Annie Lennox: Beyonce’s feminism is ‘feminist lite… it’s tokenistic to me’


Goddess, icon, advocate and all-around genius Annie Lennox gave a really great interview to PrideSource recently. You can read the full piece here – she talks a lot about where she is an artist, how the world is a dark and beautiful place, whether she feels she can write music when she’s happy and much, much more. The conversation veers around to labels and Annie’s long-standing relationship with the LGBTQ community, all of which is very interesting. But then they ask her about feminism. That’s the “shots fired!!” part, because Annie is asked specifically about Beyonce dancing on a stripper pole in front of a screen reading “FEMINISM.” To be fair, I don’t think Annie dislikes Beyonce or anything. Annie just isn’t a sycophant.

PrideSource: As a longtime feminist, how do you feel about the way the term “feminist” has been reframed in contemporary culture?
It’s a process. It continues to be reframed, and necessarily so, because people’s relationship to the word has been a bit ambivalent over the last few decades. According to who you speak to, they don’t sometimes quite know what to do with the word. I did one event in particular called (Barclays) Women of the Year and they select certain people for certain kinds of recognition, and I was given an award not so long ago. I was so touched to have this award. I felt like I’m with a certain kind of camaraderie here and we’re all together in this room – 400 women from all walks of life – and I said at the podium, “I’m proud to be a feminist; let’s everybody stand up.” Half of the room stayed seated. It was such a hard moment for me because I realized that some women, many women, still have issues with the word and almost distance themselves from it because they’re afraid it’s synonymous with hating men.

Which is something you don’t believe to be true, right?
Not at all. I think that what happened over the years, and quite rightly so, is that women had to be incredibly radical, stringent and strident about the voice of feminism. They had to do that, but I think that nowadays it’s a more subtle thing. But we need men to be onboard with us. That’s my view. Some women might disagree with me.

So what do you make of someone like Beyonce? She recently performed on the MTV Video Music Awards and proclaimed herself a “feminist” during her set.
I would call that “feminist lite.” L-I-T-E. I’m sorry. It’s tokenistic to me. I mean, I think she’s a phenomenal artist – I just love her performances – but I’d like to sit down (with her). I think I’d like to sit down with quite a few artists and talk to them. I’d like to listen to them; I’d like to hear what they truly think. I see a lot of it as them taking the word hostage and using it to promote themselves, but I don’t think they necessarily represent wholeheartedly the depths of feminism – no, I don’t. I think for many it’s very convenient and it looks great and it looks radical, but I have some issues with it. I have issues with it. Of course I do. I think it’s a cheap shot. I think what they do with it is cheap and … yeah. What can I tell you? Sex always sell. And there’s nothing wrong with sex selling, but it depends on your audience. If they’re 7-year-old kids, I have issues with it.

[From PrideSource]

I kind of agree with Annie, and not just because Annie is a goddess and everything she does is true and perfect. We can take Beyonce at face value and say it’s good that she’s identifying as feminist and that Bey is the boss and she’s empowered and all of that. We can also say that I think Beyonce’s feminism is part of her latest branding and it is a very superficial version of something very complicated. Now, all that being said… this is what gets us into trouble. We’re too busy judging, attacking and throwing shade about who is and is not a “real” feminist when we should all be in this together.



Photos courtesy of WENN.

Related stories

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

249 Responses to “Annie Lennox: Beyonce’s feminism is ‘feminist lite… it’s tokenistic to me’”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Jules says:

    Beyoncé will exploit anything for a buck.

    • Loopy says:

      Yes and jump on anything trending.I doubt she can even spell the word.

    • Steph says:

      Yep,and Annie is a Goddess!

      • Judy says:

        Annie is just…. awe inspiring. I seldom agree with Kaiser on much , but on this I agree 100%. Feminism is being reframed and unfortunately some if the framers are mis-informed. Feminism is about empowering women, giving them an equal voice. I think Beyonce is about empowering Beyonce. I’m just not impressed with her, at all. And as a mother of two teen girls of color, I am thrilled that they eschew Beyonce’s branding and seek to inform themselves. Educating oneself about the history of the feminist movement is the first step to understanding it and not shirking away from it.

      • Jules says:

        Another reason to love Annie Lennox. And great job Judy!

      • FLORC says:

        With you Judy.

        And Annie walks the walk every day without dropping that talking point to promote herself. She simply is and her actions represent feminism in it’s entirety. She was asked and addressed it well.
        All these celebs are adding their 2 cents on feminism to use it as a buzz word. That in itself is using it incorrectly.

      • Christine says:

        Annie is amazing, but this is a pretty superficial analysis of Beyoncé’s “feminism.” Beyoncé is making herself a sexual object for the male gaze, and then putting this word “feminism” near it visually to sanction it, make herself look like she is “in charge.” and make it ok for people to root for her. Not to mention the headless butts that pervaded her whole performance, making women even less than whole bodies, much less whole selves. Its not “unfeminist” to critique that shallow and cynical display of pseudofeminism, its reality.
        This is a good article comparing it to the whole hullaballoo about Sofia Vergara

      • JenniferJustice says:

        Not only does Bey market herself as a sexual object, but she flat out lies. How do you claim to embrace your body, your curves, but endlessly photoshop yourself to make yourself appear thinner? That is really uncool.

      • FLORC says:

        This sounds like the argument for exotic dancers. They’re empowered by using their assets to relieve their onlookers of money and claim they’re feminist by that simple action of dancing for money while exposed and being objectified.

      • uninspired username says:


        Hopefully those daughters of yours don’t get too disappointed by how crappy feminism has been to non-white women historically!

      • Sacred And Profane says:

        Goddess Annie, we bow to thee.

        Annie Lennox is the cat’s whiskers – always and forever.

    • diva says:

      Beyonce will promote whatever she thinks will sell. Nothing more nothing less

    • Anna says:

      LOL except she’s always talked about empowering women and was a feminist before her latest album came out..
      But let’s attack and criticize one of the few WOC feminists instead of all these women who think the word “feminism” is gross.

    • homegrrl says:

      Help me out here, can a woman work out and still be a feminist? I do a pole work out class that involves dance moves not more “sassy” than some tae bo classes I took in the 1990s. So help me out here. I believe in equal pay of equal work, and I can work up a sweat in a pole cardio class. Question: am I a feminist?

  2. Mitch Buchanan Rocks! says:

    Both are horrible to be forced to listen to whilst grocery shopping – the feminist cats in the alley sound better thank you very much.

  3. Lindy79 says:

    Lady has a point.

    Beyonce is fine and I do like her some of the time. I just hate the videos/performances where she’s wriggling about with her arse in the air in her knicks while Jay-Z sits there fully clothed. In what way is that empowering? It’s not the same as owning your sexuality. Women dont need to grind in their underwear to be sexy and it always smacks to me at least of being more about turning men on than anything else.

    Not saying women should cover up but there’s just something wrong about having women half dressed and men fully clothed. It offsets the balance of power.
    (not just applicable to Beyonce I should add)

    • truthSF says:


    • LadyJane says:

      I was going to say this – but you just said it perfectly. Having the ‘freedom’ to exploit your own sexuality for a quick buck does nothing for the millions of women who have no choice but to be exploited and are powerless. If the only way you can sell your image or message is to do so while behaving like a submissive, nearly naked woman simulating sex – there might be something missing from the delivery. I mean if you are in to that – whatever – but don’t say you are being a feminist while doing so.

      • Lola says:

        LadyJane, thank you, you said it perfectly.

      • Anne tommy says:

        Totally agree Lindy and lady, am fed up seeing women singers in effing sexed up leotards. In many cases of course their bodies are all they can offer because they have little talent. But Beyoncé can sing and so can Christina aguilera ( sp?) so put some clothes on!

    • Maria says:

      I don’t disagree with you but to play devil’s advocate: Jay is HER husband, she’s owning her role as not only an entertainer but a woman, perhaps grinding on him is her way owning her sexuality as it pertains to him.

      I agree with Lennox: it’s token feminism, she’s not out there really doing things to empower women like Rosario Dawson or Angelina…

      I just feel some kind of way when women are critiqued for how they dress/ dance while preforming, especially as entertainers, sorta defeats purpose of fighting for women to express themselves as they see fit.

      • Jules says:

        Is that the only way Beyoncé can express herself? Sure it’s her choice, but don’t pretend you are now Betty Freidan. I own my sexuality, I don’t grind against my husband in public or go around with a 10,000 Watt fan blowing my weaves everywhere.

      • Maria says:

        Bey has never claimed to be Freidan tho.

        She’s an entertainer: she doesn’t do this in public (outside of work) , it’s only while preforming.

        I mean, prior to this album, she’d been pretty tame; she has come into her own and these songs were very sexual.

        WHY is it wrong for her to preform the way she wants with her husband?

        That people are critiquing her for this goes against being pro woman because you’re inadverdently saying she’s too sexual.

        Kinda defeats the purpose, IMO.

        Sure, her style isn’t my style but it doesn’t have to be, that’s the point.

      • LadyJane says:

        Yes, she is free to grind away. But if you think this is about expressing her feminist ideal – rather than selling sex for money or fame you are crazy. Sex sells, it has done for hundreds of years and I daresay our generation will do nothing to change that. However packaging sex as feminism is a rather new construct – turning feminism on it’s head. Putting a price tag on your pussy and thrusting it at anything that moves automatically negates (for the general public) what might be in your head or your heart. When you put the value and focus on what is in between your legs as opposed to what is in between your ears – other people will too.

      • Brrrrr says:

        Well, why not if thats what you want to do. If grinding on your husband half-naked in public is what you want to do then why should anybody, dare I say it, police you? Why shouldnt you be able to act exactly how you please without being labelled a slut or a sell out? And how is a woman who is judged for grinding away of her free will any different from that woman who is judged for being a “Madeline Albright type”?

        Dont we know by now that under patriarchy there is no “correct woman”. You are either a slut or a prude and neither is allowed. Hey, as long as yours is an informed choice, do what you wish with your body <<<Thats what feminism means to me.

      • Sunny says:

        I agree with you 1000%. I don’t think there is one correct version of feminism and debating to what degree you are a feminist is ridiculous. We shouldn’t have to parse out the correct degree of anything.

        If she finds empowerment in submissiveness, that is her choice.

        I do think she should talk to Annie though but that is because Annie is awesome.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        “For women, it’s said that if they’re taking their clothes off, they’re “owning their sexuality”. Then why don’t men dress the same way?”

        I’m going to take a stab at answering this question..

