Beyonce makes feminism mainstream

Daley Crowley watches Beyonce's VMA performance.
Jorah McKinley/Castleton Spartan

Fabulous. Hot. Talented. Diva. Queen.
     These are some of the words tossed around to describe Beyoncé. Guys want her. Girls want to be her. You hear the name; you think explosions of glitter, bedazzled leotards, and hair blowing in the wind.
     But do you think feminist?
     That is exactly how Beyoncé describes herself. She has been alluding to it in interviews and in songs for years. Critics have questioned her on it, but there is no longer any question.
     On Aug. 24 Queen B performed at the MTV Video Music awards where her declaration of her feminism could not be ignored.  The word itself was plastered on the screens behind her in huge-glowing-capital letters.  
     In the 24 hours after her performance, two-thirds of every tweet about feminism was also about her.
     Beyoncé just made feminism mainstream.
     The word is often associated with extreme behavior, man hating, and bra burning, not with glammed out diva’s shaking their booties in front of an audience of millions. Her idea of feminism is something people haven’t seen before.
   “Beyoncé’s brand of empowerment isn’t perfect, but her VMA performance on Sunday accomplished what activists could not: She took feminism to the masses,” wrote Jessica Bennett, a columnist for Time magazine, two days after Beyoncé’s performance.
     Castleton junior Bryanna DuPont is another example of what you might call a ‘modern day’ feminist.
    “I guess I would classify myself as a feminist,” she said. “I support gender equality, but you probably wouldn’t find me at any sort of rally.” This idea of being a feminist without adhering to the extreme stereotypes associated with the word is exactly the idea leaders of the movement are trying to promote.
    It’s these women who Beyoncé’s message reaches most.
    But can a sexualized image of a woman and an image of a feminist go hand in hand?
    “I definitely think women can be sexy and feminist at the same time!” DuPont said. “Telling them they can’t be sexy is exactly the kind of idea and stereotype that feminists are trying to knock down.”
     In Bennett’s column, she quoted Jennifer Prozner, a writer and media critic.
   “Through her performance, millions of mainstream music fans are being challenged to think about feminism as something powerful, important, and yes, attractive,” Pronzer said.
    Beyoncé even featured Nigerian feminist author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in her hit song, “Flawless.”
   Adichie gives a monologue in the song that clearly defines the concept.
   “Feminist,” Adichie said. “The person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes.”


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