their race out of debate, ever? Feminists and black people are arguing for who’s more disadvantaged like there’s some sort of gold star for perceiving yourself as the biggest victim. In the end, it’s all a narcissistic venture seeking to prove that the individual has “overcome the odds” more than anyone else. Or it’s seeking to validate their present circumstances as being “out of their hands”. It’s truly ironic to argue about inequality while continually trying to provide evidence on why your past or gender or race is the group that has to do “the most work to be heard”. Motherfuckers, the internet exists, is my text coming out larger on your screen?

    • yeah ok

      This is an article about feminism and about race in feminism, so whining about the discussion being about race is not even ironic, it’s a pathetic attemt to shut people up. Not talking about issues has never once helped people get their rights. There is nothing narcissistic about analyzing culture in a critical way.

    • wake up

      The issue was that feminists critiqued Beyonce’s claims that she was a feminist based on her lyrics. Then, a bunch of “POC feminists” tried to pull rank and defend her since feminists are generally cronies that will defend their own kind no matter what, and they couldn’t see past Beyonce’s race themselves. Ironically enough, they schism off into inane groups based on almost nothing like “OH I HAVE IT WORSE BECAUSE MY SKIN IS TWO SHADES DARKER THAN ITALIAN”. If a man became involved in the conversation, they would immediately shun him and label him incapable of knowing what they were talking about. Then, after he left, they would continue with their dumb bullshit.

      And I’m not sure you know what you’re talking about with “rights” since there’s equal protection in the law. You can complain about unequal enforcement, though it’s easy to attribute that to unequal crime rates. If you want to attribute unequal crime rates to socioeconomics, explain to me why there’s a greater correlation statistically speaking between race than wealth in crime. In fact, if you want to talk about unequal rights, explain racial quotas (affirmative action) and how that isn’t an example of “unequal rights”. Explain to me why minorities who have worse grades than their white counterparts get into better schools, even if they’re from the same socioeconomic backgrounds. Explain how it’s better for society if someone who is less capable gets a job over someone just because of the color of their skin (this isn’t 1940 anymore, as much as POC feminists want to pretend it is, the roles have been reversed). If you want to talk about unequal enforcement, explain how “hate crimes” are only used for white-on-minority crime when the opposite is way more prevalent and just as likely to be racially motivated.

      The fight for rights and equality is no longer the agenda of feminism and feminists of the early 20th century would be disgusted by the bitching and moaning of current femenazis.

    • quaquaquaqua

      @wake up, wake up

    • quaquaquaqua

      *sigh*

      you talk about “unequal crime rates”, try explaining unequal incarceration rates.

      socioeconomics =/= economics, thats why there is a socio there… if you make the same amount of money, you are from the same economic background. if you are different races you have a different social backgrounds. therefore a white person and a black person (in america) with the same economic background cannot have the same socioeconomic background. SOCIOeconomic. ding ding ding

      people don’t have a “right” to get into their top choice school or job. people do have a human right to education and employment though. it’s not like there are more blacks going to harvard than white folks. despite affirmative action the school still under represents blacks. if anybody is bitching and moaning, it is you.

      re: hate crime statistics. A hate crime is defined a crime primarily motivated by a bias against a race religion, disability, ethnic origin, or sexual orientation. “Of the 3,135 single-bias incidents that were motivated by race, 70 percent were incidents of an anti-black bias; an anti-white bias motivated crimes against 18 percent.” (fbi crime stats) Why do you think minority-on-white crime is racially motivated. where is your evidence? Don’t you think other motivations are more likely?

      If you want to talk about unequal enforcement talk about, unwarranted search and seizure, the war on drugs, and every other “crime.” It is a well documented fact that the “justice” system prejudiced.

      Yeah it isn’t the 1940s. 1940 was 14 years before Brown v. Board. IT TOOK UNTIL 1998 and two more supreme court cases for Topeka schools to reach the court’s standard for racial balance. 1998! That might even be within your lifetime!

      The fight for rights and equality is still the agenda of feminism and activists, because 100 years later people of privilege (like you) are still bitching and moaning that women and people of color want to be treated like humans.

    • Iyebah

      Thank you!!! It takes time and effort to respond to other ignorant posts. I appreciate being educated and reading well written comments like yours. Much appreciated:) I’m white, my partner is black, thus my daughter is black (mixed yes according to all the white people, but I see her as black because that’s what she is, not part black, it was a hard concept for me to understand, but at 2&1/2 it’s easy to see that she is in a different world then me, and it is because she is black, sad to say but still true). People really make things up all the time, like the person you responded to. I’m in Nursing school and it surprises me just how dumb my peers are. I mean DUMB. And, they pass, get As and continue on. It makes me happy to know there are other smart individuals out there who not only get ‘it’ but share it. Thanks:)

    • I agree with STFU

      Actually, I’m female and I think it’s pretty narcissitic and petty, too. The “Waaaaa I’m being marginalized!!!” meme is played out and tired. Women and poc aren’t waiting to “get their rights.” The civil rights and women’s rights eras were more than 50 years ago.

      What is happening now is a bunch of immature, petty women on shallow feminist gossip sites have started a fake internet war over postmodern theories that no one outside of academia and the clickbait hungry media cares about.

      Intersectionality is an ok social theory, I suppose. But it is not a goddamn natural law or religion. Also, all of these social justice types fail to comprehend that their conversations on the internet aren’t THAT IMPORTANT. No one has the “right” to be heard beyond the right to petition the government. If you listen to internet activists you’d think their every keystroke was golden and people better LISTEN goddamn it or they are a RACIST!!!! LOL

      This is all just media hype, petty infighting, and pseudo intellectual internet posturing. OMG White feminists are marginalizing feminists of color on the interwebs. What a travesty! There must be hurt feelings! Oh the humanity!

      It would be funny if it weren’t so divisive and shitty. No, white feminists aren’t actually oppressing or marginalizing women of color. They are more than welcome to go get low paying blogger jobs at shit slinging tabloids like Jezebel, too.

      It’s just that fake race controversy gets a lot of clicks, and universities have giver out far too many worthless women’s and gender studies degrees so these poor students with no real job prospects have to do SOMETHING with all that pomo white imperialist hating social theory they were taught. ;)

      Yeah, ok. You might take this seriously. But most educated an thoughtful people see right through all this hysteria. Sorry, getting your fee fees in a bunch because some OMG “white feminist” said SOMETHING!!!!!!! is pretty pathetic and does nothing for actual race relations in America or elsewhere. But it does feed the media bullshit machine, and it only makes them produce more divisive crap like this so I guess that’s something.

    • Staci Watkins

      yet Im a black woman, not just black in the morning and a woman at night, Im both at the same time. I will face oppression you wont because my race. You’re sounding borderline racist, go look up Intersectionality. Better yourself.

    • Get real

      How delusional are you to assume that you face more oppression than someone that you have not met? Unless you know someone personally (and I assure you do not know me) you are unable to reasonable judge what experiences they’ve had in their life. The assumption that you automatically make is that since you’re a women and black, that you have it the worst out of anyone in the world. You’re likely someone that complains about stereotypes while totally typecasting yourself doing it. Oppression is subjective to the individual. If anyone’s sounding borderline racist, it’s you, because you’re the one making judgments solely by race. (and you’re being sexist too but whatever).

      “Race shouldn’t matter and gender shouldn’t matter… but since I’m black and a woman, I should get special treatment.”

    • HaveADamnSeat

      She did not say that she had it worse, she said that she faces oppression that you would not, because race IS a factor to her, as is with many women of color. They may not be identical, but it is a factor. She doesn’t HAVE to know you to grade her oppression.

    • Oh, please

      Oh, yes because black women are ALWAYS more oppressed and more disadvantaged than white women. Just ask Beyonce, Condi Rice, Oprah, and Michelle Obama.

    • Staci Watkins

      LMAO @ “guest” (The assumption that you automatically make is that since you’re a women and black, that you have it the worst out of anyone in the world.) Never said that “guest” stop putting ords in my mouth. ( You’re likely someone that complains about stereotypes while totally typecasting yourself doing it.) This after you accuse me of assuming to know you. lol! I take what I said about you being borderline racist back, You are straight up racist, and too scared to show your face online while making your sad delusion comments where you put words in peoples mouths. (“Race shouldn’t matter and gender shouldn’t matter… but since I’m black and a woman, I should get special treatment.”) When did I say that? you’re a wack loser who needs to take several seats.
      I will not go back in forth with someone who wont show their face online while their trolling and who wouldnt be so bold in person, good day you’re dismissed.

    • Sisyphus

      You white feminists have zero idea how racist you are. If only you knew how sickeningly racist your comments are.

    • kittendelight

      One makes an educated assumption that someone accusing black people of whining about their oppression, as if it isn’t a real and serious issue, is WHITE. Oppression is actually collective, and how the hell is Staci being sexist?! Oh wait, you must be a white man.

    • blah, blah, blah

      Intersectionality is a social THEORY. It belongs in an academic setting,
      like a journal or conference. It’s not supposed to be used on the
      internet to play the “I’m
      MORE oppressed than YOU” game.

      You make just yourself sound ignorant by insulting people you think are white and calling them “racist” because they disagree with you on the internet. You aren’t doing yourself any favors and are acting like a bitch while playing queen victim. Generations before you faced more oppression than you will ever know. Get over yourself.

    • Staci Watkins

      Lol wow it took you months to come back with this? Intersectionality isn’t some damn academic theory fool! It’s my fuckin life. If you refuse to understand how being black and a woman might bring racism for my race and sexism for my sex and these things often happen at the same time then, hell you just refuse to have any understanding about the world we live in and no one can help you. I’m done with you , however I advise you to stop being knives to an intellectual gunfight, you truly sound ignorant and sad.

      Thanks to everyone else who tried to make this fool see….. Sadly they won’t.

    • LuLu G.

      I guess you’ve never heard of intersectionality lol sheesh…

    • Pfft

      I think you have an hard time distinguishing between your own personal conditioned perception passing as some universal truth and other people’s more dynamic and compassionate ways of dealing with violence and discrimination. I’m certain that you’ll also complain about your mother’s narcissistic endeavors to expression her frustration if she was ever raped.

    • Liz

      Listen WOC will NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER have the privilege to stop thinking about race not only in arguments like this but in every single situation of their lives. So you saying that is it possible for black people to keep their race out of the debate shows your blatant disregard for how people of color have to live their lives. The moment I forget about my race or ‘keep it out of debate’ is the moment someone reminds me that ‘I’m different.’ Look around you sweetheart do you see any positive representations of black women? We are the most degraded population of women in the media and in society overall. Who then will young black girls look up to? I’m assuming you’re white because you’ve never had to think about race. So the next time you get upset about race being a part of the issue think about where that’s coming from because you have the privilege to say that.

