I usually don’t post rants or preachy statuses on Facebook but ever since Beyonce dropped her self-titled fifth studio album there has been non-stop talk about whether she’s a feminist or not. It’s a debate that gets reignited every time she sneezes glitter, and I’m sick of it. What frustrates me most about this is that she considers herself to be a feminist and so do the people who enjoy her (but most important is how she feels about herself, of course) yet you have those who like to impose their own rigid views on the rest of the world and get over critical and over analytical about what actually constitutes a feminist–the Feminism Police, if you will.
Apparently, some people believe that you can’t be a feminist if you don’t go the perceived erudite route and I just don’t think that’s true. The other thing that annoys me is catty comments I’ve seen toward Beyonce and the people who like her (because you don’t like Beyonce and I do, that somehow makes me simple or stupid). I know that people tend to get stuck in this head space that if something isn’t done the way they’d do it or view it then it’s wrong. Fine, if that’s how you feel then changing your mind probably won’t happen, so be comfy in your myopic space. However, insults toward other women, especially from women who are allegedly about female empowerment is wack. I’ve seen it more than I’d like to and hit my boiling point so here was my Facebook rant about it that sums up my feelings:
I’m so over you, the internet and this is Beyonce is or is Beyonce aint a feminist debate. Speaking of feminism, why are some of you self-proclaimed feminists so catty and sexually repressed (that goes for men too)? I thought part of feminism was about women being able to make choices and women uplifting one another. I thought women were diverse and complex beings to be celebrated. Why can’t the feminist intellectuals, over-analyticals and the feminists who want to twerk a little something exist in the same space without one turning her nose down on the other? Why can’t one woman embody all of the above…or none? Why is it that some of you are so quick to point out flaws in how another woman lives her life as it relates to patriarchy yet turn around and easily quote and/or drop it like it’s hot to some of the most misogynistic music on the planet (Grits and Biscuits, for example) with no conscientious? I’m a student of Bell Hooks…and Queen Latifah and I like Beyonce too, and I don’t take myself too seriously so if I want to do the “uh oh” dance at a party followed by a split and then turn around and quote “Ain’t I a Woman,” then I can and I will and I don’t care what any of you holier than thou types think about said facts because guess what? We’re all flawed human beings and NONE of us have the answers, word to Sway. Goodnight.
The first time I seriously considered labeling myself a feminist was in college after reading a copy of Joan Morgan’s When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost, gifted to me by my mother. By then I was familiar with Angela Davis and Bell Hooks and while their lessons resonated, they still didn’t speak to me. They felt more like distant aunts.
But Joan Morgan’s message felt like it was coming from a sister or a girlfriend. I loved that in her exploration of race and sex at the intersection of hip-hop, she used language that I used and that hit close to home. She came across as smart but flawed, supportive and hopeful for the advancement of Black women in solidifying our places as diverse complex human beings in this world. I had always felt the same way but didn’t know I could call it feminism or simpler, female empowerment.
I believe in balance and I believe in agreeing to disagree. Hurling insults at someone because they force you to confront something you don’t like is trite and frustrating and part of why conversations like this are always circular.
So that’s my rant. I will never write about this topic with regard to Beyonce again. I like her latest album and if she believes she is a feminist then great. Meanwhile, I’m thinking about what tracks of hers I’ll be choreographing new routines to (hello “Rocket,” “XO” and “Partition”).