Beyoncé strikes a mighty blow for feminism


This image is going to be iconic.

beyoncefeminist

Conservatives are confused: they have this picture in their heads of feminists as dour old prudes in shapeless clothes who want to kill men (see also stupid Scot anti-feminist). This portrayal is their major marketing strategy — why would anyone want to be a feminist? You have to hate sex and hate men and hate nice clothes and hate fun in order to be a feminist!

As Amanda Marcotte explains, though, what Beyoncé has done is reclaim happiness and personality as part of feminism.

I’m grateful to Beyoncé for really putting forward, particularly with this latest album, a strong vision of female sexuality that is about demanding equality, centering female pleasure in women’s experience, and also knowing that it’s fun to dance and show off your body—more fun if you’re the one in control of the situation . Objectification is about being reduced to an object. Beyoncé is doing quite the opposite, asserting that sexiness can be part of a package of a whole human being whose sexuality is, above all other things, about claiming joy and pleasure for herself. Anyone who looks at her and sees an object has revealed far more about themselves—and their inability to ever see women as people—than about her.

You know what else I’ve noticed? While feminists can have joy and strength in their lives, MRAs come across as bitter, angry, frustrated whiners. I think their marketing strategy has backfired on them!

Comments

  1. Ichthyic says

    I think their marketing strategy has backfired on them!

    …or more likely, it was nothing more than projection all along.

  2. knowknot says

    Somehow, the combined concepts of “MRA,” “Internet” and “backfire” stike me as amusing.
    Not sure how.

  3. yazikus says

    I don’t understand the significance of that image.

    I don’t understand the significance of your comment.

    It is significant because Beyoncé is an incredibly famous figure who is not afraid of the word feminist. She is a role model to many young women and girls, who might also not be afraid to be labeled as such.

  4. Julian Patel says

    Ok, that makes sense.

    Actually as long it pisses off the MRAs, it’s probably a good thing.

  5. knowknot says

    Specific significance of image (in my opinion):
    – The term “feminist”
    – Presence of clearly feminine person
    – Who is, by proximity, identifying with the term (and therefore the cause) of feminism
    – Who is obviously sexually attractive
    – Who is knowingly sexually attractive
    – Who is intentionally sexually attractive
    – Who is standing in a position of strength
    – Who is Beyoncé

  6. ragdish says

    I don’t think you’ll find unanimaty in regards to Beyonce’s feminism. She may be feminist but is her video necessarily a reflection of feminism? Indeed she is in full “control” and she made the “choice”:

    https://38.media.tumblr.com/21eb503980827e7582d4140e3077be35/tumblr_nav9qvcuE41s4q2obo1_400.gif?w=600

    There is a valid argument in feminist discourse that her “choice” in the video to appear sexy is a manifestation of internalizing a sexist patriarchal culture that objectifies women.

  7. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    I’ve been thinking recently about how to reply to the folks who reject the label “feminist”, preferring labels such as “humanist” that they perceive as more inclusive. Every great social movement–socialism, civil rights and on and on has ultimately foundered over the relations between the sexes. Ultimately, the men who wielded power and influence in these movements have balked at accepting women as true equals, as autonomous individuals. So, maybe we should solve that problem first. Maybe we as men cannot perceive the privilege we move in any more than a fish perceives the water it moves in. It may be that we as men must rely on the women we have in our lives to make us conscious of privilege and patriarchy. It may be that the key to overthrowing patriarchy is embracing feminism.

  8. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Go Beyoncé! Thank you for not being ashamed of being a feminist.

    I’m sorry to say I never cared much for Beyoncé’s music. I should probably investigate that, maybe my impression will be different now.

  9. jrfdeux, mode d'emploi says

    Beatrice, #11:
    I used to feel the same way, then I heard and saw “Beautiful Liar” by Beyoncé and Shakira and I became a quasi convert. Although it might have more to do with my hormones and two gorgeous musical artists dancing and singing in drenched clothing. Excuse me, gotta go fan myself.

