First off, the writer of the above linked article is using all of the words, TOO MANY WORDS.
To summarize, she is mad that people are calling Beyonce a feminist because she feels that Yonce actually represents a “simplistic, pro-capitalist, structurally violent sampling of feminism.” The author labels this type of feminism as “Bottom Bitch feminism” which she says is having “an appearance of power within a structure of male dominance, but in reality this power is merely vicarious and not a positional power in and of itself.” She goes on to ramble that “the coontocracy of assimilationist corporate negroes is in full effect, riding for patriarchal capitalist agendas and having us believe that somehow Bey’s success is a step toward some dystopic vision of progress for Black women.” Sooo under all that she is saying Beyonce is making black women look worse, feel worse than we already do.
I say NONSENSE.
All this article is, is a perfect example of the shaming many of us self proclaimed black feminists can engage in. There is the false belief that there is only one definition of black feminism. Like there are ideals that should be projected within all feminists, we should all be relaying not only the same message (which is fair), but the same image as well. As if when you join this club of black feminists, you should be prepared to be very homogeneous, not too sexy or vulgar, or anything that would deem you as anti-movement. Feminists can be sexual, overtly so, they can be coy, they can be whatever they want. To say that Beyonce is a feminist can be deemed a shallow interpretation, but it is someone’s interpretation and thats fine. Let her be a feminist, she’s a boss, a mother, a wife, a sister, a billionaire, and she controls her empire well.
If I wear tight dresses, get tipsy, and drop it low in the club to ratchet music, in many circles, I would be perpetuating un-feminist ideals. I have had black “feminists” tell me that the fact that I put such effort into my looks and trying to keep my weight down makes me compliant with society’s definition of what women should look like. The part of me that wants to be married and have children can also be considered anti-feminist. I had a gender studies professor tell me that marriage is inherently anti-woman and engaging in it leaves women vulnerable and defenseless to patriarchy. NOTHING works, you can never win. At this point let everyone be the type of feminist they want to be, we all will be criticized for it anyway.
Like Adiche says in her TED talk, feminists believe in social, political, and economic equality between sexes. That doesn’t always look the same for everyone. Now, is Beyonce a feminist? I think so. Are we the same type of feminist? Heck naw. I am trying to navigate the white, patriarchal world of international development. Trying to structure my career so that I can represent African women in a world where they are raped, beaten, and spoken for by men. I am still trying to speak up, and be more assertive, and not shrink myself professionally. I am still having a hard time demanding more money and more benefits when I know they are owed to me. I downplay my education and my experience because I don’t want to look like I’m bragging or intimidate anyone. I’m still learning to do a lot of things. I want to learn these things so one day my daughter doesn’t have to question herself like I often do. So she won’t feel threatened, so she will get paid the fair amount and if she doesn’t she will speak her damn piece.
Thats what my feminism looks like, but it doesn’t trump anyone else’s. I’m not more of a feminist than Beyonce because I work in Africa, and she’s not more of a feminist than me because she has more money. We are both trying to make it in a world where people like the author of this article are telling us what to say as to not make bell hooks and Audre Lorde feel shame.
Shrugs, I can’t live that way. I think Beyonce’s version of feminism, my version of feminism, your version of feminism is fine, so be free.