        Men don’t dress the same way because male nudity has never really been held up as a symbol of sexuality. Men are not traditionally sexualized in our culture and male and female sexuality are not interchangeable. It would be great if that were the case because that is true equality, but as women we can’t rewrite history and we can’t erase years of women’s bodies being exploited in order to satisfy the male gaze.

        For *some* women, “taking back” their sexuality implies that they can control and manage their sexual image. They can exploit themselves if they want to, on their terms, and however they feel comfortable doing so. In that sense, they truly “own” their sexual image, rather than someone else imposing their idea of sexy upon them, with the woman having no say in it how her image is presented.

        That being said, I agree with Annie (she is so awesome) that it’s ultimately Feminism Lite because the only difference between the two scenarios I described above is that in one case the woman is sexually exploiting herself and in the other a man/men are sexually exploiting her. I mean…I wish as women we could just veer away from that, period. Female empowerment is not *just* about sex/sexuality, it’s about showing the world that we can offer more than just a sexy image, regardless of which gender is controlling that image.

      • lana86 says:

        @TOK – “Female empowerment is not *just* about sex/sexuality, it’s about showing the world that we can offer more than just a sexy image, regardless of which gender is controlling that image.” Also, the problem with this is that lots of women, especially young dont grasp the difference between the “sexual empowering” and “obsessive seeking of cheap attention by pleasing the man gaze”
        PS. For me, sort of an ideal feminist is Charlotte Bronte. How on earth did she manage be so beautiful and empowered without undressing, right??)))

      • LadyJane says:

        So women (or some women) get their own back on thousands of years of sexual exploitation by…. exploiting their own sexuality? Is that a stretch? You don’t think it could be about the convenience of selling a woman’s sexuality (even her own) and labelling it ‘feminism’ because it makes everyone feel better about it? Women can wear what they want and do what they want. But that isn’t the ideal of feminism. The ideal of feminism is to live in a world where you don’t have to be defined by your gender, that you have equal rights regardless of whether you are a man or a woman. If women is constantly having to reclaim her sexuality by selling it herself, as you suggest, then perhaps there is still a long way to go. That isn’t feminism, that is just part of the problem.

      • Sixer says:

        For me, it’s not the act of commercialising sexuality. As a matter of personal taste, it’s not for me. I find it cliched and low rent – but then, I’m a cultural snob and I admit it. If other people like it, though, then fine. I don’t think the world should be attuned to my personal taste, personal morality, sense of ethics or anything else.

        Beyonce can do this stuff if she wants and if she were the main/only beneficiary of her doing that, then fine. I wouldn’t have a problem. But she – and Miley and all the others – are really mostly the product for mostly middle-aged white men to sell and profit from. It’s not about Beyonce’s empowerment. That’s just an ad jingle. It’s about profit, and profit for men mostly at that. THAT’S where it’s problematic for me. And that’s why it’s really not accurate to call it feminist. It’s still mostly about using a woman’s body to make profits for men.

      • Elle Kaye says:

        I think that perhaps people need to understand what feminism IS…why Annie said women HAD to fight so hard. It isn’t just about a sexy image. It has ALWAYS been about equality for women. That men and women should have the same rights under the law.

        Politically, women have gained more ground, but there is still a struggle on the social and economic front. Women still make less than men, and are treated differently. Just look back at the Kristen Stewart affair…she was the one who took all the heat, not the husband who had the affair on his wife.

        So, good for you Annie. As long as Beyonce and JayZ sing songs about Ike Turner forcing Anna Mae to “eat the cake”, then she needs to looks at what feminism truly means. That isn’t sexy. It is abuse.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        I think your post was really insightful. I agree, a woman exploiting herself IS better than it being done by a man…but that is still not as good as a woman not being exploited at all.

        Very interesting comments all around. I am glad these conversations are happening.

        Elle, the “eat the cake” lyric enrages me to no end. What a horrible, horrible thing to put in a song.

      • Alex says:

        The thing is no one bothers to do their research. It’s partly due to her status as a performer that never really showcases the incredible amount of philanthropic work she does outside of being ‘BEYONCE’. I don’t know if she prefers it that way, but a little digging will actually enlighten people to just how much she does to empower not just young women, but also a lot of charitlble work for the elderly and homeless.

        Women are nasty. They want to big each other up and claim solidarity but they just can’t do it – all these comments are opinions, but they’re contradictory of what they claim to believe in.

    • Kaya says:

      That’s so true. For women, it’s said that if they’re taking their clothes off, they’re “owning their sexuality”. Then why don’t men dress the same way? They’re almost always completely covered up. Does that mean that Jay-Z is uncomfortable with his sexuality and we should wait for him to show up in a glittery thong to prove us wrong?

      • Val says:

        Jay-Z probably because he can’t even do 3 push-ups, lol. That being said it would be hilarious (though disturbing) seeing him in a glittering thong.

      • lana86 says:

        @ Kaya “For women, it’s said that if they’re taking their clothes off, they’re “owning their sexuality”.” Other option is that they are seeking cheap attention or making money of it. What a shocker

      • Lady D says:

        “J…we should wait for him to show up in a glittery thong to prove us wrong? ”
        Please stop. I’m afraid you are going to give Kanye ideas.

    • Gea says:

      I always loved Lenni, her androgynous look was so captivating and her music still timeless.
      Feminism is still to be defined , it is collection of movements that promotes equal rights for women. These days, many are trying to nail an definition of feminism but if I have to say at it will take me a while.

    • Val says:

      The thing that I keep finding though, is that with Beyoncé “leading by example”, men expect you to be everything that she is with Jay-Z; basically perfection in every way, while they’re not that much of a catch really. It’s exhausting having to be perfect in order to be good enough. What does Jay do to show he is worthy of Beyoncé? He shows up. That’s all.
      And I know that I am totally overgeneralising here, but I think having the discussion is important.

      That being said, I absolutely do enjoy Beyoncé’s music and performances, I just question the consequences.

      • Chris2 says:

        Excellent, totally agree. The unavoidable message is that men have the appetites, and women are for consumption.

      • Chris says:

        “It’s exhausting having to be perfect in order to be hood enough”

        I was walking through one of those trendy boho suburbs the other day and it occurred to me that living there and keeping up with it would be exhausting.

    • Naye in VA says:

      Lol. This is kind of true. I always demand that my nakedness be met with nakedness. But really. Who wants to see Jay naked?

    • Wren says:

      I totally agree. While she may be “owning her sexuality” by performing thusly, it’s really not a very empowering way to do it. Yeah yeah he’s her husband blah blah, but this is not them getting down in private, this is a performance on a stage. How is it in any way different than any other woman put on display in a state of undress to satisfy men? It really isn’t, and it almost seems like an underhanded way to keep the practice alive. “Sure, sweetie, you’re empowered……….. now take your clothes off. For empowerment!”

      Always always always when I see images of supposedly “powerful” women in movies and music and whatnot, I scream, “WHY AREN’T THEY WEARING PANTS???????” Or anything that would be regarded as publicly appropriate clothing while their male counterparts are always fully dressed/armored. Why does HE get pants and she doesn’t? Empowerment indeed.

      • Mel M says:

        +1 @wren

      • Tiffany :) says:

        “I scream, “WHY AREN’T THEY WEARING PANTS???????”

        I have noticed a trend in cable news recently, where they have removed or moved the desks and put the women in skirts. Like on The Five on Fox News. Clearly, the camera set up is to give the audience an uncluttered view of the female hosts’ legs. It isn’t just that show, though, I am noticing it everywhere.

    • Ant_D says:

      That’s a very good point!

  4. Jem says:

    Annie Lennox is a Goddess… Been a fan ever since Eurithmics. Thanks for an intelligent answer to the “femininst question” for once.

    • lana86 says:

      her critique is very subtle, classy and to the point. Promotion of the word “feminist” is good, but not when it’s used as an accessory. It cheapens it a lot.

    • supposedtobeworking says:

      I agree with her, and love that she expands on it. I wish any public person who cannot speak to specific challenges that promote knowledge and understanding of the issues would just say “i’ll have to get back to you when I am more informed.” It would be so much more useful if they could answer :I am a feminist because having male policy makers make decisions that impact women only are not the best representation that I can have. I would like to have at least equal number of policy makers on the board/committee etc”. Or “I am a feminist because I think it is not right that women have such subpar access to knowledgable and committed to their cause legal representation when trying to leave an abusive relationship” or “I am a feminist because it is not right that men have funding and access to a sex enhancing drug, while women are vilified for seeking access a similar drug (birth control) that serves as much more than birth control and can help with a myriad of health issues.” Those answers were demonstrate knowledge and bring the actual issues and inequalities to the forefront. Go Annie.

  5. Vera says:

    We are all in this together. ‘Nuff said. And if Annie Lennox started a religion, I’d worship her.

    • Jules says:


    • Lilacflowers says:

      Can we have bacon as part of the rituals of this religion? Yes? I’m in!

    • kri says:

      Sign me up for this new religion. I have loved her since I was what…12? She was unlike anyone I had heard. Love all her music, and damn she’s gorgeous. She’s also right. Feminism is alot more than getting to decide when you can be sexual in public/private. Spot on, Annie!

    • Peoplesuck says:

      Count me out…. Now if beyonce started a religion.. sign me up. I have always had a weakness for beautiful, fun, passionate and compassionate women.. Who embrace rather than publicly vilify other women.

  6. Gina says:

    Annie was a very special voice of her generation. Nobody could sing a Christmas carol quite like she did, goose bump moments, being born on Christmas day. However, this is a whole new day and age, and her opinion of Beyoncé or anybody else of this generation really belongs only to her. To the girls of today, Beyoncé is everything and they probably don’t care what their elders think. Annie has her place in music history, but so does Beyoncé.

    • feebee says:

      She acknowledges Beyonce is a phenomenal artist. There’s no debate about her place in music history. Annie was just commenting on her use of feminism in her work.

    • Gina says:

      That’s not what I’m saying at all. I’m not even a Beyoncé fan if that’s what you’re alluding to. Most young performers admire those who came before them, much as I’m sure Annie did. But this is their time. Age is irrelevant. Barbara Streisand has the number one album in the country. She said the only performers of today she knows is Beyoncé, Rihanna and Adele. I’m not shading anyone, I like Annie Lennox, always have. Our country is and always has been youth oriented…the Who…hope I die before I get old. I guess that’s my point, didn’t realize it was all that serious.

    • Otaku Firy says:

      ” Girls of today may not care what their elders think, but that is because they are narcissistic, vapid, consumers of crassness.”