  10. ragdish says

    My understanding is that choose my choice feminism is not necessarily a way forward if the choices are narrowly restricted and defined by a misogynist patriarchal culture. Is this no longer valid? And why does this not apply to Beyonce?

  11. yazikus says

    Is this no longer valid?

    Shit, did I miss my Official Feminist Memo? Does anyone know? What did your memos say?

  12. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    There is also an interesting observation in feminist discourse about how black feminists can never be quite feminist enough, for some inexplicable reason.

  13. Becca Stareyes says

    Ragdish: I can’t speak for all feminists, but I can celebrate both the fact that feminism is about women making choices while note that women’s choices are often influenced by a patriarchal culture, which we have to fight against. We can’t do the latter while robbing individual women of the former: it’s up to each woman (each person) to decide what is important and what battles she wants to fight. Beyonce’s choice as a woman who (I presume) likes sex and being sexy will be different than my choice (since I don’t value sex appeal as much). And, hell, a lot of the bullshit patriarchy puts on people is a catch-42: (young, attractive) women are supposed to be both chaste and sexy, for instance… a balance that means you can be attacked on both sides.

    Since specific attacks on feminism are about how women in it are unable to ‘attract a man’*, are sexually uninterested in men, or just plain hate them or want to enslave them, having an attractive woman married to a man where both are peers in their chosen career is a powerful symbol. And it’s hard to have the full nuance of my first paragraph in a short performance, so going for the single image works (and can act as an opening in a longer conversation).

    * Read: men don’t find attractive.

  14. knowknot says

    @14 ragdish

    My understanding is that choose my choice feminism is not necessarily a way forward if the choices are narrowly restricted and defined by a misogynist patriarchal culture. Is this no longer valid? And why does this not apply to Beyonce?

    – My understanding is that understanding is not understanding if it is not personal. IE, if it requires a “validity check,” rather than, you know… understanding.
    – Or maybe I just don’t understand how a woman’s choices regarding how to “appear sexy” actually succeed or fail in the imprimatur and nihil obstat department.

  15. says

    This is the same line of inquiry which leads to people thinking that if the patriarchy approves of something, feminists must hate it to remain good feminists. Patriarchy likes heels and lipstick, so those who use or enjoy them are betraying the movement. Cf. sex, porn, sex work, ‘promiscuity’, et c., et fucking c..

    The divine Be asserts her agency. By what right do we question her ability to discern this for herself? Isn’t it just a little – well, ok, massively – patronizing, and quite likely at least subconsciously racist? How is it good feminism to suggest she’s too dim or deluded not to have thought through her choices and degree of agency?

  16. The Mellow Monkey: Singular They says

    ragdish @ 14

    My understanding is that choose my choice feminism is not necessarily a way forward if the choices are narrowly restricted and defined by a misogynist patriarchal culture. Is this no longer valid? And why does this not apply to Beyonce?

    Okay, a couple things:

    We live in a white supremacist culture. White feminists might have to fight against the virgin/whore dichotomy of being both the embodiment of cultural purity while also the pinnacle of what white supremacist culture considers desirable. Women of color–especially Black women–have a whole different paradigm they have to fight against.

    Simply being seen as a woman in her own right becomes a radical act for a Black woman. Not mannish, not mean, not tough, not animalistic, not any of the hundreds of hateful, racist ideas used to beat Black women down and deny them their womanhood and humanity. The bodies of Black women are constantly under attack in a way that they are not for white women. A Black uterus is described on billboards as a dangerous place. The sexuality of Black women is erased, co-opted, or treated as a threat.

    The patriarchal system that puts white women up on a pedestal and declares them delicate and girly and incapable of doing things doesn’t attack Black women in the same way. To be seen as feminine and desirable, for a Black woman, is a motherfucking revolutionary act in white supremacist culture.

    Nobody is saying Beyoncé is perfect or declaring her the Queen of Feminism Whom We Must Bow Before, but there in that image she is up on stage, proudly and defiantly standing before a sign that blazes FEMINIST while claiming her womanhood and her femininity that this country has tried to repeatedly steal from her. She is showing the millions of people out there who admire her that this isn’t something to be ashamed of. That deserves celebration.