    • LuvCleo

      Your first sentence automatically shows the levels of which racism exists! Unfortunately ignorance still breeds within people such as yourself yet you wonder why “black people” constantly have to continuously debate on it?? You have no problem spewing judgements and other foolery on the internet but in the same breath question someone in speaking on their own truths? Its quite obvious there is way more work needed to be done in order for there to be less people of your character to exist. Maybe you should reach out to those people (and maybe even have a talk with yourself) and ask to stop using race as a way to divide and conquer others. This way so no one would have to go out their way to annoy you any further with their complaints!

    • Sisyphus

      Let me guess…You’re white. So predictable.

    • kittendelight

      It’s obvious what a ‘white supremacist’ you are just based on your dismissive, disrespectful comment. Criticising black people for playing “the race card”? It’s just like criticising women for calling people out on their sexism! I think you confuse narcissism with victimisation… what you describe is not narcissism. Thankyou for informing everyone about the existence of the internet… gosh you are an inspiration -_-

    • Sammy

      I don’t think you understand what a “white supremacist” is. It’s not just a person you think is white saying something you don’t like on the internet. Calling someone a “white supremacist” is really extreme and slanderous.

      You should quit doing it unless that person is a member of the KKK or another professed “white supremacist” group. Normal white people who hold views about race you disagree with are NOT “white supremacists”. Seriously.

  • Fabel

    I appreciate this post, because I honestly could not even wade through the mire over at Jezebel, & I’m glad that I got to read the comment from “amybobamy” (& now my text is bold from copying that name, okay) because I’ve never thought about it that way. Not that my criticisms of Beyonce were ever “she’s not feminist because of ‘single ladies’”, but it’s an interesting (& likely accurate) interpretation of what marriage can mean for black women.

    • Samantha_Escobar

      Also, feminism is about defining yourself however the F you want to. If you want to be married, you can. If you want to call yourself Mrs. (insert partner’s name here), you can. If you want to be single, you can. Plus, according to many of the commenters, Beyonce apparently hyphenated she and her husband’s last names, as did he, not that it really matters because it’s their choice. Sigh.

  • annie

    does GaGa claim to empower women? Or Miley Cyrus? I ask because i genuinely do not know. But beyonce does say she wants to “empower” women. Is sexuality the medium through which black/white women are empowered? Because thats what i take away from her videos…sexuality. she has a song “im a grown woman”..you’d think it was about empowerment until u listen to think lyrics. that grown woman is basically saying i can shake my booty and thump it wherever i want and no one can say anything. thats fine. but is that really empowering? Is empowering only limited to the flesh? what about intellectual empowerment? what happened to that? i find Beyonce sorely lacking in that department. Beyonce is not a feminist and she is not empowering anyone. and the “enterrtainer” tag is not limited to only beyonce…it also includes britney.

    • elle

      As a woman you don’t think getting to own your sexuality is empowering? Interesting. I do, especially as a WOC. For so long WOC have been considered overtly sexual, now we get to say you dont get to decide for us we get to decide our own sexuality. And I don’t necessarily think Bey needs to “intellectually empower” woman…..she’s an artist, not a scholar. I’m curious as to why you think she should have to. And I sincerely hope nobody looks to Miley as a feminist icon and Lady GaGa can just fuck right off, palling around with a known pedophile. Decidedly not a feminist move.

    • annie

      i think you missed the part where i asked “is empowerment LIMITED to sexuality?” And ofcourse Beyonce doesnt need to empower anyone, and i never implied otherwise, but then she also needs to STOP sayings she WANTS to empower women. My question is: how is she achieving this? through overtly sexual videos and lyrics? is that ALL empowerment is?

      And what i find most interesting is you question whether miley is in a position to “empower” anyone. After all, she is also expressing her sexuality. Is that not empowering be your definition?

    • elle

      Of course I didn’t see her doc but I don’t see celeb docs on principal. Do we expect her to be a feminist icon? maybe, maybe not. She is a powerful black woman, a sadly rare thing, so maybe we do. Of course empowerment is not all about being sexual, and I would never say that there was. In fact if I did that would make me a pretty shitty feminist. But there’s nothing wrong with owning your sexuality as a way to empower yourself which your first post seemed to imply, but sure let’s just chalk that up to a miscommunication. And you ask how Beyonce empowers women? Just off the top: she’s a multi-million award winning artist in a male dominated market, employs an all female band, is very open to talking about gender inequality and the sacrifices woman have to make that men don’t, and is a huge and unabashed supporter of Planned Parenthood. I also never said Miley was a bad feminist because she owned her sexuality. That would be pretty hypocritical of me. Though, to be frank, I DO have problems with how she shows her sexuality because a lot of what she does is um well to put it politely borrowed heavily from black culture. Yeah she appropriates hardcore. Also: criticizes Jews, Asians, JLaw, Sinead O’Connor, Amanda Bynes, etc. Again just off the top.

    • annie

      Right. You dont like miley because she borrows heavily from the black culture but youre oK with beyonce having blond hair and appearing nearly white in her videos and photoshoots? dont tell me she has no control over it, she does. 100% control. whats up with the double standards?

      also, if you had watched her documentary you would know that beyonce SAYS (this is the keyword) she supprts feminism and wants equality for women in the workforce. i found this absolutely laughable. Am i to put her on a pedestal because she says she wants it? Heck, i want it too. The woman just says it. point blank. theres no elaborating and there is certainly NO RELATING and no backing it up either. Thats why her saying it is moot. How is that empowering? Is she out there fighting? she doesnt even talk about it. i think its safe to say the black community looks up to beyonce because shes a rich sucessful black artist. PERIOD. Theres NOTHING inspiring about her. and her all female band isnt inspiring anyone and neither is it moving the female cause forward.

    • elle

      Sure but we do live in a world that values whiteness and white beauty over everything else so while I think it’s sad that Bey does all those things it’s pretty hard to judge her. And you know what? It isn’t the same no matter how much you want to think it is. And sure I find Jay-Z inspiring but we aren’t talking about him. And absolutely nobody is asking you to put beyonce on a pedestal. And really? An all female band isn’t empowering? When bands are usually male dominated? Ok then. And just because somebody is wealthy doesn’t automatically stop them from having racism thrown at them. I know that personally coming from an extremely privileged background and being 1/2 Caucasian 1/2 Turkish. But looking at your past comments I just see no reason to continue a discussion with you so yeah it’s been fun but I won’t be continuing the conversation.

    • annie

      yes please…run along. how are you going to carry a discussion forward when you have no idea what youre talking about? you have double standrads that may be hard for you to see. and you called urself a woc…lol. biggest joke.
      goodbye!!

    • elle

      No seriously just fuck off and do not ever tell me how or how not to define myself. Now I’m really done. You’re a shitty person.

    • annie

      L.O.L

    • ThatBadBoy

      Well, seeing as how you just turned an intellectual conversation into more of white tears and utter stupidity, I guess no harm can be done if I just simply call you stupid and dance away. So yeah, way to take down my IQ points a couple of notches with your attempts at “arguing”, annie. >_>

    • RealTalk

      I think it’s clear that your points were deducted long before you decided to jump on here to co-sign lol. I love how your input to a healthy conversation made you look like the jester during the intermission. Just stick with liking up or down, and don’t showcase your lack of intellectual relevancy.

    • RealTalk

      I live lol. I have so many people trying to bash me for my opinions, but I keep my bug spray at the hip. Her “Beyhive” can kick bricks. You keep speaking the truth Annie!

    • Asha

      It’s almost as if you don’t even understand double standards. In different contexts they HAVE to exist. The reason the oppressors take on characteristics of the oppressed is obviously different to the reason the oppressed try to imitate the appearance of their oppressors. This is a simple concept, one you obviously have done no research on whatsoever.

    • Asha

      Also woc is just ‘woman of color’, she doesn’t have to prove hersself worthy of being a woc, she just is. It’s fact, not opinion. How are you debating the politics of feminism when you don’t even understand these basic terms.. smh

    • afrokhaleesi

      Miley doesn’t “borrow heavily”, she appropriates Black culture. Beyonce dying her hair blonde is not cultural appropriation because blonde hair, believe it or not, is not limited to a single culture, nor is it limited to a single race. That’s a false equivalency through and through.

      And that second paragraph is ridiculous. Really, nothing empowering about her featuring an all female band? Nothing empowering about her openly declaring that she’s a feminist? Nothing empowering about several of her songs being about female empowerment, consent, and the issues that Black women deal with? Or is it not inspiring because she doesn’t touch on topics that you identify with? Just because you don’t identify with the issues doesn’t mean that she isn’t empowering to the rest of us. It’s important to recognize that some things aren’t for all people. Women all have similarities in the issues they face but we all face different issues specific to our cultures as well. Some things she talks about aren’t thinks white women will understand, because they’re not things white women deal with.

      And onsidering how women–especially Black women–are shamed for owning their sexuality; considering how white people tend to portray Black women as hypersexualized or desexualized beings, yes, it is empowering for Beyonce to name and claim her sexuality and own it, and use it on her own terms, and if you don’t see any of that, then that’s your issue.

    • RealTalk

      What were your thoughts on her song “Bow Down”? I mean nothing as female empowering like a feminist telling a “B” to bow down.

    • Andrew Joseph Tanner

      One 1/2 song out of a 14 song album? Secondly, telling your haters to bow down because all their hating, criticism, and jealously didn’t stop you…damn sure empowering. The song was literally wrote for people like you! Enjoy!

    • Shut up

      “Miley doesn’t “borrow heavily”, she appropriates Black culture. Beyonce dying her hair blonde is not cultural appropriation because blonde hair, believe it or not, is not limited to a single culture, nor is it limited to a single race. That’s a false equivalency through and through.”

      Are you really implying that dancing is exclusive to “black culture”? Is twerking a part of black culture? Blondeness isn’t almost exclusively a natural European phenomenon? If I put on black face would that not be cultural appropriation because there are dark skinned people of multiple races? If modern music recording techniques were developed by white people, is all music appropriating white culture? Are you dense?

    • Minouxx

      Perhaps your questions are rhetorical but the answers are not what you think.
      “Is twerking a part of black culture?”
      Yes, through and through. Do some research. It wasn’t invented yesterday.
      “If I put on black face would that not be cultural appropriation because there are dark-skinned people of multiple races?”
      No, it wouldn’t. The application of black face is limited to White American culture and the Christmas cultures of various European countries, both of which are perceived as racist by many.
      “If modern music recording techniques were developed by white people, is all music appropriating white culture?”
      No. You should probably also research cultural appropriation because you don’t seem to know what it means. Besides, the first digital audio recorders were created in 1972 by Denon, a Japanese company.

    • Youngatheart

      I think you mean ‘Black AMERICAN’ culture. I’m black African and we don’t twerk here. Plus, there are many cultures within each race, no two are exactly the same.

    • Minouxx

      Yes, forgive my faux pas, that’s what I meant.

    • Ashley

      Speak for yourself. Seriously, who died and made you the decider of who is or isn’t a feminist. They don’t have to quote Andrew Dworkin to ID as a feminist. And how the hell isn’t having an all female (and largely WOC) band not inspiring for some female musicians? And if the black community doesn’t just look up to ANYBODY who is rich and successful. But also, what the fuck is wrong with admiring somebody who really started from the bottom and made it to the top, especially when it is a black woman? Is that too shallow? Can we only laud black women who are starting protests? You are projecting way too damn much.

