Is Beyonce an appropriate ambassador for feminism?


What is feminism

Post feminism- already on blog.
TO ADD IN- dominant hegemony-people in power promote ideals in order to stay at the top- in the forefront of the music industry promote mainstream values across the globe

Male gaze
Beyonce is seemingly open to the male gaze, which is Laura Mulvey’s theory that women are represented in the media not as a cognitive subject, instead as a ‘sexual’ object existing merely to gratify male fantasies and desires via the process of scopophilia.  For this reason in certain circumstances viewers would consider that the thin barrier between sexual empowerment and exploitation is broken in the example of Beyonce, however arguably every pop culture icon, actress or singer could possibly fall into the “hyper-sexualised” category in one way or another. Any show of sexuality is not inherently disempowering, instead it shows the star’s ownership of her own sexuality, proving to be a consistent quality of her image.

beyonce’s values
worked hard to cultivate an image of independence and strength
her ideals- relationships built on equality
EXAMPLE: ‘bills, bills, bills’- rejecting a relationship with an unequal financial balance
“a scrub like you don’t know what a man’s about”- reinforce a stereotype of a man being a supporter
‘independent woman’- wouldn’t want a man to pay her bills
“make sure it’s your money you flaunt/depend on no one else to give you what you want”
women to stand up for themselves yet not at the expense of men

Cultural ideas/ black vs white feminism
juggling the personal with the political is not easy in a biased society- even the most diligent of us are us are influenced by gender, race and other identities.
demonstration of the conflicting pressures on black women
-black women need more diverse representation in the media
-black women have historically battled the stereotype of innate and uncontrolled lasciviousness- why beyonces sexuality is viewed differently from that of white artists like Madonna-lauded for performing in similar ways.
-madonna described as ‘feminist provocateur- pushing the boundries of acceptable femininity’ but beyonce’s use of her body is criticized as thoughtless and without value beyond male titillation- modern example of the age old racist juxtaposition of animalistic black sexuality vs. Controlled, intentional civilized white sexuality.
-celebrity image that audience are focussed on-cluster of signs that change and mutate as time passes- according to audience and context- manipulation of persona to suit dominant ideologies. Comodity fetishism.

Ms magazine controversy opposed to GQ magazine
why are hypermasculinized spaces like GQ are willing to feature beyonce’s promotion of female empowerment?
-contradiction of calling out sexualisation and appearing in a tiny cotton jersey and underwear on cover of magazine run by men-declared her sexiest woman of the century- combination of feminine apparel with sports items signifies a yearning of male acceptance of her feminine persona-making it clear that being pro-woman is not being anti-man
Ms magazine- launched new York 1972- first us monthly “by women, for women” to have been inspired by the womans liberation movement
focuses (politics, womens achievements outside the home, global current affairs and feminist issues)

the policing of feminist credentials is the real moral contradiction
judgement of how Beyonce expresses her womanhood is emblematic of the way women in the public eye are routinely picked apart
women must be allowed their humanity and complexity


3 thoughts on “Is Beyonce an appropriate ambassador for feminism?

  1. Its good how you are focusing on the feminism argument, making sure you dont go off course. Try researching her products like perfume and clothing and how her and the record labels want to give something back to the fans. Her merchandise is female orientated making is fine to consider her a good ambassador for females.

  2. This is looking really strong…it has a clear focus and direction and I like the way you are framing what you want to say. In fact, the only concern I have at this stage is that you need to be careful to not get too heavy to the detriment of the main argument. You are almost going the other way–getting too heavy on the academic side and therefore neglecting your own voice and wider examples and contexts.

    Not that I mind at this stage however–it is much better this way round than not being heavy enough! So keep it up!

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