On Why Beyoncé’s Brand of Feminism Is Valid (And Yours Probably Is Too)


Unless you’ve been completely unplugged from all media the last few months, you should know that Beyoncé surprisingly dropped her self-titled “visual album”, and that it’s unsurprisingly topping the music charts. Her unexpected record was an elaborate production, and according to some, a misrepresentation of feminist thinking. While these concerns are important to address, I find that those who are criticizing Beyoncé are failing to acknowledge that she is not perfect, sexuality is a large part of feminism, and this album (and her work in general) provides representation for women who are often pitted against each other in the world of mainstream media.

Some say that by dressing up in “spandex underwear” and dancing suggestively, Beyoncé is pandering to the male gaze, which, according to most, is not what feminism is about. In my opinion, this criticism is rooted in the policing of women’s bodies, as often times they are sexualized without our consent. To Beyoncé, feminism means ditching this stereotypical regulation, wearing what makes her feel sexy, and dancing in a manner she feels comfortable with. If Beyoncé feels confident enough to strut around in heels and crop tops that attract male attention, that’s okay. Feminism is about giving women the right to choose, and the criticizing of women and their bodies (and how they’re dressed, dancing, etc.) is completely against it.

At its core, the term “feminism” can be defined as a “person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes”. Beyoncé knows this. In fact, this definition is taken directly from Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, whose words are included in Beyoncé’s song, “***Flawless”. Regardless of whether or not you agree with Beyoncé’s particular brand of feminism, she is a feminist.

Lastly, Beyoncé is not perfect. Her fame puts her on a pedestal, but she is still human. Instead of nitpicking at the perceived flaws in her feminist theory, we should be discussing them in a constructive way that is uplifting, not discouraging.