Last week, I was walking downtown with some friends when we came across a wall decal with the quote above. I didn't think I needed this so I bought 3 other decals instead. Days later, I wished I had at least taken a picture of it for this post but thankfully, I was able to find the exact quote on Google.
Still in that same week, I read a blog post written by an avid feminist, detailing the reasons why she can never allow her daughter to listen to “Beyoncé”. Rest assured we all know that album is for adults... In this post, the author engaged in a literal breakdown, or better put, an over-analysis of every song on that album.
Reading that post confirmed to me the very reason why I WILL NEVER refer to myself as a feminist. Throughout the post and in responses from other readers, I saw the repeated usage of “black feminist” and I thought to myself "Wow! So feminism has a racial basis?" It is bad enough that we are females in a largely patriarchal society but what is worse is the fact that the very movement that I assume is set out to stand up for women is on many occasions, the cover which other women are hiding under to criticize efforts of fellow women. Why are feminists divided based on ethnicity or color, and seemingly classified as “real feminist” or otherwise? I may never understand this.
It is obvious that this feminist movement to some is just a hype; a bandwagon that many are hopping on without understanding the true meaning of feminism. And I will admit that I don’t. I really don’t. With every post I come across on feminism, I get reassured that there is no need to attach yet another label to my already complex existence…as a female. I will continue to be a woman, who believes that everyone, whether male or female should be empowered to attain their full potential. And maybe feminists feel this way too (I applaud those who really do) but then again, I do not need to hide behind a label to know that EVERYONE regardless of gender or race deserves to be treated equally and with respect. Society needs a fix altogether but first, we need to fix ourselves and respecting each other is a step in the right direction. Until the fundamental human rights have been attained, I relinquish the need to add on any further labels.
Back to the Beyoncé issue, I strongly believe that one cannot fight for a cause while ripping apart the very elements of that cause. Yes, Beyoncé may or may not have made “feminist-related” comments in the past (although I don’t know how these comments are measured for feminism-relatedness) but why can't these self-righteous feminists who spend a considerable amount of time gnawing at Beyoncé's music and lifestyle acknowledge her efforts as a woman? If you are not convinced that her message is credible enough to “empower” younger females, you need to be reminded that her premier position is to entertain and the last time I checked, entertainers put out what they deem will be well-received by their audience. So if feminism is the hottest topic at the moment, excuse her interpretation or misinterpretation of it. Does tearing her apart make you feel better? Isn’t her all-female band good enough? I cannot count how many articles or blog posts I have read on this issue and I can’t stand the outburst of feminist opposition any longer on whether Beyoncé is fit to be called a feminist or not. Who invented that yardstick?
Regardless of the fact that she is a celebrity at the peak of her career, let’s not forget that she is a woman who like you and I has personal battles. The fact that she chooses to share some of them with us through her songs should not be used to scrutinize her in any way. If you think she is not living by what she sings, then consider it an indictment of the industry she is in. And if you are still not convinced that she is a mere mortal like you and I, who has worked so hard to be where she is right now, watch the video below.
Society may put women down, the media may put women down but I know for a fact that we women put ourselves down even more. This needs a fix and it is an individual journey we must all embark on, independent of the aforementioned movement.
Update: I now understand why women are racially divided in the feminism movement because the struggles are not equal. Still, we need to be united on all fronts.