      Also, if you think that Bey is trying to emulate white beauty standards just because she dyes her hair blonde then you need to step off.

    • HoneyChild11

      Have you ever seen the Melanesians? They are black people with naturally blond hair. Most women, white or black, have to dye their hair blond. It’s rare for any person to have it naturally. Beyonce is a light-skinned black woman. I get tired of the ignorance that a black person’s complexion will never look different due to seasons changing or the lights directed at us. I get a tan during the summer, and I lighten up during the winter, due to the lack of sun. When Beyonce was with Destiny’s Child, I remember seeing her getting bronzer put on to look darker. People that had met her when she first started out always said that she looked very light in person. I came across some of her genealogy. One of her forefathers, his last name was Beyince and he was French-Canadian, helped settle Louisiana. She’s going to just look the way she looks.

    • annie

      also…if you would say her husband is inspiring, i would agree with you 100%. HE has a story that is truly inspiring. Beyonce comes from a posh world…how do you expect her to relate to the black community and their struggles? think about it.

    • StarDestroyer

      Annie, your inability to have a civil debate is embarrassing. Just stop.

    • annie

      i realize my opinion is not the popular opinion, on this site, but that does not mean i restorted to an “uncivil” debate. far from it. he person with whom i was having a discussion with discreddited herself by first claiming to be a WOC and then saying shes a privliged caucasion and turk. Furthermore, the person sympathizes with Beyonce for wanting to be white but cannot sympathize with Miley for the same reason (Not that im really a fan of either women). futhermore, i can provide you with quite a few more reasons as to why this discussion was marred with double standards. it was obviously best to end the discussion because it was just going to continue in a visicous circle with us agree/disagreeing.

      I wish u all more empowerment provided by beyonce. Goodbye. :)

    • afrokhaleesi

      Well, Turks aren’t white. Neither are Caucasians. Caucasian doesn’t mean white person, the term was misappropriated, but refers to people from the Caucasus Mountain region. And even if she IS half white, she’s still a woc. The term biracial exists for a reason… it’s not up to you to determine somebody else’s identity. You don’t get to tell a WoC that they’re not a WoC or question their identity just because they have a certain viewpoint.

      When has Beyonce ever said she wants to be white??? Dyeing your hair blonde doesn’t mean you want to be white. I had blonde hair, does that mean I want to be white? You’re severely lacking in understanding of oppression and power balances.

    • LittleMsBlueDevil

      Did you honestly just associate being black with not being affluent? Are black people monolithic? Please let me know. I have never “struggled” and find myself well situated in the black community. Terrible.

    • afrokhaleesi

      I’m convinced they’re a troll. “She was rich she can’t understand the black struggle!” I don’t even think they knew what ~the black struggle~ even is. Because I guess we all go through the same things. Ugh, I can’t.

    • afrokhaleesi

      Because Black people are a monolith and we all have the same struggles? Get out of here with that nonsense!

    • RealTalk

      I think you and I disagree here lol. Jay Z is inspiring? Jay Z promotes a thug life to his fans, while he shakes hands with execs on the corporal ladder. They’re both cut from the same cloth that will continue to break down culture.

    • palmeria

      caricaturizing and condescending. great that HOVA fits tidily into your little perception of what the “right” black folk narrative ought to be.
      hint: there is no “right” narrative.
      idiot.

    • RealTalk

      Annie I don’t know what you’re familiar with when it comes to “idol worship”. I also am not aware of your beliefs. You words are color blind. It’s not about white or black. It’s about the devolved state of black music. I am a black man in his late 20′s. Take some time and watch this “evolution” of music. Then ask yourself if you could see your grandchild making these “idols” their choice to adore. Would you be okay with your daughter thinking “I’m going to be that girl…I’m sorry be that “B-word” that all the men love, because after we are empowering them through sexuality. So let me give him head in the car. It has to be okay, because the singer okaying it, lipsync’d for our nation’s President at one point.

    • ampersands

      Well, first of all, she’s not saying that “I can shake my booty and thump it wherever i want and no one can say anything” (and furthermore, that language is super racially-coded so maybe you should avoid that in the future); she’s saying “here’s my sexual pleasure, and I’m going to explicitly say what I want, and this makes me feel powerful.” She’s owning her own sexuality, and she’s painting that as a feminist issue (which I agree with). In fact, in “Flawless,” she samples a South African feminist who explicitly says that girls are not allowed to be sexual beings in the same way that boys are. And songs like “Flawless,” “Blow,” and “Partition” are all responses to that, showing the way a woman can own and enjoy her own sexuality on her own terms. Yes, that’s empowering, because it’s a reclamation of sexuality for women, instead of a dehumanization of women as sexual objects for men. Did you listen to h

      Does a feminist have to argue for aspect of feminism, of empowerment, on a single album in order to be considered a feminist? That seems silly to me. Also, it seems like you’re generalizing too much–sexuality isn’t the only way for women to be empowered, but it is certainly a legitimate way among many other legitimate ways. Why must this artist conform to your idea of how to be empowered for you to acknowledge her as an intelligent, sexual human being who want to express both of those aspects in the context of feminist art?

    • Feministkilljoy

      “in “Flawless,” she samples a South African feminist who explicitly says that girls are not allowed to be sexual beings in the same way that boys are.”

      Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a NIGERIAN author. Her TED talk was sampled in the song to make people like you who don’t know one African country from another, feel culturally aware and good about their obsession with Beyonceé even though she is clearly not a feminist. A person does not have to be a femnist in order for you to like them. Just deal with it. Watch Adichie’s entire TED talk and examine the artists you love through a critical eye. It is the least you can do.

    • ampersands

      I did watch it. I apologize for getting her nationality wrong. It was an honest mistake. Furthermore, Beyonce has publicly said she is a feminist, and I, for one, am willing to take a public figure’s statement of political identity at her word.

    • JR

      The entire album is explicitly feminist (minus jay’s Anna Mae line), as is the majority of Bey’s previous work. Women subjectively enjoying consensual sex is feminist, bey’s assertion of her own power and authority is feminist, and the level of nuance with which she discusses the variety of roles women are expected to fill (in pretty much every song on the album- nope all of em) and her love/hate with those roles IS FEMINIST.

      Why would any celebrity go to any lengths to fool people into believing that their feminists? It’s not exactly like subverting compulsory gender subordination is a huge album seller.

      Who do you consider to be a “real feminist,” anyway? Lily Allen? Betty Friedan? Andrea Dworkin?

    • RealTalk

      Well said!!

  • Chuck

    Joni Mitchell is an artist. Joan Baez isn’t entertaining. Beyonce is an entertainer. That’s my opinion. Judas Priest, they’re fun.

    • rosilandjordan

      Most of Mitchell and Baez’s appeal when they started was linked to the men with whom they slept, and to their own physical attractiveness.

      Each had to grow into her own political and musical voice and only now, in their later years, are they considered valid artists because of their work.

      Funny how we forget those two salient points.

  • Tasha

    loved the end of this article. I thought that last statement was very well-said.

  • JennyWren

    For a lot of people it’s somehow cool to dislike Beyonce or to rant on about how she’s manufactured and bland and not deserving of the “worship” she apparently receives from her fans. I find it tiresome in any case but it’s particularly annoying when coming from feminists. Maybe she’s not as progressively feminist as one might ideally want, but Beyonce has to work within the boundaries of her industry and frankly she’s one of the most consistently awesome female performers (and yes, she is an entertainer as well as a singer- she is talented in multiple areas and that is, in fact, a good thing) we currently have.

    • Nice post, Jenny

      This is one of the fairest assessments I’ve seen in the comments. The debate on whether or not someone is an “artist” is pretty silly since the only reasonable definition of “artist” is pretty openended. Beyonce clearly does not have as much of an effect on her music as some musicians who write the entirety of their songs… but she does represent an artistic vision, whether she developed it or not. The discussion will always get muddled on a site like Jezebel since most of their posters are unable to converse without pushing a personal agenda. Any conversation will turn into the same fight since the same people will always take the same interpretation from what they’ve read.

  • Jo

    Agree with the second half of the article, But not the first. I don’t think of Bey as an artist. I don’t think that has to do with race, but honestly, her creative power is not that strong. Now her showmanship (or showWOMANship) is mind blowing, and sometimes in the midst of all that fanfare, one can get confused between artistry and performance ability. Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez are perfect examples of artists, because they were off the charts, creatively. It has nothing to do with race. It has everything to do with musicality. You don’t hear anyone, black or white, questioning the artistry of Stevie Wonder, Jimi Hendrix, or even Lauryn Hill. Why? Because they’re musicians. (Lauryn Hill is a nasty lyricist and she can hold her own on the gitaaaah.)

    • Asha

      So you don’t think performance is artistic ? You don’t think Beyonce is creative with her voice ability and showmanship ? This seems very narrow minded..

    • Jo

      She isn’t creating when she performs. The examples given in the article and in my comments are creative geniuses. She isn’t. She may be an awesome instrument, yes, but her originality is lackin’, and I enjoy listening to her.

    • Asha

      I see your point, although, for example lets take an actor, they don’t necessarily create what they perform but goddamn it takes a lot of creativity and talent to make people believe & to make your audience feel an emotion of pure passion/outrage/love. Personally I feel her performance skills ARE artistic. And her vocals, are you really telling me that every out of place riff in her acoustic videos that sends a shiver up my spine isn’t creative ?! Her voice is her instrument and mastering a musical instrument is an art.

    • SDTR

      I couldn’t disagree more. Every moment a performer uses her or his talent is supposed to be a moment of art. Beyoncé, like any performer, has crafted each note from a page with ink on it into something meaningful. So meaningful that it is has left a lasting impression and is discussed over and over again. Any singer does that, whether they are Kiri Te Kanawa, Shirley Verrett, Ella Fitzgerald, or Beyoncé. Beyoncé is displaying her artistry in the interpretation of written note — tone, value, dyanimc, etc. A decision to take a ritardando, a decision to make a riff, a decision to insert a breath are ALL artistic decisions done by the artist interpreting the music. There are great covers of wonderful original songs sung by great artists themselves, no one would call them any less of an artist than the original.

      Similarly to singing, dancing is an art form, as well. Again, while the dancers themselves may not have written the music, they are artists in their interpretations. Every simple movement, be it a step, or a flick of the wrist, or a swing of the hair, is an artistic choice that has meaning. Even if a dancer did not choreograph the particular routine, it is her or his artistry that brings the choreography to life and provides meaning.