  17. says

    Beyonce can empower herself and her sexuality in what ever way she wants. That is feminist.

    The fact that the *only* reason Beyonce can do it is because she’s basically the biggest female performing artist since Madonna Dion is a hell of a shame.

  18. says

    The fact that the *only* reason Beyonce can do it is because she’s basically the biggest female performing artist since Madonna Dion is a hell of a shame.

    Which is also, to add to 22 from TS, not only not her fault, but something she makes efforts to do things about (in supporting other women artists, particularly WOC).

  19. omnicrom says

    I remember meeting an anti-feminist once who said that women should oppose feminism because feminists are always angry and unhappy. I’m therefore glad there’s at least one example of a happy feminist that’s loud enough it might penetrate this person’s pocket dimension. Of course if that happened I’m sure they’d think Beyonce is actually secretly miserable.

    Honestly the saddest thing about this big and shocking thing is that it’s big and shocking at all. A woman in the public’s eye is a feminist, and the fact that’s now a news story is sad.

  20. The Mellow Monkey: Singular They says

    Tashiliciously Shriked

    The fact that the *only* reason Beyonce can do it is because she’s basically the biggest female performing artist since Madonna Dion is a hell of a shame.

    CaitieCat

    Which is also, to add to 22 from TS, not only not her fault, but something she makes efforts to do things about (in supporting other women artists, particularly WOC).

    Yes, to both of these. It’s a system that needs to change, but Beyoncé is doing a lot to change it; she fought her way up and then turned around and held out a hand to others.

  21. says

    Ragdish:

    There is a valid argument in feminist discourse that her “choice” in the video to appear sexy is a manifestation of internalizing a sexist patriarchal culture that objectifies women.

    No. For over 45 years, I’ve heard just about all the tropes, including that in order to be a feminist, a woman must eschew anything which might make her attractive at all, let alone sexually attractive. That’s a bunch of shit. Feminism: the radical idea that women are human beings. That means that women are human beings who have agency, the right to autonomy, the right to be sexual, and the right to see themselves in any fucking way they like.

  22. Rob Grigjanis says

    Don’t care for her music, but anyone with more guts, brains and balls than Beckham and Jordan combined can’t be all bad. Can she play midfield?

  23. says

    also it’s kind of funny that living in a country where the accented e is common I don’t have it on my keyboard and generally just don’t use it. So, uh… It’ll remain Beyonce :D

  24. says

    Rob:

    but anyone with more guts, brains and balls

    Really?

    :Sigh:

    Perhaps we’ll reach a day when courage and strength is not considered to be a trait of only those with testicles.

  25. says

    Tashiliciously Shriked @ 31, to do an accented e, it would be like this: Beyonc& eacute ; but with no spaces, which results in Beyoncé.

  26. Rob Grigjanis says

    Inaji @32: It was a conscious choice, which I thought was subversive, and a minor play on basketball and football. If it was a lead balloon, I can recalibrate for Pharyngula purposes.

  27. says

    Rob:

    Inaji @32: It was a conscious choice, which I thought was subversive, and a minor play on basketball and football. If it was a lead balloon, I can recalibrate for Pharyngula purposes.

    I understand the subversive slant, but it doesn’t work. It doesn’t work because women know, from the time they are tiny sprogs, that it’s men who are seen as human beings, the ones with the privilege and all the rights, and that we don’t have that same status. When men assign the “wow, she has balls!” status to a woman, even if it happens to be complimentary, what’s happening is that one woman is assigned honorary status as a man, i.e., a full human being.

  28. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    Oh, what a nice surprise! Last I heard (I listened to Destiny’s Child a lot growing up but waned when she went solo and didn’t keep up) she didn’t like being called a feminist as a label though she said she was all for equality.

