Are We Feminists Now?

beyonce feminist vmas

I wouldn’t consider myself a feminist by any means. I certainly don’t appreciate being passed over for being a girl or being stereotyped as the one who takes on certain roles in the household purely because I’m The Woman. And of course I believe in equality of all humans, but I know I’m setting the women’s movement back every time I claim I’m “too weak” to do a job that consists of manual labor simply because I don’t want to do it.

Or I’ll ask my husband to please please PLEASE fix the cracked dry wall because I’m just a girl and that’s Man’s Work.

I walk both lines.

But it feels weird to watch women wear next to nothing and dance seductively to seductive music and then claim feminism.

It took me awhile to process how sexualizing yourself in that way might be a Pro-girl kind of thing to do. Women often talk about the double standards where men are allowed to sleep around, objectify all the things, sexualize all the things and get applauded for it, while women are put down for exhibiting any of that same behavior.

When Beyonce gets on stage, puts on a ten minute booty shaking performance and then takes a stand for feminism at the end, are we supposed to be all “Get it girl! We can be sexual and be proud and raunchy too!”?

Problem is, I never much liked the men that did that in the first place.

kanye west

Is it feminist to sexualize yourself in that way because you’re in control and calling the shots? Or is it anti-feminist because you’re objectifying yourself in the exact way we’ve been asking men to STOP doing for the past hundred plus years?

Or maybe it really has nothing to do with sexuality at all. If being a feminist means you believe you can be whoever you want to be and support equality of women in a world dominated by men…maybe it’s possible to promote that message AND dance seductively on stage.

Are we feminists now? I honestly don’t know.

Maybe Beyonce doesn’t know either.

princess bride

To make matters even more hypocritical, after watching the confusing performance and while spending some time thinking about what feminism actually IS…I purchased three of the overtly sexual songs she sang during her raunchy performance. Because…CATCHY!

I guess this is where I continue straddling both sides. Maybe Beyonce straddles both sides too.

beyonce vma blow

It really is a catchy song.

Comments

  1. says

    haha brilliant post, this is exactly how I feel about this matter, whole heartedly I am think what is this we are doing now? Hey and you’re right, maybe she doesn’t know either lol

  2. says

    Brilliant post and it was my thoughts exactly! I have a lot of friends and follow a lot of women who claim to be feminists and from what I have learned, the queen B does not portray anything feminism has to stand for. So I think you are dead on and she needs to do a little research on the word feminist.

    • says

      It’s interesting the response her performance evoked. There are a lot of people questioning the combination of the song lyrics + the word feminist at the end, but while writing the post I found the most basic definition of feminism is believing women should have equal rights. I guess I don’t listen to her music closely enough to determine whether or not she seems to support that idea. Regardless, it was a really confusing message.

  3. says

    I’m not a traditional feminist by any means (I happen to like my smooth legs and armpits) but where feminism gets me is that it was supposed to be a movement where women weren’t tied down to one occupation – staying home and raising children and getting their husband a beer when he got home, but now it’s that I feel looked down upon by traditional feminists because I CHOOSE to stay home and raise my children and…well, my husband doesn’t drink beer but if he did, I’d bring him one!
    I totally agree with you that “feminists” aren’t doing women any favors by booty shaking and such. Here, let’s get paid to dance sexually…there’s two names for that: a stripper and Beyonce.

    • says

      That’s really interesting. I feel like the definition of the word “feminist” must be changing because you’re right, the traditional feminists were all about advocating an independent work outside the home lifestyle, but I feel like more and more we’re seeing those same women choosing to stay home. I want to stay home AND support a woman’s right to equality in the work force. I think that’s acceptable…and maybe Beyonce is thinking the same thing. I want to shake my ass off on the dance floor AND support equality among women. To each their own!