      Regardless of whether one listens to music and enjoys it, the musicians who play, singers who sing, dancers who dance, actors who act, or performers who do combinations of all of these things are artists. Their interpretation of something that is static, moving it beyond just a concept or a piece of paper, makes them artists. Interpretation brings the entirety of a performer into being. As new-agey as that sounds, it is true. Interpretation is more than just singing on pitch and dancing in step — it is pouring your life experience, your character choices, your skill into every minute moment of a piece. And all of these change every single performance. Just like you aren’t exactly the same person you were a minute ago, an hour ago, or a year ago, a performer is different each time she or he performs. It is art.

    • ampersands

      Do you think a violinist is an artist? A pianist? Let me be more on point: do you think an opera singer is an artist? Because they’re all doing the same thing that Beyonce does. I’m not sure how you can argue how someone who develops her voice as craft isn’t an artist if you think that someone who learns an instrument is an artist. Similarly, do you think actors are artists? They interpret other people’s words in a performance, but surely that interpretation is itself part of the art?

      I guess I’m arguing this: that because the art you consume must be performed by someone, the performer is an artist, since they are taking a necessary part in the creation of that art. The music doesn’t exist without her voice.

  • jamiepeck

    Beyonce is a great artist and her music’s appeal is undeniable, as well as her beauty and stage presence. But it grates on me the way she markets herself via faux-feminism. You CANNOT talk about empowering women in one song and then brag about how you are hotter than all the other women in the next. You just can’t.

    • afrokhaleesi

      And here is where intersectional thinking comes in handy. There is a REASON Black artists tend to have a materialistic edge to their music, considering historically and currently, we are BARRED from wealth, and when we have it, we’re punished for it (see:Black boy arrested for buying an expensive belt. See: Black woman assaulted by the police for buying an expensive purse. See: Black professor arrested for trying to enter his own home) We aren’t allowed to be wealthy, and when we are, there’s suspicion surrounding it. So the materialism in Black music isn’t so much materialism so much as them saying, “I made it,” and yes, showing off. Because it’s something they’re not supposed to have in the first place, according to white supremacy. The difference between Horatio Alger, Republicans, and Beyonce, is that Horatio is a white man, and the majority ore republicans are white (maybe white men). Beyonce is a Black woman, and most hip hop artists are Black people, and that Blackness makes all the difference.

      Regarding Beyonce, let’s talk about that, bragging about how she’s hotter. Let’s consider the standards of beauty, and who is considered to be beautiful. Let’s consider who is portrayed as pretty, and who isn’t. Black women are not viewed as pretty. Black women are constantly portrayed as ugly. The European standards of beauty wouldn’t exist without Black people, because it needs an opposite to be its contrast, it’s “ugly.” Guess who that “ugly” is? This is why Black women are rarely included in fashion shows. This is why there are people writing psychological research studies about how undesirable we are. This is why when “beautiful woman” is stated, a white woman is what comes to most people’s minds. Black women aren’t allowed to be pretty, and if you pay attention, you’ll notice that Black women are mocked when they DARE to have self confidence, especially in their looks. Her bragging that she’s prettier than other women is REVOLUTIONARY, because Beyonce is a Black woman, and we aren’t allowed to have that. We aren’t supposed to be the pretty, let alone prettier than anybody else. So if you think that her saying that is anti-feminist, I need you to again, think intersectionally about this, because it’s not about her putting other women down, it’s about her, a Black woman, recognizing her beauty, as a Black woman, and having the self confidence to declare that she is the best looking lady there. That may be vanity to white women, but it’s something Black women aren’t allowed. It IS feminist.

      See, this is why intersectional thought matters. You can’t critique something as if it has the same meaning for everybody, because it DOESN’T, and that is exactly why there’s such an issue in the first place.

    • Just Saying

      Because light skin, light eyes, and long blonde hair are historically considered to be SUCH ugly black features.

      I’m sorry, I’m black, I’m a woman, and I love Beyoncé. But I don’t think being extremely successful and also a woman automatically makes you a feminist. Would you call Jay Z an activist for racial justice because he happens to be black and have a lot of money? No. Would you call Perez Hilton a gay rights activist because he happens to be gay and have a lot of money? No. So why does Beyoncé get to be a black feminist for singing about the same things other artist sing about? i.e. being rich and hotter than all the rest. Rihanna sings about generally the same things and I don’t see anyone writing articles about how feminist she is. Beyoncé is a great artist and no doubt an icon, but you can’t just go around labelling everyone feminists because you like them. It trivializes the various feminist movements.

      There are lots of actual black feminists out there who don’t get enough attention because people are too busy arguing about Beyoncé. Check out Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s entire TED talk and some more of her work. I think a lot of other Beyoncé fans would really benefit from it.

    • afrokhaleesi

      Within the Black community, no, and I never said that they were undesirable. First of all, her hair isn’t naturally blonde, so… what? Secondly, she may be beautiful, but she is still Black, and just because she’s conventionally pretty by Euro standards doesn’t mean that she may not have internalized some of the same messages that the rest of us Black women did. Everybody has their own struggles, and as pretty as she may be, she is still a Black woman in a white supremacist society.

      I don’t know what Jay Z or Perez Hilton have to do with anything that I said, but false equivalencies, okay. Beyonce has several songs about the empowerment of women. I’m not saying she doesn’t do problematic things or is above critique, but I am very tired of this idea that she’s not a feminist because she made choices that white feminists usually push for women to be able to do without shame. She wears sexy outfits, therefore, she’s not feminist, but Lena Dunham can be naked in “Girls” and it’s the highest form of feminism on the block. She wore heels. She can’t be feminist. She named her tour The Mrs. Carter Tour, therefore, she’s not a feminist. Never mind that Jay Z also took on HER last name, and nevermind the fact that a BLACK woman being proud of her marriage is important, she’s not a feminist. She loves being a mother on top of being a wife. Not a feminist, despite the fact that, again, choosing how to live your life and being able to do so without being shamed for it, is what feminism claims to be about; despite the fact that the fact that she’s a *Black* woman openly loving her marriage and her children is giving a different, wonderful message than it would if she were a white woman. And a white woman wouldn’t be shamed for ANY of that in the first place.

      Lady Gaga can run around participating in behaviors that are oppressive to women of color (singing about killing Ratchet (read: Black) girls, having a song called Burqa Swag, and walking around in a sheer Burqa. Having a song with a racial slur (g*psy) in it. But because she SAYS she’s a feminist, she’s hailed as one. Jennifer Lawrence can make fun of a little Black girl’s name, but she’s still loved. Beyone can make song after song about women empowerment, make a whole album that SCREAMS Black feminism, be a globally known powerhouse in an industry fun by men, be able to make her own choices, claim her sexuality and show it off and use it in whatever way SHE chooses, sing a song about fucking CONSENT for christ sake, but she’s STILL not good enough to be a feminist.

      And that is the problem. Too many people are grading her by white feminist standards when Beyonce is a BLACK woman. To be considered feminist, Black women have to meet white women’s approval, and fit within the constraints that white women suddenly decided were necessary JUST NOW at the same time that this Black woman decided that she wanted into the club. Funny that these are the same constraints THEY fight against. They talk about how feminism is free choice, but whenever she makes a choice in either direction she’s just not feminist enough, and that is worth discussion and a LOT of heavy thought.

      As for Rihanna, you can’t say that you haven’t noticed this popular trend (among white feminists, funny enough) to draw a dichotomy between Rihanna and Beyonce. You know, that Good Black woman/Bad Black woman dichotomy. Rihanna may not claim feminism, but her owning her sexuality on her own terms is a pretty radical move. But, she doesn’t have the same “classy” appeal. There are reasons there aren’t more articles about Rihanna being feminist.

      Yes, there are a lot of Black feminists who don’t get enough attention but if you really think that’s somehow Beyonce’s fault, then I don’t know what to tell you. And if you don’t think that, then my mistake, but the way you worded it heavily implied that Beyonce is stealing all the shine. The feminist sphere is big enough for everybody, and just because one Black woman is getting more attention than another Black woman doesn’t mean she should be held accountable for that. But I do agree, people need more Chimamanda. The number of people who have insulted her after hearing Beyonce’s album is appalling. Did you see that one rapper girl who thought that Chimamanda was a pseudonym for Miley Cyrus? Oh. My. God.

    • RealTalk

      I would love to take you offline form this site to have an actual conversation about the music we listen to. My point would be solely around one particular subject, and it wouldn’t be to prove you wrong. Simply pose a bigger question. If you’d like to let m e know.

    • jamiepeck

      There are so many more things I want to say about this but I think I’m going to save them for another day. I realize my comment was kind of short and facile. I will only say that just as “white feminists” are foolish for presenting a gender analysis as divorced from race, you cannot present a racial analysis divorced from class and all the different relationships of domination at play in our society. Some pieces of writing that might prompt you to think differently about it:

      http://realcoloredgirls.wordpress.com/2013/12/15/the-problem-with-beyhive-bottom-bitch-feminism/comment-page-1/

      http://libcom.org/library/black-particularity-reconsidered-adolph-l-reed-jr

      I don’t see the point in subscribing to any feminism—whether it’s Beyonce’s, Sheryl Sandberg’s or Hilary Clinton’s–that fails to attack the basic power structures that create inequality between humans. Are these women feminists? They all self-identify that way, so I guess that’s a dumb argument for people to be having. It’s just a type of feminism that I find really wrongheaded and problematic.

    • Alex

      OMG I’m in love with you!!! Lol awesome response… Hopefully she gets it or at least tries to.

    • offbeatorbit

      I’d argue that in some ways it is revolutionary for black women to declare themselves hot as hell, because we live in a society that tells us that that’s a laughable idea in the first place. There is a level of empowerment in that because it is a big eff you to a bunch of other effed up structures in place that bring black women down.

      Also, obviously there is a discussion to be had about materialism and how that manifests in hip hop/pop music made by black artists, but how the hell are you going to have a real discussion about that when you aren’t even acknowledging where that materialistic drive even comes from? I’m agreeing with afrokhaleesi here. This is why intersectionality is important, because people who pretend that they know what they’re talking about (i.e. white feminists) drive the discussion and the perimeters of feminism and constantly leave out the experiences of black women, other woc, and just people in general who don’t automatically fit in the middle/upper-middle class educated white lady bubble. Swerve.

    • jamiepeck

      There are so many more things I want to say about this but I think I’m going to save them for another day. I realize my comment was kind of short and facile. I will only say that just as “white feminists” are foolish for presenting a gender analysis as divorced from race, you cannot present a racial analysis divorced from class and all the different relationships of domination at play in our society. Some pieces of writing that might prompt you to think differently about it:

      http://realcoloredgirls.wordpress.com/2013/12/15/the-problem-with-beyhive-bottom-bitch-feminism/comment-page-1/

      http://libcom.org/library/black-particularity-reconsidered-adolph-l-reed-jr

      I don’t see any point in subscribing to any feminism—whether it’s Beyonce’s, Sheryl Sandberg’s or Hilary Clinton’s–that fails to consider the basic power structures that create inequality between humans.

    • Ashley Reese

      And so do you with every paycheck you get, and so do I with every pair of shoes I buy.

      I was going to ignore this but I logged into disqus and figured, hey, why not.