    I went to go find links to back up my memory and found this though I would’ve sworn before she didn’t want to consider herself a feminist at all and that’s what I remembered. Now though searching brings up white feminists “critiquing” her and people applauding this performance. In any event, I’m really happy to see the change and it contrasts starkly with this article detailing what 17 famous women think of feminism, mostly negative and mostly from a white, straight woman perspective too.

  29. Xaivius says

    Rob:

    Friendly reminder that the failure state of clever is asshole.

    love beyoncé’s music. Good to know she’s building ladders behind her, as opposed to kicking them down like many other people with wealth and power!

  30. mudpuddles says

    I think its a great image, and good to see Beyoncé continuing to proclaim herself a feminist. But I still am not convinced she is a role model for my young daughter. Rebecca Moore had a good perspective recently: Pop’s harmful pseudo-feminism

    A commenter on Jezebel put it well last year, quoting Beyoncé in a GQ article:

    “money gives men the power to run the show. It gives men the power to define our values and to define what’s sexy and what’s feminine and that’s bullshit, ” says Beyoncé, as she strips to her underwear for a magazine covershoot with Terry Richardson.

    I remember Beyoncé also saying last year that feminism was not about equality, it (apparently) is about women changing their attitudes, not men. Which I think is awfully sad.
    But she is brilliant at what she does as an entertainer, and anything to boost the idea of feminism as a positive mainstream attitude is great. I just don’t care for her concept of what feminism is about. Of course she’s only human, and maybe I’m just wishing for her to be something which she is not.

  31. says

    mudpuddles:

    I remember Beyoncé also saying last year that feminism was not about equality, it (apparently) is about women changing their attitudes, not men. Which I think is awfully sad.

    Everyone grows up sexist. Everyone. We’re drowning in a sea of sexism from day one. The trick is recognizing that, becoming aware, and changing attitudes as necessary. Sexism is even more insidious when it is internalized, ticking away in women everywhere. So, why is women changing their attitudes awfully sad?

  32. mudpuddles says

    Hi Inaji (#40),

    So, why is women changing their attitudes awfully sad?

    Women changing their attitudes is not sad, and I didn’t say it was, to be fair. What I find sad is Beyoncé’s belief that feminism is not about equality and that it therefore does not require any change or action from men, and that its all down to women to address by just changing their own attitudes. The suggestion that patriarchy, rape culture, and pervasive misogyny are not a sign that inequalities urgently need to be addressed (beyond merely the issue of “men have the money, therefore men have the power”), is sad. Of course attitude change is important. But from women only??? The suggestion that these issues need no input from men, that they are entirely a problem of women’s attitudes, is sad. I think very sad. Not a message I would want to promote, personally.

  33. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    There is a valid argument in feminist discourse that her “choice” in the video to appear sexy is a manifestation of internalizing a sexist patriarchal culture that objectifies women.

    More so than the idea that women, as a class, cannot be allowed to make their own decisions about sexuality in general and open sexuality in particular, and should instead subordinate their decisions to a handful of people who Know Better What’s Good For Them?

    Because I don’t think that’s actually possible.

  34. A. Noyd says

    @Azkyroth (#42)
    True choice is manifested in restricting yourself to what I think is best rather than what they think is best.

  35. Esteleth is Groot says

    Beyoncé is not “a woman dancing in her panties,” she is a Black woman dancing in her panties.

    The confluence of patriarchy and racism hits women of color in a very specific way, such that Beyoncé – or any woman who looks like her – dressing and dancing like she does is very different from a white woman doing the same thing.

    Which is to say that Beyoncé’s act is more revolutionary and daring, not less.

    Because women of color have had to contend with the legacy in which their bodies were literally owned by white men. A Black woman saying, “No, my body belongs to me” is shocking.

  36. says

    to do an accented e, it would be like this: Beyonc& eacute ; but with no spaces, which results in Beyoncé.

    Or, if you’re on an iPhone or whatever, you can just keep your finger on the ‘e’ for a second and it’ll bring up the variety of forms of the letter. Most web interfaces should be able to handle UTF encoding without requiring the HTML.

  37. Rob Grigjanis says

    Xaivius @38:

    Friendly reminder that the failure state of clever is asshole.