      Just because not all young women of this generation have fallen for the apparent sex-negativity and uptightness of your generation, or your parents’ generation, which teach that a woman must be modest, demure, ladylike, and submissive to what traditional, patriarchal society deems to be sexually ‘proper’, does not mean that they’re vapid narcissists or trash.

      • hmmm says:

        @Otaku Firy

        Just because not all young women of this generation have fallen for the apparent sex-negativity and uptightness of your generation, or your parents’ generation, which teach that a woman must be modest, demure, ladylike, and submissive to what traditional, patriarchal society deems to be sexually ‘proper’, does not mean that they’re vapid narcissists or trash.

        That’s a pretty reactionary stance.

      • otaku fairy says:

        @Hmm did you read the original comment? Reactionary stances tend to earn more reactionary stances. When an older person decides that young women are automatically ‘vapid narcissistic trash’ for not agreeing with them and following their old-fashioned ‘rules’, a younger person might draw the conclusion that they’re crochety, sexist, uptight, sex-negative, and influenced by the more ‘tradional values’ (cough cough, repression) of their era or that of their parents. If ‘elders’ want respect, they need to show it and be more open-minded.

      • Anne tommy says:

        There’s a happy medium between being modest demure etc etc and dry humping on stage. Chrissie Hynd of the Pretenders maybe, bit raunchy without shoving her coochie in the audience’s face.

      • jenny12 says:

        Nope. Selling yourself to the highest bidder based on appearance and behavior that appeals to the lowest common denominator of men is simply not feminism. Women who have changed the world haven’t had to do it based on appearance or sexualized behavior. Owning your sexuality is not the same as using it as a selling point. Signed, an original riot grrl… this appeared in the wrong spot but I can’t move it- was to Otaku Firy

      • otaku fairy says:

        If you’re going to argue that choosing to reject sexual modesty is never a feminist act, then that also means that the opposite is true: covering up and avoiding overt sexuality can’t be a feminist act either. I agree that just because someone is using sexuality as a selling point or part of their act doesn’t necessarily mean they’re owning their sexuality, but I also believe that a person can do both: An entertainer can be sexually open and incorporate sexuality into their act, performance, whatever and still be owning their sexuality .

      • hmmm says:

        @otaku firy- #50

        Rejecting sexual modesty is no more a feminist act than choosing modesty. It’s completely missing the point about feminism, and it is beside the point.

      • abbi says:

        THANK YOU

      • jenny12 says:

        It’s a fine line, isn’t it? Being open and proud of your sexuality is not the same as selling your image and using sex to promote yourself instead of your talent. Incorporating it into your act is not the same as basing your entire act on it. Lisa Palac wrote a terrific book about owning her sexuality and being a sex positive feminist (sorry, it’s a 90s book :) ). I don’t care what anyone wears or does, but to say feminism is equated with gyrating on poles or posing in lad mags or using your image for your career is just wrong. Kathleen Hanna and Courtney Love and Kat Bjelland all spent time as strippers for a living, but they were doing it to be able to launch their music careers, which weren’t based on their appearance or appealing to male desire…. this is for Otaku Firy. It won’t let me respond on her thread.

    • Sozual says:

      @clay TRRRRUUUUTTTTTTTHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Lilacflowers says:

    Annie’s points are so valid. Why do so many female artists have to express their “empowerment” by prancing around scantily clad and performing sexualized dance moves? That’s about pleasing male audiences far more than it is about advancing their own or other women’s places in the world.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      I agree with you. And I thought she said it well – sex sells, and it always has. What is feminist or empowering to women about that? I’m not some prude who cares if you choose to be sexy, or use sex to sell your music. And I get that women should be able to own their sexuality without being called sluts. But several times on here, I’ve been called “pearl clutcher” and all the rest for saying there’s nothing feminist about a woman in lingerie straddling a fully clothed man and grinding her hips. It’s the oldest game in town, and it sells, but don’t try to tell me it’s empowering women. It’s participating in our objectification, and that diminishes us.

      • Anony says:

        *sheds tear* Preach on sister, 100% agree.

      • Chris2 says:

        Well said, zackly my feeling too.
        We’ve a lot of lost ground to claim back, and the struggle’s nowhere near over.

      • Lilacflowers says:

        And when strippers are interviewed, they always say their act empowers them. Sorry, but in my world, showing up in lingerie would cost me my job. And the same goes for the men I work with. They have to wear clothes too.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        “It’s participating in our objectification, and that diminishes us. ”

        Yes. I tried to say this above in a much less succinct, less eloquent, and more Kitten-esque manner.

      • megs283 says:

        +1, from a fellow accused “pearl clutcher.” Why isn’t anything private anymore?

      • kri says:

        GoodNames-perfect comment, my friend. And illustrated for all of us today by Mr. Adam Levine AKA Leatherbrain Meat Grinder, with his disgusting, disturbing video. I wonder what Annie would make of that sh8t show?!

      • Grace says:

        I am not sure what ‘pearl clutcher’ means – is that some kind of medieval torture device? Because that’s what it sounds like.

      • Louisa says:

        THIS!! I can’t tell you how much I love what you have written. Exactly how I feel but just couldn’t put into words quite as eloquently as you!

    • Tiffany :) says:

      As a kid, I was mesmerized by the Sweet Dreams video. It was VERY obvious to me that Annie was in a full suit, full of power and control, and not putting all of her energy into being seen as sexy. She was going for something different, and I think it was a really good thing for my young mind to see.

    • Autobot says:

      Women have always used their sexuality to acquire wealth and power. We can rebrand it as female empowerment, but let’s not delude ourselves into thinking it will lead to equality of the sexes.

  8. Dani2 says:

    I hear what she’s saying and I agree to a certain extent. I also think that a lot of the feminism that is embraced by mainstream culture (Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Emma Watson) is feminism lite but I don’t really have a problem with that because I think it’s far better for young men and women to embrace “feminism lite” than to not embrace the concept of feminism at all.

    • QQ says:


    • Jules says:

      It’s a start!!!!

    • Val says:

      There is a huge anti-feminist movement online, so I completely agree with you.

    • Lola says:

      I think this kind of “feminism” is more damaging. This has clearly nothing to do with Beyonce, there’s an industry that wants to raise girls to believe getting undressed while pole dancing is the most awesome thing you can aspire to as a female.
      It’s calculated to be manipulative, Miley and all the girls/women who suddenly became feminists are part of this, there’s nothing casual about it.

      • hmmm says:

        Agreed. As I stated above, that is not feminism, that is licentiousness. Men are just getting happier and happier while women diminish themselves more and more under this illusory not to mention delusional banner of feminism lite. Those mentioned are no role models for any daughter of mine.

  9. QQ says:

    *sigh* I love Annie Believe me I DO I will eat Annie Lennox for Breakfast Lunch And Dinner over an entire Beysus record BUT im never here for a white lady telling women of Color about Feminism if you aren’t gonna acknowledge Intersectionality and womanism and how the feminist movement has often and largely not addressed “US”…bell hooks critizing Beysus I Take (and she has!) , Yes Beyonce is problematic as Hell, but are we not gonna give her props for getting on board and speaking to the sensibilities of younger women and women of color and bringing the word “Feminist” into a positive inclusive spin when just last year these twatty girls were falling all over the place to say No No No I dont hate men Im No Feminist!!?!

    • Luca26 says:


    • Dani2 says:

      Damn it Q, you’re totally right. This is also something that bothered me about Anne coming for Beyonce’s feminism.

    • Kiddo says:

      Yeah, true.

    • ML says:

      All beyonce is doing is confusing young girls when she’s pole dancing half naked in front of the the word feminist. That is the wrong message to be sending. She doesn’t even know what the word means, so how can she enlighten anyone?

    • TheOriginalKitten says:

      Right, and it’s an important thing to take note of.
      Just compare the way Madonna, as a white woman, has been praised for doing the exact same thing as Beyoncé. Because black women have historically been stereotyped as being uncontrollably lascivious, they’re subjected to a much higher level of scrutiny. It’s pretty gross when you think about it.

      • Trashaddict says:

        I kind of agree with you Original Kitten. Although I don’t think everybody necessarily fell for Madonna’s act as self-empowerment vs. blatant self-promotion. And notice that people are willing to watch a 20 year old wriggle on stage and say it empowers her but much less tolerant of a 50 year old Madonna doing it. So there are also age issues at work here.
        And if, say, Queen Latifah danced half naked for her female lover on stage, would people say that was empowering? Is it empowering if you are basically doing the same old thing?
        The up side is that she’s representing a successful black female superstar and that’s good.

      • Jules says:

        I never praised Madonna, and what does color have to do with it? Oprah is a successful black woman, do I want to see her grind against Steadman?

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        Yeah I remember a lot of controversy and general disgust surrounding Madonna’s sexy image when she was in her twenties. Granted, my friends and I worshipped her, a large faction of the population were pretty appalled at the time.
        People only talked about her breaking down barriers years later.

        “Is it empowering if you are basically doing the same old thing?”

        Well, I’m not sure that it is, which is why I can’t fully embrace Beyoncé’s feminism. Still, proclaiming herself a feminist is ultimately a good thing, plus look at all the interesting side-discussions she’s generating? ;)

      • Anna says:

        @Jules Because WOC are never praised the way white women are and are criticized on a whole other level than white women.
        It seems to me you have some issues with Black women owning their sexuality based on your other comments.

    • shayne says:

      thank you. perfect comment. And Annie doesn’t need to “sit down” with anyone. No one appointed her as a teacher/white saviour to WOC.

    • bob says:

      I disagree in that Beyonce could be replaced with Miley Cyrus or even Jessie J and the comment would still stand. Although there’s certainly a good discussion to be had as to the appeal and inclusion of women of colour in mainstream feminism.

    • TrixC says:

      To be fair, Annie didn’t single out Beyonce, the interviewer did. I imagine she’d have made a similar comment if Miley Cyrus, or Katie Perry had been the example chosen. Personally I don’t think it’s helpful if Beyonce gives young girls a positive spin on the word feminism, while misrepresenting what the word actually means.

    • Yup, Me says:

      Thank you, QQ

  10. godwina says:

    Look. Yes. Beyonce’s schtick and Emma’s UN speech are problematic as hell–most of us feminists agree if Twitter outrage is anything to go by. BUT they weren’t geared towards us, the converted. Both were geared to people who have no clue what feminism is. Of course it’s lite! Of course it’s simplistic, stripped down, and maybe too binary for some people’s taste, but let’s work on the basics with the clueless general population first; they won’t ever open their minds to more sophisticated points like heteronormativity and non-binary gender expression unless they’ve opened them first to the radical notions that it’s ok for young women to enjoy sex, that women are people, and that patriarchy hurts everyone. Those would be amazing wins, to start with.