      Look, I’m not going to act as if aspects of Beyonce’s lifestyle and career doesn’t adhere to capitalistic bullshit, but I think it is misguided when people focus such an ample amount of their attention on Beyonce’s participation when she is a drop in the bucket compared to other people who wield an unholy amount of control when it comes to class disparity in this country. Not to mention the fact that that also doesn’t negate a lot of the points I made about black female empowerment that had nothing to do with finances. Also, I have so many problems with that realcoloredgirls post that I’m still frustrated that they had the audacity to use pimp language to prove a point about a fellow woman of color. But it’s sexier to shit on Beyonce, I guess, than the hundreds of other sociopaths whose talents and professions lie solely in maintaining income and resource disparity.

      And don’t for a second assume that I have some sort of inability to acknowledge the way race and class intersect. I’m embarrassed by that insinuation on your part but whatever.

    • HoneyChild11

      Beyonce normally tells all women to feel beautiful. No matter what your race, size, etc in her music. Listen to her new song, “Flawless.” When she sings, “I woke up like this..we flawless.” If she sings in first person talking about her looks, she wants you to apply it to yourself. If she sings I look good, you are suppose to sing the lyric like you look good. The poster Afrokhaleesi made some good points below me. I’ve never believe that black women were “truly” considered ugly. Do we think we would’ve so many biracial people created around the world during slavery if that was the case? Black women through the ages have been seen as beautiful and exotic although that has been downplayed to raise up a white standard of beauty. I always caught that Venus Hottentot was the one that gave the idea of the bustle. I mean from getting fuller lips. Oh, that article that you were talking about was written by some xenophobic crack “doctor.” But he even had to admit that Beyonce is beautiful.

    • Minouxx

      Just wanted to point out that many biracial babies were created during the antebellum period because of the standpoint of power. Meaning, the slavemaster could take everything from you. Even your sister, daughter, or wife.

  • K

    As someone who is kind of new to the feminist game, I never understood why so many WOC felt marginalized by white feminists. Now I get it. Again, as a newbie, I think anyone claiming to be feminist today is progressive. There are still so many instances of women and men being afraid to label themselves as “feminist” just because it could lose them a few uneducated followers that still equate feminism with hating all men. (Don’t get me started on how my own father fretted about my turning into a “fem-nazi,” and unintentionally tied a woman’s worth to her weight and physical attractiveness.)

    But BEYond that (see what I did there?) I always thought of feminism as subjective. You want to never marry? Get it, girl. You want him to put a ring on it? Go you. You refuse to wear high heels? Cool. You think fishnets are hot as hell? Let your flag fly. But when I see women, specifically white women, claiming that Bey couldn’t possibly be a “real” feminist because she CHOOSES to be in touch with her sexuality, and is in love with her husband enough to tour as Mrs. Carter, I have to give pause. Honestly, the whole annie thread above really opened my eyes to how prescriptive the feminist dialect can be with some people.

    I guess I’m late to the party, but to me feminism is about equality and freedom. But those terms are all subjective. For me, feminism means not feeling guilty about wanting to get married and have kids – because it is my god damn choice. Just as I won’t make you feel guilty for choosing to live your life differently. To quote the great Jimi, “I’m the one that’s got to die when it’s time for me to die, so let me live my life the way I want to.”

    I am not a Beyonce fan. I never have been. But, when she came out as a feminist she got my attention. Here she is in a game of men, married to a powerful man, and she is connected and comfortable enough with herself to claim to be something that is still treated as a dirty word in mainstream media? Shit just got real, guys. I bought her album yesterday. I’ve been listening to it non-stop and it is empowering for me. I bought her other albums today. She is connected with herself, her culture and she defines her own life. Look, she released an album without a single leak or forewarning. And it worked. She didn’t spend her time marketing it and to me this reads that she knows exactly what she’s worth. Beyonce can do that if Beyonce wants to. God damn. That takes major confidence and self-assuredness to even attempt a stunt like that, and because she did that, it somehow makes me feel like I can do that too.

    When I have a little girl, I’ll be good with having her listen to Beyonce if she wants to. I’ll show her how strong a woman can be, because female strength is still very scary for some. I want my little girl to know that it is ok to label yourself as a feminist, because you don’t want to hang out with the ones who would damn you for it anyway. I want her to know that there is no one that has the right to judge her decisions. I want her to have the confidence to work hard and pursue her dreams, but not compromise herself to attain them. Beyonce could teach her that.

    I never understood why WOC claimed marginalization from the feminist movement. You can read about it as much as you want, but this real-life example blows my mind and opened my eyes to a whole camp of “feminists” that still think it is ok to define what a woman is or is not. Just like when I started working retail and discovered that stupidity was not a myth my mom made up to scare me, I didn’t realize that even educated people miss the meaning of “subjectivity,” and forget that their experience is not THE experience. Your voice is not my voice. Your culture is not my culture. I am a light-skinned latina, does that invalidate my perception of what feminism “should” be? I am a WOC and subjectively, Beyonce is someone I can look up to as I navigate my education into what it means to be feminist. But, if she isn’t for you, that’s cool too. But, you have no right to question whether or not another woman is a feminist, because there is nothing more reductive than trying to prescribe your beliefs on someone else. That is you trying to take power away from people who already have to fight like hell to get it. Feminism is about female empowerment, right? So how are you going to claim to be feminist when you can’t even let a woman be strong without fighting her? We should work to empower each other, not try to fit something as complicated as the human experience into a series of simplistic definitions.

    • PreMedLife

      If you don’t think Beyoncé is an artist, please listen to ALL FIVE of her albums & watch her documentary. Not every one of her dogs showcasing her musical ability, but do they have to? She has nothing else to prove. Have a seat. I was a little girl when Destiny’s Child came out & Beyonce went solo. Her music & image hasn’t done anything less than empowered me as a black girl (& now a woman). It didn’t matter that she is considerably lighter than I am, has blonde hair while mine is as kinky as can be. Do I think she’s a feminist? WHO CARES.

    • afrokhaleesi

      As happy as I am that you’re beginning to see for yourself why WoC feel (read: ARE) marginalized by white feminism, I do hope that you’ll be listening to feminists of color themselves, as well. It’s great that you saw for yourself, but honestly, when PoC say they’re marginalized, you should be listening, without needing to see the proof for yourself that we’re telling the truth about our experiences. Again, though, I’m glad that you’re understanding it! Just a friendly reminder. (NO SARCASM I SWEAR) =]

    • K

      I absolutely agree. My foray into the world of feminism was sparked with some of my white friends and I never felt marginalized. So when I read forums and reaction comments to articles, I just didn’t get it. (Stupid of me, I know.) The white feminist voice is so much easier to find than a PoC’s (which probably should have made me realize it before being shocked by this…Hindsight, right?) and I felt that what I read applied to me, so I left it at that. I will be exploring the PoC feminist movement, because my education is obvious lacking.

      Thank you! I needed that little reminder that I’ve got a lot of work to do. :)

    • afrokhaleesi

      I wouldn’t say it’s stupid. We’re really conditioned to think that the white experience is universal and since it’s the voice given the most stage, it’s really easy to not recognize who is missing or who is being blocked from view. Heck, I’m a WoC too, and for a long time, I myself didn’t get it! >_> It’s a process. It’s one of those really frustrating things that just… I don’t even know. u_u Generally, when I find myself being shouted over or being accused of being divisive by pointing out that not everyone’s experiences is the same because gender is not the only identity we have as women that affects our experience as a woman, I like to remind people that they don’t like it when men speak over them to tell them that their experience as a woman is X, Y, and Z, but that’s what they’re doing to me or other WoC. Sometimes, it works. Sometimes, not so much, smh. :/

      But I’m so glad that it didn’t come off as an admonishment, because it definitely wasn’t meant to be one! Recognizing and acknowledging the problem is always the first step, and when it comes to issues like race, gender, sexuality, it’s sometimes hard to acknowledge that the problem is there, I’m so happy you took it! =]

    • Cee

      You are speaking amazing truth in every comment of this post. LOVE it!

    • …her?

      When a PoC says they are marginalized, I think it is helpful for allies to hear specifically what it is that makes the PoC feel marginalized. I don’t think that’s the same as asking for proof, but instead asking for help in understanding why a person would feel that way. Even the most understanding, knowledgeable, or tactful person might make a misstep once in a while. It’s possible to believe a person without understanding why they are correct :)

  • http://dglsplsblg.com/ douglaspaul

    this is why i dislike feminism so much. white feminists demand that black and brown women marry their definition of feminism as if all women have the same experiences and needs.

    this reminds me of the following by karen pyke “all systems of oppression not thoroughly coerced through brute force and overt repression involve the dominant group’s ability to win the consent of the oppressed. the dominant group controls the construction of the reality through the production of ideologies or “knowledge” that circulate throughout the society where they inform social norms, organization practices, bureaucratic procedures and commonsense knowledge. in this way the interests of the oppressors are presented as reflecting everyone’s best interests, thereby getting oppressed groups to accept the dominant group’s interests as their own and minimize conflict. white racism can infiltrate the world view of the racially oppressed without their conscious consent in a process come refer as “indoctrination” and “mental colonization.”

    the above is literally the first thing i thought of while reading that piece.

    • rosilandjordan

      I take your point.

      However, as the daughter, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter of feminists, and as an American, I’m going to be a feminist — no matter what the so-called “dominant group” thinks. I’m not waiting for their permission. ;-)

    • Monster

      The problem with the term “feminism” is that it took on a definition that many women, yes, even many white women, couldn’t respond to. No one needs permission here to be a feminist. Blaming white women for not being able to construct a relatable meaning to the term “feminism” is strangely asking white women to come up with a definition that suits you.

  • steve

    this is a garbage article

    • touche

      strong analytical argument, steve

  • caseyrain

    I’d say Bey is more of an entertainer than an artist, and it’s not about race, or “white guitar people”, it’s about the deeply personal and idiosyncratic nature or your songwriting and performance. Prince, for example, is a true artist. Beyonce doesn’t have enough of just her personality in much of her music, because she has little input in either the production or the songwriting. You might as well call your average American Idol contestant an “artist”. Tracy Chapman is an artist. Erykah Badu and Meshell Ndegeocello are artists. Beyonce is an entertainer.

    • Alexis

      If you look through the credits on all 5 of her albums, Beyonce has writing and/or producing credits on every. single. one. of her songs. You can wiki it right now. Try harder next time.

    • RealTalk

      Yes but if you go back and check her resume…a lot of her songs listed as her’s in the credits was in fact not. So I being a gay black mail and a former fan see her as an entertainer. Artist however, I do not see it.

    • Andrew Joseph Tanner

      NO time for conspiracy theories, and fake research. And again fallacious logic, artistry is about artistry, not about credits and where things come from, not to mention arbitrary rules like must have wrote the song with less then 3 people on a consistent basis, etc…..