  4. says

    I’m not a traditional feminist by any means (I happen to like my smooth legs and armpits) but where feminism gets me is that it was supposed to be a movement where women weren’t tied down to one occupation – staying home and raising children and getting their husband a beer when he got home, but now it’s that I feel looked down upon by traditional feminists because I CHOOSE to stay home and raise my children and…well, my husband doesn’t drink beer but if he did, I’d bring him one!
    I totally agree with you that “feminists” aren’t doing women any favors by booty shaking and such. Here, let’s get paid to dance sexually…there’s two names for that: a stripper and Beyonce.2

  5. says

    THIS: “Or maybe it really has nothing to do with sexuality at all. If being a feminist means you believe you can be whoever you want to be and support equality of women in a world dominated by men…maybe it’s possible to promote that message AND dance seductively on stage.”

    I am a feminist. You will never catch me dancing sexy but if that’s what makes you (or Beyoncé) feel empowered, you do you.

    So, IMO, if you support women being able to express themselves as best as they see fit, getting paid the same for the same jobs, getting respect if they choose to stay home instead of pursuing a career, getting respect if they choose to pursue a career & be a parent at the same time, choose to never have kids or a spouse or what have you, you are a feminist.

    • Kristina says

      THIS.RIGHT.HERE. Women should have the ability to do what they want, so long as they aren’t hurting others. I’m not a provocative dancer either. Clubs and bars aren’t my scene. However, women should not be looked down upon or called anti-feminist if they choose to express their sexuality in a more overt way. The trouble with feminism is that not every woman is going to feel empowered by the same thing. Many women use their sexuality as a form of empowerment and strength. Many don’t. Some use words or painting or use their money to put their views out there. Different strokes for different folks. I am a woman. That doesn’t mean I speak for all women. Women vary, therefore feminism varies.

  6. says

    There are several “waves” of feminism that have occurred in US history and definitely worth reading about to understand how the feminist movement has changed over time.

    • says

      That’s really interesting and yes, I’m starting to understand that with this post and the feedback. Feminism has sort of changed for people and I think the true definition sometimes gets lost due to stereotypes and quick judgements.

  7. says

    Blow is my favorite song on her album along with a couple other, but I don’t see Beyonce as the poster child for feminism by any means. It was only a couple years ago her husband decided to stop calling women bitches and hoes…you know, after having a daughter of his own. And, it seems Beyonce felt it necessary to tell EVERYONE with her album what she and her husband do in their bedroom. Okay…if that makes her feel like a feminist, okay. Yes. 100% contradictory confusion.

    • says

      I’m sort of astounded at how open she is in her music about their sex life, but maybe that’s me being a giant prude. Hell, if we looked and danced like that, maybe you’d be seeing us on the VMAs too!

  8. says

    This is a great post and I like the comments. Particularly Dana and Randi make a good point that feminism is about women choosing to live their lives as they want (unless they harm others of course). I used to consider myself a feminist. Now I live in a pretty traditional (for the Netherlands, which is more progressive than the U.S.) marriage. I am mostly the passive one in our relationship, for example. It is not like I made a conscious choice to be a passive wife, but it wasn’t forced upon me by my husband either. It just happened. I can’t work and I hate the type of feminism that condemns women for staying home, because, well, it’s ableist if not discriminatory in other ways. I like this slogan about feminism that says “feminism is the radical idea that women are people”. Feminism shouldn’t dictate how I live my life just like patriarchy shouldn’t. As for the sexualization of women, I don’t mind Beyonce dancing seductively, but I wouldn’t do it myself at all.

  9. says

    Twerking is hard work. I guess that is what makes her think she’s a feminist. I just think it makes her look like a slut, objectifying herself which is the opposite of being a real woman, feminist or not. Also, great example for teens who already objectify rock stars and watch a performance like that. Oh, and men, yeah I would consider that little romp, porn. I guess I’ve made myself clear. Isn’t that what all feminists are trying to do?

  10. says

    The word “feminism” is such a subjective word that means something different to each person. To me, it is about making sure that every woman has the freedom to choose her own path in life without anyone saying “no, you can’t” and being seen as an equal. It can mean career/no career, marriage/staying single, kids/no kids, proudly showing your sexuality/keeping it private and every combination of the above. Queen B’s overt sexuality isn’t for me but I admire her guts and confidence.