Sam Smith, feminist, says Beyonce ‘makes me feel like more of a woman’

smith bey

You guys know I love Sam Smith. I think he’s got a beautiful voice and at the tender age of 22, he wears his newfound superstar status with a lot of heart and sweetness. I feel like the American girls fight over him – Katy Perry wants to be his BFF, Taylor Swift wants to be his BFF, and he desperately wants to be Beyonce’s BFF. His Bey-love knows no bounds. It’s very sweet, actually. Anyway, Sam has a new interview with Macleans, and he discusses why Beyonce is more than “feminist lite,” why he considers himself a feminist and how Beyonce is probably going to sweep the Grammys. Some highlights:

Whether he’s a Grammys dark horse or a sure thing: “Neither. I’ve got six nominations, which is incredible but it will be truly understandable if Beyoncé goes away with everything.”

Whether a Grammy would boost his confidence: “Yes, it will make me so proud. But I’ll always be unconfident. I think that’s a good thing because my insecurity is what I write about. I hope it doesn’t make me too big headed—that won’t be good for business. You never know what will happen, though. It would be incredible if I could just get one.

Whether he’s singing to ‘his people’: “This is something I was very aware of when writing my record. Although I refused to say the word “he” in choruses—because I wanted it to be relatable to everyone with different sexualities—I still made sure that this was an album effectively about love for a man from a man. So yes, I am speaking to my people.

His love of Chaka Khan and Whitney Houston: “As a young teenage man struggling with my sexuality or loads of [pressures] in school, they helped. Being a gay kid is pretty s–t sometimes. When I would hear Chaka Khan or Whitney Houston, that would give me the power I needed to get through the day.

What he thinks of Annie Lennox calling Beyonce “feminist lite”: “I personally think Beyoncé’s a strong feminist. What she’s done in music and for women is unprecedented. I love her. She definitely makes me feel like more of a woman.”

Why he self-identifies as a feminist: “I am a feminist because I grew up in a really untraditional way. My mom worked in the city [of London] and my dad stayed at home. That alone made me see things in a different way. I saw my mother struggle. She was one of the only females in her line of work. [Smith’s mother, Kate Cassidy, is a former broker.] It was hard and difficult for her.”

Why men should embrace feminism: “It’s still difficult and I have massive respect for women. You see so many women working in higher positions but it isn’t where it should be in terms of equal rights. I also have two little sisters so that helps me [embrace it].

Is he frightened by being seen as role model: “Massively. At first I was scared but now I’m actually starting to grow into it a little bit more. It makes me want to keep all my clothes on and stay in my suits. Do you know that there are little girls that are 13 years old coming to my concerts? It’s amazing that a 22-year-old gay man standing on stage in a black-and-white suit, singing about unrequited love, inspires them. But at the same time, we all need our [Nicki Minaj] Anaconda videos. They are great and they remind me that it’s all about balance.

[From Macleans]

I think it’s a loaded subject for a young, white gay man to self-identify as a feminist and talk about what equality means to him. Some women believe gay men are becoming more misogynistic and sexist, and that white gay men still have a lot of residual white male privilege, and need a crash course on feminism across the board. Meanwhile, many black women feel like white gay men appropriate their culture to the point of racism (and sexism). So where does Sam Smith fit into all of this? Can’t the boy just love Beyonce?!


Photos courtesy of WENN.

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25 Responses to “Sam Smith, feminist, says Beyonce ‘makes me feel like more of a woman’”

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  1. Mispronounced Name Dropper says:

    This. ^

  2. savu says:

    Hey, in terms of feminism he’s doing a lot better than many actresses and female musicians, so I’m on board. I’ll welcome anyone who calls themselves a feminist, and has an accurate idea of what that means.

    I feel like the “makes me feel like more of a woman” thing is kind of odd, but he may just mean her attitude and confidence.

    As for all the gay men and misogyny things… lord that’s a can of worms, isn’t it? Important issues, but I don’t think Sam ventured into that territory in this interview. I was raised around a lot of gay men, I have lots of “uncles” and now lots of gay friends. Maybe it’s naive, but I’ve never encountered any of those things in my young life. That’s not to say they don’t exist, just that I don’t have enough experience or education about it to speak well of it. Plus, too much for my brain to handle at 6 am.

    Anyway, I’m on board. I like him. He seems grateful to be where he is, and I hope he’ll spread the feminist gospel. (I am entirely okay with the feminist gospel including a LOT of Queen Bey.)

  3. NewWester says:

    I can’t get over how tiny Beyonce appears standing next to Sam Smith.

  4. embertine says:

    I agree that there are all kind of intersectionality issues here that could be problematic, but I think he’s addressed this in a really thoughtful and respectful way. What a nice boy, as my mother would say.