    It’s all about knowing your audience, and say what you want about Emma’s speech and Beyonce’s performance–they knew their audiences, which is the first rule of persuasive speech. So as much as parts of these efforts made me wince, I stand behind them.

    • QQ says:

      THANK YOU!! Exactly!! That is another addition I meant to add upthread as well… These women are talking to the newbs and men too whatever! i’ll take anything that adds to the rank and file, gets folks involved, on board, researching and destigmatizing and notmalizing being here for equality and getting em young!

    • Dani2 says:

      Ugh yes, I said something similar up thread.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      But the superficiality in itself is harmful. Of course young women should be able to enjoy sex and not be shamed, but is a nearly naked woman performing a sexual dance for a fully clothed man going to send that message, or is it just a repackaged version of the same old “how to get a man” or “women exist to please men?” You can rope them in with the feminist lite, but what meaning does that have?

      • OhDear says:

        I think there’s another element re: Beyonce, because discussions about a black woman embracing her (in these discussions, heterosexual) sexuality is different from that of white women. Discussions of embracing sexuality with white women boils down to the fact that “women aren’t dirty just because they like sex.” With black women, much of the discussion is seen through the lens of the overly sexual Jezebel stereotype – meaning consciously or not black women are thought too be too “dirty” in the first place – so even if they like sex and broadcast that fact, they’re still “too” sexual.

      • godwina says:

        Meaning? Meaning would be luxury at this point. I’m looking for practical action, and Beyonce dispelling the myth that feminists are ugly, single, angry women is not a bad thing. Remember that activism always requires a multipronged approach; one’s meaningful rational discussion doesn’t work on everyone. I will take the fight in ALL forms, and I don’t think what B did was any more harmful than any sexy depiction of female pop stars. At least this one came with a practical message on top of the usual shit. I will take that, and keep fighting at other levels.

        I will not engage with the idea that women should never look sexy or publicly express their sexuality. Yes, there’s a tradition of coercion in the pop industry, yes it’s problematic, male gaze yadda yadda. But I refuse to “ban” on-stage sexy, point blank. We need to change the conversation, not attack the symptoms. And it’s not about wrapping women in corduroy while we adjust society’s view of them (although I would wear the f*ck out of Annie’s coat, I love it so).

        YMMV, that’s fair.

      • ML says:

        Exactly, it’s ‘lipstick feminism’ and it does more harm then good. It’s a male approved version of feminism that men won’t have a problem with, because they get to see naked or near naked girls.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        @OhDear – all good points. I didn’t think of it from that angle.

        @godwina – sigh. Did I SAY women couldn’t be sexy or they need to be wrapped in corduroy? Why is this the standard comeback to any opinion about the negative effects of objectifying women? To shame the commenter by portraying her as a prudish old lady who hates sex? So tiresome. I’m just saying that it’s not empowering to women to pole dance. If you want to pole dance, have at it. If that makes you feel sexy, go for it. No shame, no judgment. Do it private, do it in public – your body, your choice. Just don’t try to tell me that you’re doing it makes you a feminist, or that it empowers women in general. Feminism is about equal rights for women. Changing it so it’s about women’s right to perform in a sexual way will certainly convert more men to the cause by once again commercializing our bodies and selling them as objects. Square one.

      • Godwina says:


        I haven’t used the word “empowering” anywhere in my comments, because I agree with you on that. I don’t believe sexy dancing gives women any power at all–if it did, there’d be no need for security at strip clubs.

        Unfortunately, though, a different kind of “shaming” is already framed in your basic argument, whether or not you intended it to be. You don’t *have* to say it–even if you don’t mean it, the narrative is so entrenched in our culture that even the merest hint of it is dog whistle for misogynists. I don’t clutch my pearls anymore about public sexiness (I used to roll my eyes at burlesque, pole-dancing, and short-shorts, etc.) because I now believe that it comes at the price of sex positivity and seeing women as 3D human beings with their own needs and desires. While B’s presentation is something that I would be uncomfortable doing myself, I tread *very* carefully because so much of this is eggshell. We just don’t know what’s going on in the case of any individual woman or performer, so we should take a step back.

        When we say “she’s only doing that sexy thing for men,” or for male approval, the underlying message is that she can’t possibly be doing sexy things and being sexual for her own self–that women’s sexuality only exists in service to other people. That really rubs me the wrong way. Automatically suggesting a woman is only serving the men around her is just as toxic as coercing women to parade half-naked in our media when they don’t really want to. It strips us of our humanity. So, while there are issues with female objectification in the media (hell yes), again that is (a) a symptom only and (b) often disenfranchising of the very people we’re trying to enfranchise. While I don’t think feminism will be won by more nekkid chicks onstage, I aim my energies elsewhere.

      • Otaku Firy says:

        The ‘this is just what men want’ argument misses a very important point: Men- and even sexist men- are not a monolith when it comes to a preferred way for women to dress and conduct themselves sexually.

        Some of them definitely do want women to be naked or in revealing clothes and would cheer Beyonce on.

        But others want women to be as close to virginal as possible, and condemn and vilify ‘sinful’ women like Beyonce who are not ‘modest’. (Bill O’Reilly is a perfect example).

        Others want women (including pop stars) to be modest ladies to the public but completely sexually available to them in private. You’d be surprised how many men are out there who will label a woman as an insane prude or phony cocktease if she’s more sexually modest than they want her to be, and go into MRA-style lectures about how a woman needs to be sexually pleasing and submissive to her man, or a trashy wh*re if she’s more sexually open than they feel she should be, and go into a totally different MRA/ Purity Culture lecture on how women are such sl*ts and need to be ladies.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        Ok, this discussion has gotten so long, I’m not sure where my reply will end up, and I can’t possibly respond to all of the arguments. I just wanted to say that I love all of you intelligent, articulate women on this site, even when we disagree. You have made me think and see this issue through a different lens, and while I don’t agree with all statements, it has shown me with your many excellent points that perhaps things are not as simple as I thought. Darn you.

    • Artemis says:

      Agreed. I do understand what Lennox is saying and I agree…to a certain level. Beyoncé’s feminism is appealing to men, it’s not very threatening to the establishment. The work behind the stage, what those men will not see or do not want to see, is something that is VERY threatening.

      Lennox can say whatever she wants but Beyoncé is standing up there, the word feminist in big shiny letters, an ALL-FEMALE band (who always get the opportunity to show off their skills e.g. legendary Bibi McGill and her drummers!). Furthermore, she’s still highly successful in a male dominated field in a genre that isn’t kind to women. On top of that, she is very much in control of her career, life and image separate from her husband’s as she has her OWN business.

      What more does she have to do at this point? Are we really going to claim that the leotard and sexy dance moves are making her most important and real-world achievements null? Or are we going to admit that’s the thing we RATHER focus on because we refuse to see that side of her that made her come this far? She sure didn’t get to be this great performer by wasting time with men and shopping, I’m sure we can agree on that?

      What she does onstage is entertain, everything else is business and sheer hard work. She excels in both. Aren’t those perfect qualities to represent what feminism is about? Why doesn’t Lennox highlight that, I’m sure Beyoncé’s feminism will seem less tokenistic then because it isn’t really tokenistic at all when she goes on stage and exerts her power and confidence together with her all-female band (and dancers).

      And the criticism about her wanting to please her husband is ridiculous. Why shouldn’t she show that side? We all know she also works hard because she’s a perfectionist. Nothing wrong with wanting to come home to a supporting husband. She doesn’t even do half the things that most white entertainers do (get married within a year, baby in 2 years and divorce by 4). She made him wait for marriage and a baby because her career was more n°1 than anything else, and that’s from her husband’s own mouth. Her husband is present for her rehearsals and shows but of course Beyoncé is controlled by her husband because *gasp* she enjoys being sexy for him. I mean, really? There is a reason why despite people not like B, they still think she’s too good for him.

      I don’t know why they always go after the women who proclaim they are feminists and criticise the way they promote it. Shouldn’t Lennox call out women like Perry and Woodley who give a BAD name to feminism because they have no clue what it is in the first place?

      • Val says:

        *claps* I’m always a fan, Artemis.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        You make a lot of good points. My comments are a reaction to the idea that Beyoncé’s sexual performances make her a feminist. I obviously don’t agree with that. But as you point out, many things about her life are good examples of feminism. I’m not criticizing that – just the idea that we are getting somewhere by repackaging the objectification of women as feminism. Look, we’re not ugly! We have great tits! We’re sexy! You can like us now! You can be one of us and not turn off the guys! You can be feminist and still catch and keep a man! It just doesn’t work like that.

      • Godwina says:

        “I don’t know why they always go after the women who proclaim they are feminists and criticise the way they promote it. Shouldn’t Lennox call out women like Perry and Woodley who give a BAD name to feminism because they have no clue what it is in the first place?”

        Clap clap. All of this.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        To be fair, Lennox never said Beyoncé wasn’t a feminist, just that she’s Feminism Lite. I took it as her saying that Beyoncé’s brand of feminism isn’t really for her and BTW– she has a right to feel like that.
        That’s feminism too, right? Having the ability to critically think about how feminism is represented in the mainstream media, to have an opinion about how we can do better and want for more.

        I don’t mind Beyoncé and truthfully, I’m thrilled that she’s a self-proclaimed feminist, but I do agree with Annie that there’s a level of depth and understanding that seems to be lacking in Beyoncé’s brand of feminism. However, it’s still so much better than the Shailenes and the Katy Perrys, who act like feminism is a bad word.

      • sadezilla says:

        I get what you’re saying. But Beyonce has only recently come out as being a feminist. I recall her saying she wasn’t a feminist a couple of years or so ago. Does anyone remember that? Maybe I’m recalling it incorrectly.

        My problem with Beyonce is that I feel she’s inconsistent. I think it’s fantastic that she controls her own empire, is powerful in her own right and is inspirational to a lot of girls. However, it feels like she’s saying one thing and acting in an incompatible way. I have a problem with some of her lyrics and music video imagery. I love the song “Upgrade You,” but the image of Beyonce on her hands and knees with a piece of bling in her mouth left a bad taste in my mouth. And that awful “Cater to You” song? VOMIT.

        Granted, these are older songs, and perhaps she didn’t write either of those songs. I haven’t listened to any of her more recent stuff, so I can’t comment on it . But if she really believed in feminism, wouldn’t those sorts of things give her pause? Maybe I’m biased because I’m not a fan, but she’s just always rubbed me the wrong way in her statements. I don’t think she knows whereof she speaks re: feminism.