    • caseyrain

      It’s you that needs to try harder. It’s well known both in and outside of the music industry that Matthew Knowles blackmails the writers and producers into giving Beyonce the credits, when she doesn’t deserve them. Ideologically, none of them would do it – but they aren’t going to miss out on a payday like that. If they don’t give her a portion of the credits, then their song doesn’t get used. Matthew Knowles has stipulated this time and time again – it’s no secret. Original demo’s of songs have leaked from the producers and writers and they are exactly the same with a session vocalist, yet when the song turns up on a Beyonce album she mysteriously has writing and production credits.

      That aside – if she DID have justified writing and production credits, her songs would be idiosyncratic rather than generic nonsense. She’s a global superstar yet there are no opinions, no personality, no unique idiosyncrasies displayed in her songwriting. Nobody really knows anything about her. She’s a faceless blank slate.

      Compare that with the ultimate black female pop megastar – Janet Jackson – and it’s night and day. Janet was a pop revolutionary,with intensely personal songwriting that touched on everything from love and sex to political and social issues and everything in between, her songs were not written by a committee but by the trifecta of her, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. Beyonce on her best day isn’t as interesting as Janet on her worst.

    • MsAfroCAN

      10/10

    • JR

      If you were as smart as you thought you were, you wouldn’t be trying so hard to define what “art” is and isn’t. Performance IS an art.

    • Used to think the same

      Well, if you actually listen to the self-titled album, you might change your opinion. It’s a deep, personal and in many aspects also very intimate record no other person would have made despite the fact she works with so many people. It’s undeniably her very own strong vision and her feelings all the way through. That’s what I call art, no matter who wrote the exact lyrics, beats and melodies. It’s funny to think she has no significant creative imput in her music, especially on the last two albums. Artists evolve, you know. She’s always been a great performing artist and it is exciting to see how she’s grown in expressing her own ideas on this album. Done with help of dozens of other artists, but it’s very authentic and focused art. Which I find pretty amusing, since that kind of collaborative pop machine work is usually all about form without content.

    • Andrew Joseph Tanner

      Just stop while you are ahead, all you did was describe your personal opinion of what an artist is…Erykah Badu & Tracy Chapman…wow….just wow…people like you are why I chose to study neuropsychology…completely flawed logic based on unsupportable claims…you can not force objective superiority on the subjective. Besides, Beyonce has a 1000x more personality then the ladies you named, and please don’t drag my beloved Janet Jackson in who by the way has next to no songwriting credits throughout her career (did you even research before typing this nonsense?). And even if she did, arbitrarily stating that a song written by 3 people is better then by “committee” is fallacious, implying songwriting has anything to do with artistry is subjective and fallacious, please just stop. People like you should not be allowed to speak about music.

    • caseyrain

      I’ll continue to be a songwriter on a major label and you stick to your neuropsychology since you clearly know nothing about pop music. Janet has next to no songwriting credits? LMFAO. Nothing Beyonce has ever done is fit to be mentioned in the same breath as Rhythm Nation or The Velvet Rope. Songwriting has nothing to do with artistry? Okay buddy. Whatever you say.

    • Yumastuh Bedelusional

      If you look at the album in question, she’s listed as a co-writer on every. single. one. of. her. songs. You can wiki it right now. Try harder next time. If you really think she sits behind a production table and makes all the music you hear, you are a retard.

    • RAM

      I am a Bey fan and I agree with you. I have all of her albums and like 4 out of the 5 and she is not artist. She is an entertainer and it has nothing to do with race (though White people seem to only ever be able to come up with White examples of artists). She has like 12 different writers on her albums (and people don’t seem to understand that being credited doesn’t have to mean you actually did much of anything), it’s not personal and even if she were an artist, she’d be a mediocre one (she can sing, but is not a wonderful vocalist and the lyricism is beyond mediocre). The fact that she has great success says a lot about her work ethic, talent as an entertainer and what the fans are looking for and that she has a good team and good sense.

    • palmeria

      so does that mean ballet dancers and opera singers are not artists?

  • Alicia Granse

    I guess until Mr. Knowles goes out on tour in skimpy outfits, I won’t be rallying behind Beyonce as the next Audre Lorde.

    • Alexis

      so black women can only be feminists if they are scholars? Ah got it.

    • Alicia Granse

      Yup. Exactly. Totally. Definitely. That is just what I said.

    • LuvCleo

      I would think the idea of feminism would be for woman to come together in order to obtain better for ALL WOMEN! Breaking down Beyonce completely contradicts the ideas of the movement in itself. Beyonce is a human being, as we all are, with something to offer and within her right to express herself in any way she pleases which is why feminism was created in the first place. If she would like to be known as a feminist then what right does anyone have to take that from her simply because you don’t share the same opinions or feelings. An artist/entertainer portrays at their best different characters which is part of the art. Judging her based on her songs is ridiculous. Her speaking from the heart is where you will find her actual character and story in which she obviously would have something to contribute to the world of feminism. Trying to prove points through only one view, ie. YOUR OWN has little effect in what is supposed to be the bigger picture of woman coming together to support one another for the betterment of woman as a whole. Stop fighting one another to prove points and actually take the time out to LISTEN and UNDERSTAND!!!

    • WhiteGirl

      Amen

    • MsAfroCAN

      Good points. But where does one hear her “speaking from the heart”. Who can say what her “actual character and story” is outside of her “art”?

    • LuvCleo

      Well yes thats very true and why its even more silly for people to hold on to her every word or any other artist at that. The industry is mainly built on image and if your objective is to sell then you “give the people what they want”. Her documetary and interviews are where we would want her to be “real’ but even in those cases she may uphold a certain image. Most people do that on a daily basis so why do we expect her to be any different? Somehow people really feel she owes them that which is ridiculous. So then Beyonce claiming to be a feminist may in fact be exactly what she wants personally with hopes of her music expressing her ideas of it, or it may in fact just be a ploy to sell, but no one knows her enough to say otherwise. No one should have the right to take that away from her either. So call me crazy in thinking this but feminism should not be based on judgement but more so on acceptance and understanding in knowing we as woman, regardless of differences, are here to learn from our own mistakes in life and from each other in order to strengthen one another in order to progress in a society that was not built for woman! Which also brings me to another point which i don’t understand why no one has bridged the gap here?? You see WOC have actaully had two fights on their hands! For one being a woman in this society(which all woman can seem to relate to) and secondly being accepted in a society where WOC were considered less than that of woman, or even an animal and many seem to be clueless of this reality. What is the difference in both of these fights for equality exactly?? Its common sense or at least should be!!!

  • Dj

    Sorry, the writer of this article makes her self look stupid. Why make it about race? There are plenty of black female artists whom people would never ever dispute are artists, these range from Tracy Chapman Aretha Franklin, Joan Armatrading to Sade, Billie Holiday and Lauryn Hill to name just a few. I think she misses the point completely as to why people would question Beyonce’s artistry. Shes definitely one of the most commercially successful female artists around and a damn good entertainer and businesswoman but an artist? Maybe, but there is definite validity in the argument she is not, mainly to do with the quality of her music, (which in my opinion ranges from ok to very poor) and her constant use of sex to sell her product which none of the above named artists ever need to resort to. Race has nothing to do with this one. Sorry.

  • Al_Dente_Opa

    There is a thin line between being a Feminist, and being a hater…

  • God is My Mojo

    Beyonce’s unbelievable success makes her an easy target for people to project their deep insecurities on. The White Feminists are just in a long ticketed line of confused admirers who simply cannot live unless their chopping down someone else’s tree. BTW…white feminist tend to think that they’re the measuring stick for ALL women and I wonder where on God’s green earth they got that idea from?

  • Monsta

    This is a bunch of bullshit. While not a fan of Jezebel, they have gone out of their way to prop up and support Beys Super Bowl performance and anything else she or Rhianna does regardless of their failings to stop the hyper sexualization of women in media and they constantly provide non white perspectives. Beyonces getting called out because she has, like all the white pop stars before her since Madonna started it, hypersexualized herself without regard to how this affects the image of all races and classes of women world wide. And her being hailed as feminist pisses off those of us who will not accept that no more than we accept Miley, Brttany or Madonna’s anti feminist antics. Beys getting the shit now because she is in the spotlight. There was a shit storm over Miley’s crap and if you missed it then you are obviously too invested in playing the victim card and not being part of crafting solutions to move us all forward. I want this shit to stop. These fucking stupid hash tags #solidarityisforwhitewomen, #notyourasiansidekick and#fasttailedgirls have become a vehicle to chastise all whites who have the gall to treat non whites as equals and hold non whites as equally responsible to repressive and oppressive actions that undermine all women. You want a segregated response to misogyny and patriarchy? Really? Well good fucking luck to you then.

    • ROM

      You’re either a POC with your cape on or a White person blinded by privilege.

    • MsAfroCAN

      I’m black and with you on this one (outside of the #solidarityisforwhitewomen, #notyourasiansidekick and#fasttailedgirls comment). Jezebel has mostly been a pro-Beyonce site for a long time. Long enough to annoy me.

  • natalie

    so when are we going to move beyond the white v. black feminist debate and embrace radical multi-ethnic feminism? or perhaps, work on smoothing out this “online” feminism? because what i see all over the place are these comment sections that are bubbling with beautiful feminist discourse, but really, aren’t we just hiding behind anonymity? i think the online feminist discourse scared many people away from feminism. it’s time for a multi-ethnic feminism that isn’t focused on cultural divides and instead raises consciousness to the many intricacies and intersections. jezebel sucks anyway. maybe Anonymous should hack it and just post bell hooks and Patricia Hill Collins and Cherrie Moraga all day – i.e. educate.

    • Liz

      To be honest I wish that was the case but I think we’ve reached a point in society where feminism is not the same for all women especially for woc and white women. We live in a highly racialized society and one of the consequences of embracing multi-ethnic feminism could be to marginalize woc all over again. In a racialized space woc are constantly aware of their race while white women enjoy the privilege of not thinking about it. How then can we have real conversations about feminism when most white feminists don’t understand the everyday incorporation of race into the lives of woc? Feminism began as a discourse for white feminists and now is the time that black women are redefining a pre-defined white feminism. The origin of feminism I believe has debunked the possibility of a multi-ethnic feminist movement (at least for the next decade).

    • JR

      Natalie, you seem genuine and well-intentioned, but I don’t think you realize how condescending your post is. Um duh, yeah, we all wish for that, but unfortunately mainstream white feminism continuously degrades and excludes WoC- and I’m not just talking about Jezebel. If you want “radical multi-ethnic feminism,” start by really listening to WoC (and I’m not just talking about the womanist readings you did for the “intersectionality” week of your gender studies 402 seminar) and understanding why these debates are so necessary.

      Also, it’s up to people to educate themselves, and ultimately any “feminism” that’s palatable enough to suit the patriarchy is just more likely to reinforce it.

  • ANON

    Personally I miss Eryka Badu and Lauren Hill. Beyonce with her blond hair and bling and materialism is annoying. I’m not saying she is or is not feminisist. Just that Eryka and Lauren were more organic in a way….. And this weird schism in feminism seems rigged? If intersectionality is so important maybe it behooves everyone to calm down a little….