    • MarcelMarcel says:

      I thought he was completely respectful, he was praising Beyoncé & Whitney Houston in a very considerate way. He was talking about them in terms of being singers that inspire him and he didn’t diminish them to racist clichés. I think that Perez Hilton has said some racist statements and Katy Perry’s stance on cultural approbration is infuriating but he’s self aware & lovely.
      That said I’m white so my privilege could be blinding me.

  5. Sixer says:

    I think he’s just going for a solidarity line and I’d never slate anyone for that.

    Plus, I think this sort of attitude is more common on this side of the Pond – the main issue of discrimination/privilege is seen as the overriding common denominator that joins identity groups. Strong identity groupings ready to criticise other identity groupings seem more common your side of the Pond. Which is better? Dunno. Neither. Swings and roundabouts.

  6. scout says:

    I am very very confused right now!!!

  7. aenflex says:

    He is entitled to his own thoughts, as we all are.

  8. AlmondJoy says:

    His comments ate nice and all that, but can we talk about THE VOICE? This man’s voice is like butter! Total perfection.

  9. Dawn says:

    His voice is amazing and it so nice that he is out and not claiming to be anything more than he is. I like him lots and I wish him lots of luck for a hugely successful career!

  10. Lucy says:

    He’s talented, smart, respectful, seems grateful for all his success, and hasn’t said anything offensive, at least not so far. He’s 100% entitled to worship Bey and to be a feminist in my book. All the best for him!!!

  11. Otaku fairy says:

    Misogyny in gay men definitely does exist, but I think it surprises people more (or at least surprises me more) when misogynistic attitudes come from gay men as opposed to straight men because there’s a part of us that automatically expects a person to be more aware and understanding about these kinds of issues if they’re anything other than a cishet white male. I haven’t personally experienced a gay man be misogynistic toward me in any way, or at least not that I remember. But I have heard about it happening in other peoples’ lives, and there was one gay kid in middle school who did bully some girls in misogynistic ways. I also know that lesbians can be capable of different forms of misogyny too. And heterosexual women. We’re all capable of it, regardless of our gender or sexuality. It’s important that nobody ever assumes that because they’re this or that, they’re not capable of treating people in a misogynistic or problematic way, or that they’re not capable of expressing those kinds of attitudes.

    I agree with him on music videos and the whole balancing things out stuff- not everything in music is or needs to be overtly sexual, but that doesn’t mean that there shouldn’t be any overtly sexual or raunchy stuff when it comes to music either, or that artists shouldn’t be allowed to include that. And that’s what we have in the music industry- a nice mix of subtlety and raunch. And we all have a choice about what we look at, listen to, and spend our time on. I don ‘t want all musicians to be coerced or shamed into being g-rated or PG so to speak.

    The quote about him feeling the need to be covered up because of pressure to be a role model kind of made me chuckle on the inside though, because that’s something I’ve only ever heard female artists say. I don’t think people would label him a ‘bad role model’ for teen fans if he went shirtless with sagging jeans like Justin Bieber, Chris Brown, or Adam Levine, because hello, he’s a guy. Only the female entertainers are labelled bad role models for showing skin. I could see why any artist would be a little uncomfortable or fearful of the role model label- it has people focused on all the wrong things. Instead of being about what a person does to help others, what kind of person they are, or whether or not they promote messages of tolerance, equality, and compassion, the term ‘role model’ is all about policing and shaming people (mostly women) about ‘wholesomeness’ and ‘purity’. It’s often used as a repression tool.

    And I agree with him and others about Beyonce too. No one person should ever be made the the be-all- end-all of feminism, but there is more than one way to be a feminist, and I do think there’s room for Beyonce in feminism just like there’s room for Annie Lennox. We don’t all have to be clones of each other.

  12. poppy says:

    How does he know what it feels like to be ….a woman?? HOW?? His comment makes no sense whatsoever …

  13. Veronica says:

    Yeah…as queer woman, I can assure you that most gay men don’t “seem” misogynist and sexist – they flat out are. White men are just the worst of the lot because they think their homosexuality somehow undermines the rest of the privilege. The LGBT community is rife with all the problems you find elsewhere – racism, sexism, transphobia – so him making this statement is a big deal because it sets a standard of inclusiveness that’s often missing in those conversations. The fact that he holds such regard for Beyoncé – a powerful female POC – is important on so many levels, particularly because his tone reflects deference and isn’t patronizing. He’s bringing a lot of good to the table.

  14. msw says:

    Thank you for the giggle provoking headline….. Sam Smith serenades Beyoncé with “Natural Woman.”