      • Artemis says:


        No you’re not criticizing it but you like most other people, wouldn’t start off mentioning those very feminist traits of Beyonce in the first place which is surely more important than a leotard and dance moves? Everybody can wear that and crank out some dance moves, her real power lies in her business sense and preparation and that’s not something every woman can do, wants to do or has the opportunity to do. That’s dedication, passion, disciple, ambition, opportunities and luck. That’s in her control, not the men oggling her if they wish to do so.

        The only thing people ever mention about B and feminism is: but she’s half naked and her husband isn’t. That’s it. There’s no other side to it. There is much much more and we should point that out too. This doesn’t mean we should never criticise her obviously.

        We never packaged feminism as ‘ugly’ etc anyway so we’re not repackaging it, we’re fighting against it because it’s a label forced on us from way back until present day to shame us for standing up for our rights. Because how we look and our sexuality are the first thing that comes to mind to shut us up and shame us. I see it as not so much about ‘look how hot I am’ but more like ‘I am smart and confident and sexy and you can’t tell me any different.’ To take control of the label.


        If she critically thought about her answers, then why can’t she mention all the feminist things B does do? I mentioned them all above. People always criticise B’s superficial notion of feminism while they themselves only touch the surface of B’s work. I don’t have to accept that critical analysis because it’s not critical. It’s a one-dimensional opinion. She doesn’t even need to sit down with B because everything you need to know about her work is out there for more than 15 years now. If she can’t see the business woman that B is , then she never will.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        @ Artemis-
        With all due respect I think Annie Lennox, a woman who is a classically-trained musician with an incredibly successful musical career of her own, a woman who is a political and social activist, a woman who has dedicated her life to philanthropy and humanitarianism, raising money and awareness for HIV and how it affects women/children in Africa, a woman who has challenged society’s own perception of female sexuality and gender in a more impactful way, has earned the right to criticize.

        Annie has achieved more and done more to further feminism and impact the world in a positive way than Beyoncé likely ever will. That’s just the truth. This woman walks the walk and paved the way for Beyoncé and her ilk to feel free to display their own brand of feminism.

        Sorry, but she is not obligated (to coin a Beyonce term) to “bow down” to Beyoncé. Maybe she’s just not that impressed with Beyoncé’s business ethic, something that ultimately most directly benefits Beyoncé and her brand?

        Lennox is an empathetic and intelligent woman who’s concerns go beyond female success is the business world. TBH, beyond the music connection and the fact that they both have vaginas, I doubt Lennox and Beyoncé have very much in common.

        Her critique may be “one-dimensional” but so is Beyoncé’s brand of feminism.

      • Artemis says:

        I’m not talking about Lennox’s accomplishments here. They stand on their own and I’m well aware of her work as I am a huge fan.

        However, you used the word critical thinking so I disagree that she did that as there is a huge difference between trying to pass off criticism as critical thinking.

        She’s entitled to judge but critical thinking is not observing one side only. If she feels she wants to talk to B and other stars, I assume she didn’t do her research enough. It’s not that hard to dig up some facts about B other than ‘beyoncé vma controversy’.

        Again, they always go after Beyoncé and other popstars who DO identify as feminist instead of offering their critical thinking skills onto the popstars or other entertainers who don’t identify as feminist, try to shame other popstars for doing what they do and act innocent themselves while catering to an audience much younger than Beyoncé’s!

        Disagree with Beyoncé only benefiting herself and Lennox paving the way for Beyoncé. Beyoncé talked about the women who inspired her and paved the way for her and let me tell you, it’s not a white woman who doesn’t even have the same music style. You lost me completely there! And if it would be a white woman, it would be Madonna but that’s only recently and for her business sense. But I’m glad you think a black young girl would look at Annie Lennox instead of Patti Labelle for inspiration. Lennox benefited a lot from white privilege while the black women who B adores had to fight and crawl their way to the top only to be dismissed when talking about popular culture.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        I meant for my comment above (at 12:02) to appear down here to include all of you. Thanks for this discussion.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        But Artemis, Beyoncé isn’t the first female CEO and she’s not the first woman to build an empire, not even the first black woman to build an empire. She’s not the first black woman to make her image into a brand either, Oprah did it first.

        The difference between the two is that Oprah’s never sold a sexy image as part of her product.
        Now there’s nothing inherently wrong with that but understand when we’re talking about Beyoncé and feminism, her image and brand are one and the same, therefor her sexually provocative image WILL come up in the discussion. In fact, it will likely drive the discussion because Beyoncé’s message is that women can be powerful AND sexy. She embraces it so why should the rest of us not talk about her image as if it’s sacred and her business acumen is the only thing that makes her distinct?

        “But I’m glad you think a black young girl would look at Annie Lennox instead of Patti Labelle for inspiration”

        Yeah…the discussion was inevitably going to devolve into putting words in my mouth…I felt that coming.
        Patti Labelle is an icon but she was far from provocative. Lennox WAS provocative and sexy in a revolutionary way and she made it ok to be that way. It doesn’t have as much to do with race as it does with gender. Much like women need/deserve male support in the feminist arena, black women need/deserve white women’s support in the feminist arena. We need it to be inclusive or it doesn’t work, Artemis. Those who have been consistently disadvantaged need the help of the advantaged to get the equal playing field. It might be unfair, but that’s the construct that we’re working with.

        You don’t have to love or even like Lennox’s opinion of Beyoncé but she was far from attacking her, in fact she was quite complimentary of her talents. She simply said that Beyoncé’s brand of feminism doesn’t resonate with her. I don’t see why people are getting hurt feelings over her opinion.

      • Ny says:


        Loved your thoughts on this thread.

      • Artemis says:


        How many other black female performer are in charge of their own business? Better yet, how many are relevant/successful? At present, few have accomplished in show business what she has. The history of rap and R&B is not kind to women at all. In that sense, her business acumen is the most important thing (well for me it is) as it’s that and not her sexy image that kept her career afloat. There are so many other performers who do what B does and can’t stay relevant (e.g. Ciara).

        It’s not that people can’t talk about her sexy image, I also have my opinions on it (like in the video Superpower where there is underboob for no reason, the ‘eat the cake’ lyrics) but it’s always about one and the same thing, few people ever mention her achievements. On the contrary, they perceive her as dumb and in Jay’s control which is not true at all. She’s not an academic, but she’s not a dumbass either. And it’s comment like yours, when you highlighted Lennox’s achievements, that highlight this albeit in a more subtle way. Because she’s not educated enough or experienced enough, her vision of feminism should not be taken all too seriously? Doesn’t have a lot of meaning? I find that extremely exclusive as she is a woman, she has strong values and she certainly does things that represent the basic definition of feminism well. But because she shows her body, she doesn’t understand the struggle of inequality for women despite the fact that she’s in a sexist business for almost 2 decades? Her experiences are valid imo and can at least start the conversation. Why people have an issue with this, boggles my mind as she is one of the less harmful performers who touch on this subject.

        What defines feminism is something that Lennox with her experiences and even people with PHd’s in Gender Studies can’t figure out because the concept can mean different things to people. Some use it for their own identity, others for wider societal issues.

        I agree about needing each other etc but white feminists still have a habit of questioning or ignoring black feminist issues while tripping over themselves to defend white women. WOC had to do it themselves in the past and they can/have continued to do so imo. It has to come from both sides. There’s a reason why it’s so easy to use B as an example for feminism but not Lupita’s. I’d like to see Lennox being asked about Perry or getting her into the mix instead of the same old we’re always getting.

      • Lea says:

        Wow! Very well said! I agreed on everything!

      • Tiffany :) says:

        I am LOVING this discussion. There are great points being made all around, and I love being able to take these different points in and mull on them for a while. Thank you, Celebitchy women, for sharing your wisdom with me. I am better off for it!

        That being said…the comments about successful females that came before leads me to think of Tina Turner. Clearly Beyoncé was greatly influenced by TT, as evident by her stage performances. I have to wonder how in the world a woman like Beyoncé could allow her husband to rap “Eat the Cake Anna Mae, Eat the Cake”, knowing those words came from an abusive man who was raping and beating his wife, nearly killing her many times.

        I will totally stand up for Beyoncé being a great business woman, a great performer, and a VERY hard worker. But she is a human being, we are all complex and have contradictions, and I think including abusive quotes in a song about passionate love are quite the contradiction to feminism. No one is perfect, we are all hypocrites in some regard. I don’t think she has to turn in her feminism card for that (or for photoshopping her bikini pics), but if I could ask her anything it would be how could she allow those lyrics to be in HER song?

    • hmmm says:

      What has bumping and grinding or being naked on stage got to do with a woman enjoying sex or enjoying her sexuality?

  11. Luca26 says:

    I’d rather Beyonces’ ( or Taylor Swift in the previous article ) feminist lite then all those famous women who say they aren’t.

    Baby steps.

  12. delorb says:

    Token, about a black artist? Wow. How tone deaf is that? I understand she’s frustrated about the younger generation, we all are, but you don’t name call if you want them to listen to you. And you certainly don’t take a patronizing tone of “sit them down”, if you’re trying to sway them. Hell that didn’t even work when she was in a room full of powerful women (half stood up).

    • Leftovers says:

      Maybe I’m mising something, but where is it implied that tokenism has anything to do with Beyonce being “of colour”?

    • Ally.M says:

      I don’t think she’s talking about the artist, she’s talking about the way the word ‘feminist’ was used in her performance and how it’s being used by other artists. Nowhere in the article did she say ‘sit them down’, she said ‘ I’d like to sit down with ‘ which is an entirely different thing. She was asked about Beyonce’s performance, she wasn’t singling her out.

    • delorb says:

      It wasn’t implied, it was just an insensitive thing to do. Calling a black woman’s response to feminism tokenism, is tone deaf. She also has no need to sit down with anyone.

  13. tinyfencer says:

    I want Annie’s brown corduroy blazer. And I want to drink hot apple cider while I wear it. That is all.

  14. LadyJane says:

    Embracing feminism ‘lite’ is like embracing human rights ‘lite’ – because feminism is just about equal human rights for men and women.

    • Grace says:

      There! It’s hard to know what feminism means these days – I mean, even the UN thinks we’re still princesses locked away in an isolated castle waiting for men to arrive.

      • hmmm says:

        And feminism lite means being free to use your womanly charms because you can. I can’t see that as a human right worth fighting for.