  • Chris Sorey

    Anyone who writes their own songs and music is an artist.

    Those who sing songs that others have written for them and play music that others have written for them are called entertainers… It seems pretty simple if you ask me…

    • Danilax

      No, that’s just a songwriter. A writer of songs is a songwriter. A kind of artist. Not the only kind.

  • No

    lol feminism

  • Ru St. Vincent

    I dont fux with jezebel anymore myself since the gawker password debacle of 2010 ive been off that whole lot. i might catch up on lifehacker but i dont comment. id rather be where there are a sea of mes than to entertain bs and fight to educate the lost ones on jezebel.

  • Isayaah Parker

    I don’t think Beyonce is smart enough, deep enough to even know what a true feminist is. She commands other women to bow down to her then has an African writer discuss the societal segmentation of women. Seems silly. Check out my video on it http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKhezvxVUI4

    • MsAfroCAN

      “She commands other women to bow down to her”…not quite convinced that’s who she’s addressing. It sounds like a general message to her critics, not women per se. I’d hate to be wrong.
      In other news, your video made me laugh, thanks for sharing.

    • Isayaah Parker

      Either way, being catty and calling ANY women bitches goes against a theme of “feminism” I don’t care if it were only 2 women she were referring to, the point is, the HOOK of the song is BOW DOWN BITCHES and she isn’t very specific. She’s got little girls singing this too. Creating a hostile environment between women is not a feminist action when young girls and women are using the song as a GIRL FIGHT anthem.

    • MsAfroCAN

      100% agreed.

    • Isayaah Parker

      Awesome and thanks for watching my video! Check out my blog about this as well. http://moodsofisayaah.blogspot.com/2013/12/is-beyonce-feminist.html

    • Andrew Joseph Tanner

      You can not take one song and hang her entire career under not feminist. 2nd you don’t know Beyonce personally, so how in the world do you know if she is intelligent, or deep enough to know what a “true” feminist is? 3rd their is no such thing as a true feminist, that is fallacious thinking (you can’t frame the argument in your favor then criticize your opponent for not fitting), 4th Bow Down is a song directly for her critics, 5th people like you create a hostile environment when people who may have a different viewpoint are dismissed superfluously because of arbitrary rules and definitions that only seem to serve your own needs. 6th someone right now is using the Barney song to promote pedophilia, i.e. people appropriating material outside of it’s intended purpose is not to be laid at the feet of the creator.

      Please reconsider your viewpoints if they are based on such subjective points, as opposed to objective reasoning.

  • democracy8888
  • M

    Is this a joke? Somebody tell me this is a joke. Marriage for black women, marriage for white women… I’m pretty sure we all have the same heart, brain and bodies. This is some of the most racist shit I’ve ever read. Imagine if this article said “You do not seem to be taking in account how different marriage is in the WHITE community… (This may as well be saying: Yeah take that you dumb white women who obviously don’t know what marriage is about) Since you seem to be confused, WHITE women marry at a much lower rate than BLACK women” People would have gone crazy. I can’t believe no one realizes how racist and utterly ridiculous this is. Marriage is (or should be) entered into with the intention of being together forever (regardless of your skin colour – surprise!) and marriage is also JUST as serious for white women as it is black women (Again – Surprise!). I am in shock at some of the things said in this article and these comments. So, so racist and just utterly ridiculous.

    • Minouxx

      Not really though. Just because you can’t relate and you don’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t fact.

  • 50 Cent None the Richer

    You mean to tell me…that Feminists over react and demand everyone act according to their whims? And demonize anyone who doesn’t play “by the book” or is an identified enemy?
    Maybe Rush Limbaugh was right in his characterization.

  • jahaja

    Interesting article and good points being made. This said, I have a really hard time seeing Beyoncé as some kind of champion of black feminism, given how hard she’s always tried to look white. Blond locks, straightened hair, pale make-up foundation… I mean, come on.

  • Andie

    I don’t want to live in a world where Jason Mraz is an artist and Beyoncé isn’t.

  • faux

    A real problem here is that people never take the time to be
    specific enough with the language they use to actually convey their intended purpose.
    For instance when people argue the messages Beyoncé or any other musician puts
    out are bad or unhelpful for ‘women’ as if women are one cross-cultural or
    universal group irrespective of race, class, sexuality etc. Moreover when
    people say Beyoncé is positive for black women as if to be black is in itself a
    totality; when what they actually mean in this instance is black, working class
    and heterosexual women, American women (Re: ‘baby mammas’ which stems from a
    more African American experience than a global one). We must all be very careful
    not to appropriate anyone else’s voice and more importantly not generalise our speech
    to point it has very little bearing on anything at all really.

  • Gérald Anthony Ellis

    My friend Susié Hatmaker just unleashed this very beautiful and powerful piece on BEYONCE; it is a really important piece of Beyonce theory I recommend to anyone interested in raising the caliber on this conversation we’re trying to have about feminism right now. She delves into Bey’s role as a performance artist in white supremacist capitalist consumer culture and cuts right to the heart of BEYONCE’s emphasis on valuing revolution, community and solidarity in a world that doesn’t often grant agency to people of color, womanhood and all its beautiful manifestations, and self-love and sex-positivity. Crucial and beautiful! Please share and repost!:

    http://theloveship.blogspot.com/2013/12/what-i-am-here-for.html

    • MsAfroCAN

      Beyonce theory? LOL

  • SERIOUSLY!!

    FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS!!!!!!!!!

    • Youngatheart

      Goodness YES! As a (Non American) Black person in a developing country, who personally cannot abide Beyonce’s music, I find this argument strange…

  • guest

    this article seems a bit biased…

  • I’m19

    I do consider Beyonce an entertainer BECAUSE she not only sings, but dances and puts on a performance. Its not just black people who are called “entertainers” but white people too. Lady Gaga, for example. Beyonce may not be as extravagant as Gaga, but they both perform– they cater to a crowd. Other musicians (“white guitar people”) only get on stage, play their instrument, sing their song, and exit. There is not extraness. there is no dancing around, flips, background dancers, etc. to them, its not about the people and colors on stage, its about the song.
    Beyonce, Katy Perry, Gaga, Swift, Cyrus, don’t make it about the song (sometimes). Its the experience and performance, that makes them entertainers.
    Its not racism at all (for the record, i’m black).
    Secondly, this article only talks about the “bowl” and not the “soup”. It says how great Beyonce is, who she has featured on her album (the block quote said a Nigerian Feminist) and that its “STILL not good enough”. Thats all fine and dandy. Anyone can be featured in a song, but what does the song MEAN? what do the words SAY? to make an argument, you have to have those facts (even if the people have heard the song before…we all LISTEN to songs but don’t really listen to the words, you know?).
    As for “Black Fem” vs “White Fem”….. does everything have to be about race? Feminism is feminism. They both are fighting for equality in a “mans world”. Feminists want to EMPOWER women, to teach them that they don’t need to depend on a man, that they are STRONG and have minds of their owns. Same message. There is no black or white.
    The block quote talking about the lyrics to the song about “putting a ring on it”, while I agree with that, i don’t agree with the reasoning. Black men aren’t the only men who make babies and keep it going. I know plenty of white men who only wants to have kids but not marry. And guys who want to be with a girl… just without the commitment. its not a race thing. We associate black people with this only because thats whats in the media, thats whats portrayed in pop culture and tv.

  • néstor

    Ok look, it is absolutely untrue that it’s always white people who get to be “artists” while black people are only “entertainers”. If anyone finds that statement to be true I’d say they’re onlye seeing what they want to see. While I tend to agree that Joan Baez who was white is actually and artist while Beyonce is an entertainer, I’d also say that Jimi Hendrix was an artist and I bet you won’t find anyone who says the contrary. Gary Clark Jr (african-american) is an artist of course, while Britney Spears is merely an entertainer following the same logic. It only takes a little time to think about what really makes Beyonce and Joan Baez different to realise it has nothing to do with skin colour. It just so happens that in the present time there’s probably more black people who fit into the category of entertainers, but anyone can see that in the early-mid 20th century when the likes of Miles Davies and Charlie Parker it was most likely the other way around so race has nothing to do with that.

  • ice805

    I don’t care about the feminists,but I do have a problem with her wearing fur..She already knows the fact that animals skinned alive and electrocuted for fur,why the hell she still wearing them??So evil and selfish..

    • MsAfroCAN

      “the furs”
      Any chance you’re on a PETA payroll?

  • Edward Darden

    Damn, son! Dees switches be deep!!

  • Trisha Jones

    Hear Hear! couldn’t agree more. Jezebel’s criticism of Beyonce just makes me scoff…extremely EXTREMELY LOUDLY!

  • crabby

    Hate is hate. If you let it rule you, you will be ruled by hate. I care about womens’ rights, I care about human rights, I care more about animal rights. Who in this fucking world has a voice? EVERYONE. Bitching doesn’t solve a damn thing. Blogging solves about 2% of the worlds ‘things’, what really matters is what YOU FUCKING DO.

  • Happy

    I’m so glad I’m not a feminist, you guys are screwed up in the head.

    • MsAfroCAN

      Yep, you should be so glad that you are NOT “a person who believes in the social, economic and political equality of the sexes”. Stay right there in your 1600 mindset. Good for you and your daughters.

  • Coyolxauhqui

    what the hell is ‘white feminism’? I’ve never heard of it before. :( I am so naive to the ways of this world.

  • Meghan

    Honestly, forgetting all the hype of the album and her past albums, my thing about Beyonce is she lacks real depth. She is like a perfect little doll, all prepped up for us, 100% shelf ready for Ken doll and the world to buy. For me I cannot give her the creative genius “icon” title because most of her moves are so calculated by her & her team; even her “ratchett” is unnatural. Rihanna does that so well, it’s who she is, she has been through hell, then turned into a bad girl. You can tell she lives “not giving a F*ck!” Bey lacks what a Mary J Blige or even a Rihanna has that is so important, and that is being able to relate to her through her lyrics that are true to who she is and her life story. Mary J. can SANG and make us cry because we relate to her story, her relationship problems are real, its her life. We can go back and listen to My Life, Share My World and these are your black girl go too’s for many. What I call classic albums, they provide deep feelings, tell real life stories, they’re imperfect! This is even true for rap albums from those like Kendrick Lamar. It isn’t hard to tell why he is almost ICON level fresh out.

    Unlike what Bey said in her documentary, music actually does require the giving and opening of an artist to create iconic songs. Sure we don’t need to see your personal life lived out through blogs, but YES we do need to relate to you & whatever your struggle may be. I can’t think of one iconic Bey song, except put a ring on it. But guess what, she had a ring and can’t even relate to that song. She got all these girls out here following songs that she doesn’t even follow, and in actuality, messing some women up on this independent tip. For me, all of her songs lack honesty & natural depth. The best artists belch out their lives for the world to heal. But what does Beyonce stand for? Beyonce claims to be all about the independent woman, feminist ECT… yet she has never been alone to figure out who she is. She has been dating Jay Z since she was 18 (said to have met at 17 secretly). She hasn’t been truly single since she was 12 (1st bf 12-17), and Jay Z has steered her career since 21. She rarely ever shares an opinion. Beyonce girl what do you think about ANYTHING? Let alone share a real song that she sings her darn heart out. I just want to yell at her LET IT OUT BEY, let go, cry, fall out, break down bish…SOMETHING!!

