Today’s post is the first in our throwback Thursday reposts. I posted this a while back & thought since Women’s History Month is winding down this post was appropriate.
“I don’t have to prove anything to anyone. I only have to follow my heart and concentrate on what I want to say to the world. I run my world” – Beyoncé
If you’re trying to define feminism, you’re doing it wrong. Feminism is not about alienation, finger-wagging, self-righteousness, or any true definition. It is about rebelling against the notion that women are innately lesser.
I have been so irritated this past year by the so-called feminists who come out and speak against Beyoncé. True, I am a huuuuge fan of Bey, but that’s not where my frustration lies. These feminists have come out slut-shaming her and speaking as if she is a problem in feminism. I beg to differ.
First of all, a woman achieving at Beyoncé’s level should be celebrated in the feminist community. She is breaking down so many barriers on her own terms in her own way, which is the whole point of feminism.
Let me help those who seem to misunderstand what feminism is really about. It’s not about trading one prescribed role for another. It’s not for us to tell women who to be. The point is that every human being should be able to define themselves for themselves. Being a woman is not a handicap. We don’t need to be told what we can and cannot do. That’s not just by a man, that’s by anyone. If you want to get married, have children, and be a homemaker, that does not mean that you are subjugating yourself. The point is it is your choice. We all need to be free to do whatever we decide to achieve our joy.
Now with that being said, how can you honestly believe that Beyoncé is not a feminist? Granted, she’s not without flaws. However, particularly in the last 3 years, Bey has come out self-possessed, doing what she wants to do, and refusing to go according to anyone’s rules. That’s what we are fighting for. The opportunity to achieve at our highest level without being stifled because we’re women.
As far as her sexuality is concerned, that is a part of feminism, not against it. Ownership over our bodies and being able to be sensual beings is another aspect of our right to choice. People will shame folks for being in tune with their sexuality and express it, and that is a problem, not a solution. The objectification of women is a serious issue, however, the answer is not taking away a woman’s sexuality. We are not objects. We are human beings. Degrading us to just fulfill some man’s desires is wrong. However, should a woman choose to own her body and her sexuality that is her decision. No one is making her into anything. Beyoncé is not just a piece of meat. But she is a woman in touch with her sexuality, who celebrates it instead of feeling ashamed of it. That is a very brave and honorable thing to do, particularly with the Madonna-whore complex that is running rampant throughout society.
Being empowered and knowing that you can do whatever you want is the ultimate goal for everybody. Patriarchy says that men can do anything and rule the world, while women are simply here to be taken care of and do the little girly stuff that men can’t be bothered with. A woman like Beyoncé goes out and becomes a leader in her field, and because she’s not doing it the way you approve of, she’s a problem. No you’re the problem. You cannot define me. You cannot tell me what to do, or who to be. You’re not better than the patriarchal fools trying to push me into the bedroom and kitchen. You aren’t fighting for women, you’re fighting against men, which is a completely different thing. You following the course of respectability politics is not revolutionary. You are a part of the problem not the solution. That type of thinking alienates and causes women to reject feminism because they don’t seek to be judged by you.
This is about freedom. Whatever makes any woman happy, that doesn’t hurt anybody else, is what I’m fighting for. Any woman who is the best, any woman who is a pioneer, any woman who is cementing herself in history as another example of the fact that gender is about the body and not our mind or abilities is a woman we need to revere. Beyoncé just randomly released an album, only to iTunes, and sold over 600,000 albums in 3 days, in a time where people say that albums don’t sell anymore. She has just changed the game completely. Yes she is being very sexual on the album and in the videos. She is choosing to do so. The record label isn’t making her, her husband isn’t making her, she is not selling sex, she is being herself and expressing herself in the way she wants. She feels there is power in being able to express yourself sexually and I am with her on that.
When throughout time, sexuality has been geared towards the satisfaction of the man, any woman coming forward and being sexually expressive is a revolutionary act. It’s not about being sleazy or selling yourself, it’s about knowing what you want and what you like and having no shame in it. There is power in being able to say, I’m me and I’m proud. If you disagree, I feel sorry for you.
Stop using feminism as an excuse to push your agenda onto other women. Be whoever you want to be girls, the opinions of others be damned! This is what feminism looks like. It looks like a woman stretching herself into her full potential to fulfill herself and nobody else. If you want to wear turtle necks year round and superglue your legs shut, by all means do that. But do not expect me to sit in a corner sexually frustrated, frumpy, and repressed.
You’re still being defined by patriarchy, even if you do the opposite. This feels like Fast Tailed Girls all over again. Stop trying to tell people what to do. Let them live their lives. Whatever they’re doing, just hope it’s what they choose and not what they feel they’re supposed to do.
I am a feminist. I am a womanist. I will continue to push against the boxes people try to put me in, whatever they claim their agenda is. You will not take my funk. You will not make me feel ashamed because you cannot understand. In the words of Audre Lorde, “If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.”