  15. Lee says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with her. Every word of it. I have an 11 year-old daughter who is a consumer of current pop culture. And sometimes I’m mortified by what passes as “empowered” womanhood these days. Think Ariana Grande. Think Nikki Menaj and her behind. And this dichotomy automatically sets up women who think objectifying females is wrong against women who sell their sexualized image. Young girls don’t know where they fit in. They just think they need to be sexy doing it. And worse, we end up with roomfuls of women who reject the word feminism, because they don’t know what it really means.

    • Otaku Firy says:

      Diva nature aside, as far as overt sexuality goes, Ariana seems tame. Sure she sometimes wears mini-skirts and crop tops, and has 2 songs on her last album that are clearly about her sexual pleasure, but that’s not shocking to me at all. The most revealing photoshoot she’s had so far is that black and white one that girl from Big Bang Theory freaked out about where she’s wearing what looks like a vintage two-piece bathing suit that covers more than what a bikini does. Why is all of this bad or exploitative? Could it be that this person who’s been ‘modest’ most of her life now wants to experiment at 21? Do women have to be modest?

      I think it’s a battle between women who feel that modesty=equality and displays of sexuality and skin= automatic objectification and harm of women vs. women who don’t feel that overt sexuality or showing skin are oppressive and bad, and even find those things enjoyable, badass, or rebellious at times, and feel that people should pretty much do what they want with their bodies.

  16. LadyJane says:

    Exactly what do women who reject feminism think it means? I don’t know how people can’t understand it means equal rights for women. How did that message get so corrupted? It is really very very simple.

    • Grace says:

      A few reasons I can think of:

      1. some women think it would make them look difficult/unattractive even though they benefit hugely from feminism;

      2. every empowered generation/era/period usually is followed by decline and going backwards;

      3. problematic slogans and role models.

    • LAK says:

      that was my take away as far as the women at her award show who refused to stand up to identify as feminist.

      i guess they don’t think they deserve equal rights and or that they aren’t human beings.

  17. Chris says:

    Pop singers aren’t exactly the first people I’d look to for political guidance. Nor would my kids.

  18. kelly says:

    “We can also say that I think Beyonce’s feminism is part of her latest branding…”

    I have to stop you right there. Female empowerment has always been one of Beyonce’s themes from her Destiny’s Child days (“Independent Women,” “Survivor,” etc. anyone?) to now (“Diva,” “Who runs the world (girls)?”). Is she trying to make her brand and “feminism” synonymous today? Yes, but I think it’s unfair and inaccurate to say that this is new when she has been an advocate for the cause for some time now.

    • Artemis says:

      Also true. Although ‘Nasty’ was also part of their discography so there’s that. But all in all, I think they stood for female empowerment, long before it was discussed this much.

    • sadezilla says:

      See, this is why I think she is inconsistent in her messaging. I posted something about “Cater 2 U” and “Upgrade U” above. Songs like that backfire against her female empowerment message. And sure, she can be a feminist and also have moments when she feels like she wants to let someone else take control, or dote on someone she loves, but the way she phrases those feelings is problematic to me. It makes her feminist claims ring false (to me).

      • Artemis says:

        ‘Upgrade U’ is all about a woman making her own choices and improving the man she is with because she knows her worth and won’t settle for less all the while acknowledging his power too. She however maintains the message that she can be good for him more so than he for her! As for the video, how would you sell that song? I don’t see anything wrong with it tbh, it’s all about female power including the sexual one. And materialism.

        Cater 2 U seems problematic but it’s still 3 powerful women who clearly don’t run after a man singing the song. They are succesful but also have a side to them that wants to make their partner happy. The lyrics are OTT but the message is basically ‘you take care of me and I’ll take care of you because LOVE’.

        Also, that’s not a Beyoncé song, it’s a DC song. People are allowed to grow in their values you know without looking for evidence 10 years back that they are totally not feminist in the present.

      • sadezilla says:

        Well, I’m not a pop star, and I’m less than comfortable displaying my body in public, so I fear I’d be a miserable failure at marketing a pop song. :) I just thought the imagery was less than empowering and in a lot of ways contradicts the messages in the lyrics. I think it would bother me less if she were still showing her power, but weren’t writhing around on the ground on all fours, it put me off.

        As for Cater 2 U, yes, I know it’s a DC song and is pretty old. Beyonce has a writing credit on it, although that doesn’t necessarily mean she wrote the whole thing or is wholly responsible for the lyrics. However, I didn’t get “I’ll take care of you and you’ll take care of me” from the lyrics. I acknowledge that she may have grown since the song was written. I still think the lyrics are gross, but that’s just me.

        I don’t think we’re going to agree , but you’re entitled to your opinion, no shade intended. I personally don’t think Beyonce knows what feminism is, or if she does, she’s not very consistent in broadcasting her message. And she doesn’t need to be, that’s not necessarily her job. However, it colors my opinion of her, that’s all.

    • Hayley says:

      But she also sings “bow down, bitches” and seems to be fine with Jay-Z rapping in Drunk In Love comparing himself to Ike Turner slapping his wife in public and forcing her to eat cake: “I’m Ike, Turner, turn up, Baby no I don’t play, now eat the cake, Anna Mae, Said, “Eat the cake, Anna Mae!” That REALLY bothers me.

      And both of those songs are from her most recent album, not the stuff from a decade ago you’re citing. THAT is why I have a problem with Beyonce declaring herself a feminist. Her actions don’t seem to uphold it. I don’t care what she wears or how she dances–which seems to be most people’s problem with her being a feminist judging by the comments here. Her lyrics to her songs are how she’s presenting herself. You can say ‘hey, she didn’t write them’ but she chose those songs, she chose to record them, chose them to represent her. There’s some great ones (like Pretty Hurts) but there’s some problematic ones too. I just think she has some work to do before she should be calling herself a feminist.

      • sadezilla says:

        THIS is what I was trying to say, thank you!

      • lucy says:

        @Hayley, ^^^ Hear! Hear!

        I was wondering if anyone remembered “Eat the cake, Anna Mae, eat the cake!”

        Hard to be more offensive and more ignorant than Beyonce singing/saying/performing THAT.

      • Anna says:

        Okay, but most people have called Beyonce and Jay-Z out on that line. Your comment isn’t anything new. And it was a bad metaphor for him to use but it was about Jay’s a** getting eaten. Hence “eat the cake”.

      • Hayley says:

        @ Anna. Did I say it was anything new? Did I say I was the first person to make this connection, whoa I’m a genius! No. I brought it up because this is a discussion about Beyonce’s feminism. And because most of the discussion about whether she’s a ‘real’ feminist or not seems to be centered around what she wears and how sexy she is in her shows and I don’t think that’s the way gauge whether someone’s a real feminist. I think the lyrics she chooses to sing are important and that that part of Drunk In Love is disgusting. I couldn’t find a single confirmation that Jay-Z confirmed those lines are about sex. (why would he, when staying silent keeps people talking about it?) And if he wanted to talk about sex, he could’ve done it in a million different ways without citing horrific abuse. It’s Beyonce’s song, on Beyonce’s album, and it reflects on her, and her claims of being a feminist.

  19. Deb says:

    True feminism should be about equality, not competing.

    • Otaku Firy says:

      I agree. I’ll also add that it is not a dress code.

    • Autobot says:

      Disagree. Nobody tells men to stop being competitive. Only women get a no-compete clause. It assumes we’re unreasonable and pointless so we might as well be nice and quiet.

  20. Green Eyes says:

    This probably not the thread to put this, but man, Annie looks fantastic!

  21. belladonna says:

    I feminism so hard I make Beyonce look ‘lite.’

  22. MsMercury says:

    The whole “sex sells” thing I mean I’ve said this before on her but the only two artist that do no do that are Taylor Swift and Adele. And the sales do not lie they are at the top of their games. I know Taylor used to get a lot of heat for wearing “princess dresses” but I always respected her for being different.

    Bey is problematic “eat cake anna mae” and “bow down bitch” but her career reminds me a lot of Madonna’s full of controversy but she is like Teflon. I think Annie made some good points but I don’t think it will make a difference because you have girls like Miley, Katy, Nicki, JLo, and Riri who will get almost naked next to a clothed male in their videos and live acts and fake lesbianism for attention (like Jlo and Iggy, Riri and Shakira) . Not sure how many of those women call them self feminist but you know it’s not only Bey.

    • Lola says:

      I don’t know, I don’t remember if Madonna ever exploited someone else’s abusive relationship for a quick buck. Beyonce has no standards, that’s the difference with the other pop singers you mentioned. Not even Rhianna has pulled the stunts Beyonce has, from plagiarizing to the fake bump.

      • Ash says:

        Given that Sean Penn was abusive toward Madonna, I’m not surprised she wouldn’t sing a song about glorifying that abuse.

      • Thingstomakeyougommmmm says:

        But Madonna remained friends with her abuser and did not press charges on Sean Penn.

        Did she get the same backlash as Riri

  23. Eleonor says:

    I don’t care if Bey dance naked on stage, what I don’t like it’s the fact that she puts a thong, dance around a man (in this case her husband) and calls it “feminism”.
    That is not “feminism” that is “entertainment”, she is using the word Feminism as a label, like NIKE or Adidas.

  24. Jaded says:

    Bey wouldn’t be able to hold a conversation with Annie. It would be like a Rhodes Scholar trying to have a conversation with a two year old. She may be talented but about as thoughtful and articulate as a piece of toast.

    • Peoplesuck says:

      Said like a true Feminist MAXI. Insulting pretty or sexual women, way to go Feminist.

      • hmmm says:

        Because now persons can’t be criticised because they happen to be women? Way to take away Beyonce’s right to have her mind noticed and someone’s right to call her out on her ignorance. I think I’ll stay away from your brand of feminism. Sounds rather totalitarian.

      • Peoplesuck says:


        Feminists who slut shame other women and call them stupid because they do not agree with how they define Feminism.

        I am no feminist.

        I am woman, who enjoys other women’s successes, be it;
        in beauty,
        business acumen
        great relationships

  25. Bliss says:

    She totally nailed it !

    I don’t know what’s happening these days with artists such as Beyonce, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, Jlo, Miley, ect…..

    Ain’t nothing sexy in the way they are dressing on stage, shaking their ass and simulating some sexual behaviour..

    I mean, in the 80′s, Madonna was often pit against Sade and every single poll pitting them, gave Sade the edge as the sexiest and most beautiful one between the two by both men and women.

    I rememberred Whitney Houston’s beauty, sultriness and subtle sexiness making her America number one darling among her contemporary peers.