    Where is the sweat your weave out, cry let loose iconic songs that Whitney, and Mary gave us? We knew Whitney would call on the holy spirit and may break out in it if she sang long enough! Songs where you didn’t even have to question that this is their life they just shared with you on this track and we have now bonded like girlfriends do! Instead of those perfect ballads she sings where she doesn’t break a sweat. She says “To the Left, to the left” and runs backstage to fall into Jay Z’s arms. Where is your struggle Bey? You just lied to the public lol. I can’t even take them songs serious. You are not really about that life. & Since she lacks true identity, I feel she borrows it from others…this time Jay has molded her into a older & married version of Rihanna. But girl who are you, really! It’s hard to relate to perfection. Sure it looks damn good, but I won’t listen to that when I am in need of strength, or everything else we women turn to soulful music for. So is this her supposedly opening up now? Because sex is easy to talk about. I don’t need to hear how he Monica L’d all over your blouse. How about who are you, really? We don’t even know who Beyonce is! The fact that we have to question if this is really who she is or not is a problem. I mean is this her Miley Cyrus album? Yes, I’m partying to the album. Yes it was a smart move, but no the lyrics are not memorable…once again. She has a connection problem to the audience. Yes she is applauded because of her performance and work ethic. I have never seen someone work as hard as she does. But it is definitely not because her music changes/saves lives and transcends language, gender, color like a Michael Jackson who she claims she is next up to replace. ‪#‎NoShade‬ but MJ still holds this title and for all of these reasons, I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

  • Lauren Reilly

    Huh? Beyonce has a new album. Let’s not over think this, poeple.

  • Jessica Bowman

    White feminists…really. Clearly the messages was lost. I am white, and about as pro-feminism as it gets, and I was NOT put off by her message. I don’t understand how anyone can be confused by this artists message.

  • MsAfroCAN

    Interesting. As a regular Jezebel reader, I’ve seen more love there for her than not. I think the issues they point out were stemmed out of confusion of her not properly defining her brand of feminist, but with this new album she has spelled it out for us, so at this point anyone who is still confused has chosen to hate. Simples.

  • WhiteGirl

    If you listen to Beyonce you will realize all of the positive things she tells us. If we are in a terrible relationship, she helps you move on and learn to walk in “New Shoes”. She relates when a man is constantly wanting more, as in “the first time I said no, its like I never said yes”. Songs like “I Cant Take No More” sympathize with frustrations of being with a black man OR white man who does not appreciate you. She encourages us to stand up for ourselves, make others “Listen” to your voice, “Ring the Alarm”. Be confident that all you need is “Me, Myself, and I”. If a man treats you badly, he deserves to become the “Next Ex”. I feel connected to her as a normal human being, when she shares, “I’m just jealous… I’m just human… don’t judge me.” We all feel and desire love, but she teaches us we must not sink below what we do not deserve, which can be interpreted for any aspect of life. Listening to these songs helped me to become a stronger girl and woman throughout my teenage years and 20s!! She gave me the strength to make better choices for MYSELF, and not let a man lead my life. And when you are feeling good, there is nothing wrong with embracing your sexuality and exuding confidence in your own skin! (who doesn’t feel sexy or powerful dancing to “Check On It? We know we look good!) It is 2013 everyone, why is it that we are still made to believe we must suppress our sexuality? If you cannot recall these songs, or have never listened thoroughly, you have no right to judge or to not “let” her be a feminist. LOVE YOU B till the END OF TIME.

  • Brad Turner

    I am a thin, athletic, wealthy, privileged white male. I laugh at all of you. All of you wish to be me, but you cant. So instead you compete amongst each other to see who is more disadvantaged. Instead of thinking like a man and trying to fix your problems, you just talk and talk. You talk a lot about privilege and how it is bad. Why don’t you go earn some privilege like I did.

  • I’m Just Saying

    I think the discussion of feminist ideation in Beyonce’s “earth-shattering” new album has been talked to death. I have my opinions on this album and largely think it’s Beyonce’s way of flipping the bird to all those female artists out there who thought she’d be tired and old after having a baby. She’s back and telling all those girls who think they’re real cute, that they’ll always live in her shadow. She’s making it abundantly clear (in her lyrics and also in the way she released her album) that it’s by her grace alone that they are even allowed to dance back-up behind that pillar on Her world stage.

    Anyway, I’d like to tackle the comment that Beyonce is an artist. I think it’s cowardly and demonstrates monolithic thinking to claim that we only allow white guitar-playing musicians to wear the coveted “artist” sash. The real conversation is about what kind of artist we think she is. I believe Beyonce is a performance artist. She enjoys shocking people with her amazing stamina, and ability to kill the stage while singing, dancing with 89489783279047829 fans whipping her hair, and having fireworks shoot out of her boobs and ass. Admittedly this is quite remarkable, but I think this talent and showmanship ought to be compared to the likes of Lady Gaga, Katy Perry or Nicki Minaj.

    I pay to see her concerts in huge arenas because I’m entertained. On the other hand, musical artists (many of which ARE black) are those people who focus more on the content of their music, than the presentation. I think this is why the image of white guitar players comes to mind. Musical artists are song writers, they are the people who spend time pouring emotion, soul and talent into their songs. India Aire, Jill Scott, Anthony Hamilton, Common, Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill… these are the black musical artists we ought to be celebrating. Beyonce does not write her own music, she performs music that is written for her. The performance is where Beyonce’s creative energies are made manifest. Let’s not compare apples and oranges by pretending Jason Mraz and Beyonce inhabit the same creative space.

  • amandlab

    Crazy thing is, ever since the “Is Beyonce a feminist?” brouhaha, my twitter timeline has been flooded with misinformed “men” preaching their disdain for ‘feminism.’ I have been combating with the opposite sex for 2 days straight, for hours on end, defending the very idea of feminism. Even though your article (very well written might I add) gave a spotlight criticism on the ‘white vs. black’ feminist dichotomies, you said something very true which I wish I thought to use in my ‘male vs. female’ twitter beef in defense of feminism,

    “is this woman a feminist?”–aka, does this person stand up to my subjective, personal and prescriptive type of feminism?

    This one line here pretty much sums up the problem with feminism. The prescriptive feminism that settles the uneasy anti-feminist bellies. A lot of people (not even just men) see feminism as a characteristic, a negative one at that. one that explains why women hate men, or are lesbians, or “don’t need a man.” It is frustrating to have to explain to every ignoramus that a feminist is a warrior for equality and women’s rights! Not some she-woman man hater. Black and white feminists can feel me on that, I am sure.

    I wish I had you with me on twitter against these guys and their shiny ignorance armor. UGH. But thank you for this. This was a great read.

  • HoyaMama

    “This seems like a futile criticism, given that the basic tenet of feminism is equal choice for all.”

    Nuh-uh. The basic tenet of feminism is that women and men are of equal worth, and that women ought to be treated that way by law and culture, which isn’t currently the case in most or all of the world.

  • Ricardo Aguilera

    Your just figuring out feminism is exclusionary and a self interesting movement?

    What tipped you off…was it maybe the torrent of 2nd wavers talking about male gendercide and female superiority or was it the rampant transphobia?

  • jacquicausey

    I am a white feminist who thought I was hearing WOC until a few years ago. As a member of the lgbt community, there are painful places in my own history where I can empathize with PoC, but I cant ever claim to “get it.” I come at this conversation from a place of humility when I say this: How do we have this conversation better? I cannot solve problems of race any more than straight people can a heteronormative world can solve my own problems. BUT! In the same way that only men can stop rape, don’t I need straight people to be a part of the confab? And aren’t white people critical to conversations about racism? It’s not like you owe it to us, any more than I feel obligated to explain why you can’t call things gay… except that sometimes I do feel obligated, because I dont know how to change these ideas without engaging with the people who have them. I don’t know. You tell me. How can I help?

  • Marni

    What I really don’t understand about Beyonce is why is she seen as such a role model to women? It is clear that she is not really that happy in herself due to the fact that she is going the way of Michael Jackson and trying to ‘whiten’ herself up at any opportunity be it in videos, at the Grammys or ‘real’ life. Even having a conversation about Beyonce being a feminist or an icon is a joke, as she is not promoting a good body/mind message for anyone – she is obviously not content in who she is and if she was she certainly wouldn’t be trying to be white!

  • Timothys Rambo

    At the moment, Needed strengthen fragile hair! These hair products, as well as a host of more natural personal care products, are usually a healthy choice for pregnant women. It also protects your hair from the fading effects of the sun, and gives your color a boost of shine.

  • lenna mp

    I don’t think any of those women are feminists. Just money hoarding, garbage celebrities. Who gives a fuck about that fur wearing, filthy rich celebrity. Obviously too many fucking people, and not enough about the women who do need our attention. Worry about something that matters dip shits

  • Nosebleed

    Beyonce is not a Feminist icon. Like the article says, she hypocritical polemicist. Yes, Feminism’s about equality, but it’s not only that. Just because it’s “my choice” to be identified as someone’s wife doesn’t mean it’s a feminist choice. She’s just a bad, confusing example of an ‘independent woman’ for girls. Her words and her actions so directly and obviously contradict each other it’s ridiculous that anyone who’s a fan could be ignorant of that.

  • LittleBabyBug Jones

    what i don’t understand is why in hell we should care who’s a feminist and who’s not? is this even a legit question? “is beyonce a feminist?” therefore, why would white feminists be upset over beyonce *not* being one? i’m confused!

  • http://www.biggerfatterpolitics.blogspot.com BiggerFatterPolitics

    Feminists are always angry about something. Usually it is slender attractive women.

    Thin Shaming vs Fat Shaming And the Fat Feminist Agenda of Hate Click Here to see what is worse

    Fat Feminists cry foul when people point out the truth of obesity. Fatties call it fat shaming. Feminists are basically jealous fat girls.

    God created lesbians to stop feminists from breeding!

    The other word for feminist is: Misandrist…

    • https://www.facebook.com/jordi.vanderwaal Vanderwaal

      If you actually think feminism and misandrism are the same thing, you clearly have no clue what feminism means.

  • SSin

    Bey is a burlesque star and her shows should be adult only. Young minds do not understand the nuance of sexual politics let alone sexuality and should not be subject to her rampant humping and f me song lyrics.

  • https://www.facebook.com/jordi.vanderwaal Vanderwaal

    Beyoncé is not a feminist, but neither are GaGa or Miley, racism is just another excuse you’re using to try to make “queen B” look good when she’s just being hypocritical (like the others).