    I rememberred En Vogue, Mariah carey at the beginning of her career, Janet Jackson in the 90′s, Shania Twain, Aaliyah and her big pants and even Destiny Child at the beginning of their career being pit against Britney for being lady like, sexy in a good way.

    All those artists were embraced for both their talent and their sexiness and beauty.

    All those 80′s, 90′s groups had artists with voice, looks and incredible sexiness…way more than the trash today.

    Jlo has never been sexier than in her earlier music videos though she covered herself more. Beyonce was sexier in Say My Name, No, No, No or even Crazy In Love. It went downhill from there in the dressing department….as well as in the lyrics and music.

    What happened ?

    Where are the current Sade, Aaliyah, Young janet Jackson, En vogue ?

    Where are THE LADIES of music, today ? The ones who were unbeleivably sexy,beautiful and reverred as America’s darling ?

    Where are the sexy one in (big) pants ? Where is the one who dresses with stylish great gown/dress ?

    Where is the one who dance sensually without having to go full sexual and straight up gross showing and shaking their (bigger) ass ?

    Today, it’s all about soft porn like performances and clothes. And every single one of them adhere to the movement, every single one of them align themselves to the motto of “trash is fab” and the new IT thing.

    Pathetic and sad !

    • Otaku Firy says:

      Calling women trash, telling them they need to ‘be ladies’, ( a patriarchal social construct used to keep women ‘in their place’, by the way) isn’t exactly pro-woman. That’s more like what the ‘modesty movement’ does, and they certainly don’t promote progress or sex-positivity.
      Modesty should be a choice.

      • Dani2 says:

        Agree with you 100%. The comment above is an example of why we need feminism. Modesty is a choice and not being modest does not mean you’re trash.

    • Jaded says:

      +1000 – at least we still have some real artists like Tori Amos, Melody Gardot, Madeleine Peyroux, Fiona Apple, and many more who don’t embrace the over-sexualized performing to attract attention, they do it with their beautiful music.

      • Anna says:

        @Jaded you need to learn about intersectionality in feminism because its clearly something you have no clue about.

  26. Otaku Firy says:

    Not trying to start any kind of war or anything, but, one of the things I’m noticing here is that a lot of people are saying that open sexuality and wearing whatever one wants ‘Can Not’ or ‘Are Not’ empowering for women. That’s a bit of a problem. It’s one thing to say that those things don’t automatically make someone a feminist- that’s a perfectly valid argument and it’s also true. But none of us have the authority or ability to arbitrarily decide what is, is not, can, or can’t be sexually liberating or empowering for another person because we’re all different, and trying to make that decision for someone is a controlling infantalizing erasure of their agency.

    It’s kind of problematic how people say ‘they’re just doing it to please men’ too. It implies a couple of sexist myths: That women are naturally sexually modest, and the only time they deviate from modesty is when they want something from a man, that women are not to be trusted when they explain their reasons for doing something and are basically lying ‘temptresses’. I think people forget that there are many women who do enjoy overt sexuality and do like certain styles of clothing, and don’t need to be ‘exploited’ into making that choice anyway because it appeals to them. And sometimes women (especially young women and pop stars) may do something not because they want male approval, but because they find dressing, performing, or acting in a certain way as fun, rebellious, and badass, even if others disagree.

  27. Liz says:

    Couldn’t agree with Annie more! Bravo!

  28. bettyrose says:

    I’ve seen Beyonce’s barely covered crotch staring back at me from newstands one too many times to bother caring how she defines feminism. The only reason women have the luxury to exploit themselves while still being legally entitled to the dignity of a paycheck and control of their own bodies is because unapologetic feminists have fought and continue to fight for her rights.

    • Chris2 says:

      Nice one, Bettyrose
      The pornification of everyday life continues, thanks to the brilliant, brilliant masterstroke of selling women’s bodies back to themselves at twice the original price.
      Wherever you look…up, down, there’s tits and crotches, common as Coke cans, but with added orgasmic innuendo. Take a vastly expensive handbag ad in Vogue…..for whom is the model expressing that sexualised contortion? Us! We are being roped into this new enslavement by means of it being sold as the norm: the ever-ready woman, identifiable only through sex.
      All of which is just a predictable rant…..what I wanted to say was that Sinéad O’Connor’s advice to Miley Cyrus should not have been dismissed…..she was spot on.

  29. AlmondJoy says:

    I’m reading through the comments just thinking how amazing of a thread this is! Great discussion. Annie makes some very good points and I agree with her. I also feel that because Bey is an entertainer and not a political activist, her approach to feminism is different from others’ and I see nothing wrong with that. There are also many variables, such as race, background and age.

    All in all, I’m really loving everything you guys are saying here 👍 Gives me so much to think about. I plan to bring this discussion up with my students, as well as my husband.

    • Diana B says:

      Yeah, Almond, I always love these kinds of topics because many points of view are displayed. I always want to contribute but reading all that’s being said takes me forever so I just enjoy the schooling :)

    • TheOriginalKitten says:

      “Annie makes some very good points and I agree with her. I also feel that because Bey is an entertainer and not a political activist, her approach to feminism is different from others’ and I see nothing wrong with that.”

      ITA and I think that’s what Annie was getting at when she called it Feminism Lite. Whatever. It’s promoting feminism in a world where there is so much rejection of the term among young people. I might not be in love with Beyoncé’s brand of feminism, but I’ll take it, you know?

    • AlmondJoy says:

      Diana, we’re of the same mind. I’m reading through and thinking “Exactly” and “Ooooh that’s a good point too” and “Wow, I never looked at it that way.” I’m really enjoying the commentary here😊

      TOK: Agreed! Bey is touching on feminism, in her own way, and bringing attention to a very important subject that some women may never have even thought of or known about. For that, I applaud her. Bey is inspiring to many, so there may be some who are moved to care about what she cares about. They’ll want to find out more.

      • I Choose Me says:

        I feel the same way. I’m always late to comment but when I do get to read the comments, I’m hardly ever disappointed by the discussion. There are some very salient, thought provoking points raised all throughout this thread.

  30. Duckie says:

    I’ll stick to what the great Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie said ” Whoever says they’re feminist is bloody feminist”.

  31. shayne says:

    Annie should name drop other white artist rather than going with the popular trend of dragging Beyonce in every discussion about feminism. I would rather take “feminist lite” than Katy Perry “i’m not a feminist, i loooooove men”.

    • FingerBinger says:

      I suppose she could have mentioned another white artist. Feminism for white women and feminism for black women have always been two very different things IMO.

    • Grace says:

      What? Katy Perry, despite having benefited from feminism, has no idea that being a feminist doesn’t mean she can’t love men? Is she playing dumb or is she actually dumb?

    • paranormalgirl says:

      She was specifically asked about Beyonce. She wasn’t asked about old whipped cream boobs.

  32. kelly says:

    Already commented on this but wanted to add:

    EVEN IF Beyonce was using “feminism” as a marketing tool and trying to capitalize on the conversations that are taking place pertaining to the subject now (in my opinion, she isn’t – she’s always stood for equality&empowerment, but I digress), I would NOT blame her.

    There’s a loooooong history of women of color identifying themselves as feminists and trying to join the feminist waves that occurred – only to be shunned by the majority of the feminists who were running the movement – white women. I know many women of color who refuse to call themselves feminists for that very reason, so if Beyonce has only just begun to apply the label to herself for the aforementioned reason – that’s fine. Hopefully it will contribute to this inclusionary dialogue that’s taking place on feminism now (i.e. #HeForShe).

  33. ButImSleep says:

    I’m just going to say this: White feminist have NEVER looked out for the needs of black women period.

    A lot of people in this site have written things with a racial tone.

    • Peoplesuck says:


      see how it pans out when we are needed for Hilary’s Vote. Then we are all init together.

      • Sozual says:

        Too TRUE! The feminist movement was for white women and your comments on this site ring true too.
        Annie is my BOO for life.

  34. Chris2 says:

    If you fancy a little light relief, seek out Arianna Huffington’s circa ’71 riposte to “The Female Eunuch”. Wittily titled “The Female Woman”, (or was it ‘Feminine’? can’t recall now. Probably was), the then Arianna Stassinopoulos warned us to reject this terrible idea of radicalising ourselves at the expense of providing a relaxing home environment for one’s husband. Forget about equality, it’s against nature, and snaring a husband is the highest achievement for a real woman. Cheers, Arianna! ;)
    ps my dad bought it for me…..he was getting worried.

    • Lilacflowers says:

      And present day Ariana has pretty much rejected everything that Ariana ever said.

      • Chris2 says:

        I meant no disrespect to Arianna H, who is in so many ways formidable…..not sure if you were miffed…..I really did intend ‘light relief’ there.
        But seriously also, thinking back to the time, 99.9 women out of every 100 would have agreed with her, wouldn’t they?. And yet sometimes it feels like only a short time has passed, and janey mac, what changes have been wrought, eh?

  35. Peoplesuck says:

    I want to title this, why I shall never indentify feminist like Annie L….
    Beyonce can be sexual, pretty , married and still a feminist. I aspire to have as much control over my life as Beyonce has.

  36. Lea says:

    While there are some parts of her answer I agreed with (lite feminism,geared towards mainstream); there are many others I shook my head in denial to. This looks like the same kind of attitude some white feminists have towards intersectionality and black feminism. This is the reason why many Black women would rather call themselves Womanists. There is an evident patronizing tone with “sit down and talk” and ” let me explain feminism to you”, and tokenistic feminism really???Also can we stop with the comments of “Beyoncè can’t even spell feminism”? It’s annoying. Beyoncè has been about equality and feminism for years in her music and now that she wants to claim the label *some* white feminists have to stubbornly deny her the inclusion into the feminist club.I see.

  37. ButImSleep says:

    I don’t understand why Beyonce is not allowed to identify as a feminist. Did you not hear the speech that she used from Chimamanda?

    “We teach girls they cannot be comfortable in there sexual being”.

    So one can only be a feminist if they are old, conservatively dressed, and most importantly… WHITE? Beyonce is sexy, she’s beautiful, and has is INDEPENDENTLY successful. She found out her dad was a cheating bastard and kicked him to the curb to hire a group of WOMEN to run her company. Is that not feminist? Or how about the fact that she practically boast about being the one to bring her husband to the next level? No.

    Oh, but she wears sexy clothes and dances she can’t possibly be a feminist! God forbid a woman who works hard for her body be proud of it! Women are SEXY. We are beautiful and there is no shame in embracing that.

    Beyonce may not be a Rhodes Scholar but her proudly proclaiming herself to be a feminist and introducing Chimamanda to a generation that may have not know her otherwise was a huge step in the right direction of feminist.

    But like I said, white women do not look out for the needs of Black feminist so f Annie’s white-privilage opinion anyway.

  38. hmmm says:

    Frankly, using your mind is empowering, and the only truly lasting power. Feminism lite is a fallacy that misses the point and invigorates sexual objectification. It’s a defiant stance, not a thoughtful one, IMO, and basically is anti-woman. Originally, feminism was about women’s right to own our bodies; now that’s been reduced to arguments about sexuality, (just one aspect of women’s lives), and the license to flaunt it. That’s sad. Somewhere, the men are laughing.

  39. Chrisb says:

    Trailer for Inherent Vice looks good. I’m rapt to see Benicio Del Toro back in something that’s bound to be a hit.

  40. Meg says:

    We’re too busy judging, attacking and throwing shade about who is and is not a “real” feminist when we should all be in this together.
    100% agree

  41. jenny12 says:

    Annie is a goddess, pure and simple, utterly talented and brilliant. She’s also articulate and smart. Feminism has devolved into Miley Cyrus and Beyoncé gyrating and selling their images. They don’t rely on talent. Beyoncé sort of does, but not enough, and her image is more important to her than anything. You have to have a standard other than not having a Y chromosome. I’m not into insulting people, but I am not calling someone a feminist who uses image and sex as something to sell. When you emphasize the physical, you’re not relying on anything else. Feminism is about change, making waves, doing what’s right even when it’s hard. Doing things that are aimed at male sexual desire- what sells and sells- is not feminist and it’s not edgy. Dancing on a stripper pole is a way to make money for some, but Beyoncé doesn’t need the money and it’s just another way of buying into what sells. Living up (down)to what the general beliefs are that women should be and that is what our value is based on is not feminism. Ever see a guy gyrate on a pole? Look at the kiddie bands for example: 1Direction and their ilk are sold as dreamy, thoughtful, romantic guys (since that’s what middle aged men think girls want) but Ariana Grande is sold as a Bratz doll.

    • otaku fairy says:

      @jenny12 “I am not calling someone a feminist who uses image and sex as something to sell. When you emphasize the physical, you’re not relying on anything else.”

      It’s fine if you refuse to call someone who uses sexuality or looks in their image, as long as you understand that that doesn’t automatically mean that they can’t be feminists. Feminism is not some college sorority where members get to exclude other people based on physical appearance choices or sexuality. And as a 21-year-old- American citizen, I’m pretty sure Ariana Grande and anybody else is more than capable of deciding without force that she wants to experiment with wearing miniskirts and whatnot now. Immodesty does not mean a person is ‘being sold’, nor is it always for mens’ desire.

      And I disagree that emphasizing the physical means that one isn’t emphasizing anything else. That may be true in some cases, but not all. Jennifer Hudson, Angelina Jolie, Mariah Carey, Pink, and Christina Aguilera are all famous women who have emphasized physicality and sexuality throughout different parts of their lives, either through their lyrics, their style, their movie roles, music videos, performances, or photoshoots, but they’ve still also managed to emphasize talent, activism (mostly angie with the activism), and other aspects of themselves.

      • jenny12 says:

        Mmmm, I see what you’re saying, but don’t agree with all of it. Pink incorporates her sexuality, but doesn’t depend on it. I don’t really have much respect for the others you mentioned, but I would agree about Angelina. I like that she emphasizes her activism, but she didn’t when she was younger. Ariana Grande- whom my kids love- I guess she has some decision making, but I doubt it’s much. If you want mainstream fame and power, you have to bargain and sell yourself with mainstream honchos. Boy bands agree to sell themselves as romantic and simpering- big eyed and puppy doggish. And the Ariana types agree to plastic surgery and revealing clothing and hair extensions and heavy makeup. Someone like Miley- whose work against breedism I appreciate- thinks she’s coming off as rebellious, when she’s coming off as mallrat and suburban sanctioned rebellion. But just the fact that you are a feminist, proclaim yourself as such and want to be inclusive is something I can respect.

  42. Amy says:

    As someone who is a young woman who’s probably Beyonce’s ‘target audience’ I just want to say I am so very very tired of white feminists and their whimpering about how to frame perfect feminism while ignoring how structured their own construct is.

    People always complain about how girls are avoiding feminism and seem shocked by why but THIS is part of why. Feminists want so badly to shove everyone into a narrow box. Even here I see discussions of “Why can’t these pop stars be more modest?” in threads and about the women who’s photos were stolen it’s “I’d NEVER take those kinds of photos!” .

    It’s 2014. One SMALL part of the issue we have had in history is women’s sexuality being controlled by males. Fathers, husbands , employers. Women were expected to be virgins, supplicating concubines in total secrecy, and loyal never exhausted mothers. We weren’t supposed to appreciate our own bodies unless a man told us to. We have SO many women in the music industry (which has typically been better to women of color than acting) who control their careers, direct their tours, make ridiculous amounts of money and decide on their image. They have EVERY right to choose how they’ll portray themselves.

    They have EVERY right what sides they want to show the world and they shouldn’t be shamed for that because honestly? They ARE young women. If you don’t appreciate and love yourself when you are young it is a struggle for the rest of your life. Even on this site there’s been so much defense for the girls who’s photos were stolen with, “It’s okay, they have long distance relationships so that’s why they even have these photos.”

    Why can’t they just take the pictures and have them because they have amazing bodies? Because their bodies are THEIR property and they have EVERY right to engage with that body how they want including photographing it from angles and showing off very private parts of it. No one cares if you wouldn’t take those photos because that’s also YOUR right. But thinking YOUR opinions should be how everyone conducts themselves is what has been so damaging about patriarchy to women.

    I am NEVER going to wear a leotard and shake my ass on stage but Beyonce doesn’t bother me because that’s HER choice. Women of color have always been judged as naturally being overly sexual jezebels who are merely on the brink of drawing some poor man into their clutches. On a site that celebrates the ‘bitchy’ and attempts to claim the word again people seem unable to imagine Beyonce may love her body, may enjoy how it looks in tight or skimpy clothing , and want to show it off to men or women because IT IS beautiful and she’s worked hard to attain the beauty SHE wants.

    It’s like people thinking they’re setting me free form some form of restriction by saying, “Oh honey you don’t have to wear makeup to look good for men, you’re beautiful as is”. Awesome. I WASN’T wearing it for men and if you approach me assuming it then you’ve already damaged the discussion we ‘could’ have been having.

    If Nicki Minaj wants to show off her body why can we not EXAMINE and APPRECIATE that? Even if we don’t agree with it? Why can’t we admit the entire world isn’t filled with Annie Lennox’s and just because she has chosen her path and image that others are failures for not doing the same?

    OF COURSE there’s ‘feminist- lite’ but there’s also huge gaps in how feminism has approached young women, women of color, women who aren’t heterosexuals, and more that explains it’s failings in the modern era. Why would I support something that doesn’t support me? Or that focuses on how to make life better and more comfortable for one segment of the population while shrugging its shoulders about the rest or WORSE YET telling us to ‘join in’ and be a ‘team’ for the sake of filling its numbers and bolstering its movements with no real intention to honor those outside of its target audience.

    Of course some women sat down for poor Annie! They probably thought it was hilarious too that she was so presumptuous as to think she could confine them in her beliefs to justify her ideas of the world .

    Sigh, this is a long rant but this has been inside me for a while. I’m just so tired of the threads where monolithic thought rains with, ” Well if you’re not a feminist clearly you’re a drooling idiot who wants a man to control every aspect of her life.” Feminism HAS made mistakes and instead of dismissing every woman who doesn’t call herself a feminist maybe it’s time to ask why intelligent, strong, informed women aren’t fond of the word. Yes, some of these women are ill- informed and don’t actually know why they don’t want to be called feminists, or worse yet incorrectly attach it to man-hating but think of the rest. If we truly want all women to join in then perhaps we need to have more open discussions with those who have been burned and are distrustful, or those who are told they are ‘feminist- lite’ because THEIR choices don’t appeal to the image feminists want while they were eagerly desiring equality, better opportunities, and more support to young girls. If we say Beyonce is lite (and there’s great room for that discussion) because of what she wears or how she dances I can immediately tell you you’ll lose half a room of girls even if they hate Beyonce. Because THEY are choosing what they want to wear whether skimpy or fully clothed and THEY don’t want to be shamed for moving and feeling their body because it makes older women uncomfortable.

    I just feel if THAT discussion doesn’t happen then the movement may continue to dwindle. Apologize for any misspellings, damn phone.

    • hmmm says:

      Women have a personal right to use their sexuality as they see fit, as do men, as long as it’s legal.. But it is not a human rights issue for women. It is not feminism. It’s about standards of behaviour and that will always be judged one way or another.

    • Anne tommy says:

      Wow Amy, “white feminists and their whimpering”, who needs male chauvinists when we have you around to slag us off…

  43. Mar says:

    I agree with her 100%
    Beyoncé symbolizes sex. What else does she really stand for? She put on a campaign for child obesity but then is sponsored by Pepsi?
    She really stands for nothing except being beautiful and knowing how to cash in on performing.
    Please tell me what meaningful things she represents?? C

  44. abbi says:


    A STRIPPER COULD BE A FEMINIST. SO COULD A FEMALE CEO. The conversation regarding whether female pop stars are in control of their sexuality or not is a SEPARATE CONVERSATION.

  45. PoorAnnie says:

    Great to see that Annie has learnt from her experience of being Dave Stewart’s muse. But before she lectures Beyonce about feminism perhaps she needs to have a word with Simon Cowell her manager- you know the great respecter of women.

    Annie is happy to lecture people so long as it does not cost her anything. ???
    God save us from the chatting class.

  46. PoorAnnie says:

    Great to see that Annie has learnt from her experience of being Dave Stewart’s muse. But before she lectures Beyonce about feminism perhaps she needs to have a word with Simon Cowell her manager- you know the great respecter of women.

    Annie is happy to lecture people so long as it does not cost her anything. ???
    God save us from the chatting class.

    Next she will be pontificating about Africa, no action, no money, just talk. Leave the work to others.

    I use to pity “Annie Lennox: ‘No more marriage for me’” unless my lover divorces his wife and asks me. Now on her third marriage. Now I want her to just, sing the songs created by Dave Stewart (they were the best), collect her money managed by Simon Cowell and SHUT UP.

    Unless you are willing to risk something, anything, then your talk is cheap.

    P.S. songs of mass destruction sold 275,000, even with the marketing blurb Aids riddled South African