    As is the failure state of condescension.

  38. Rowan vet-tech says

    Rob @46:

    Xaivius @38:

    Friendly reminder that the failure state of clever is asshole.

    As is the failure state of condescension.

    Noooo…. That would be the success state of being condescending. The failure state of condescension would be to have it be something like practical, useful advice. Which is also the success state of an actual friendly reminder.

  39. kaleberg says

    I don’t know if it’s a mighty blow for feminism, but it’s good that she’s not ashamed of being known as a feminist. Too many people have become ashamed to being called good things like feminists or liberals. A big part of feminism is not letting other people define you. It takes guts and a lot of self confidence to ignore all the crap being fired at you. (It also takes laws, enforcement and social pressure to actually change things, but working towards change starts with self definition. That way you know where you want to go.)

  40. knowknot says

    @38 Xaivius

    … the failure state of clever is asshole

    – If so, then it is also self referential.
    – More like, the failure state of clever is, generally, breathing. As in, the round things aren’t always slammed out of the park.
    – Funny, though… I didn’t have a problem with it. Probably because we used to have a joke about the term being universal, ie meaning “gonads,” so we just threw it around indiscriminately. So, one of the very few sexist usages to which I became a little desensitized. So it was decent of someone to point it out without juggling the orb.
    – Apart from the trigger, I thought the original comment was very good… I don’t like her music to date, but I’ve always seen her persona as being genuine, and she does project something that seems courageous and compassionate. Which is nice, because I honestly think I’ve known more truly courageous women than I have men, in the wild.

  41. knowknot says

    - Crap. Failed to notice that had been addressed.
    – Unecessary piling on. A failure state, fer shur.

  42. mudpuddles says

    @ Esteleth, #44,

    Maybe so (I couldn’t really comment) but it seems a number of black women would disagree quite strongly. bell hooks, for example, takes your point as a significant negative, because of the context of commodity culture.

  43. mudpuddles says

    @ kaleberg, #48

    …it’s good that she’s not ashamed of being known as a feminist. Too many people have become ashamed to being called good things like feminists or liberals. A big part of feminism is not letting other people define you.

    Very true. Anyone remember Katy Perry’s acceptance of a Woman of the Year Award a few years ago, when she proudly claimed to not be a feminist? Not so good. Beyoncé’s example at the VMAs was definitely better.

  44. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Oh for fuck’s sake. The assertion that a woman being openly sexual and trying to be sexually appealing is inherently anti-feminist is tantamount to the assertion that the structure of patriarchy is correct – it’s just who’s at the top that needs to change.

  45. ceesays says

    Look

    If what I’m wearing or what my body looks like means that you think you can suck your teeth at me and mumble some bullshit about kowtowing to the patriarchy? you can kindly fuck off with that.

    I am black, I am feme, and I will show you my cleavage, my legs, my ass, I will drop it low and werk, and I will be respected. Or just plain out go fuck yourself, s’il vous plait.

    Is it too fucking hard for you to remember that women are people and deserving of respect if they’re bangin’? Poor baby.

  46. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    Going along with ceesays #54 (I just posted this in the Lounge but realized it’d probably do better here):

    And while everyone’s raving about Beyonce, it’s important not to forget Niki Minaj who’s BEEN an outspoken feminist and hasn’t played around it at all. Here’s a tumblr post contrasting her Anaconda video*, which is taking a lot of heat and Taylor Swift’s latest video. She’s one badass feminist. She also does a lot of good work not just being a spokesperson.

    I can’t get into her music even though I like rap just because it’s, again, not my style. For rap, I’m more into Eve’s Lip Lock. She’s also a feminist who works on empowering women and girls, helping women get into the game (actually features less known or up and coming artists. I keep hearing how B does this but don’t see it. Her baby gets in the performance but she doesn’t help her struggling singer/songwriter sister even? lol) and is extremely vocal about it all.

    Here’s also a list of 10 Hip Hop Feminists. It’s always been there, whites just don’t like how they do it.

  47. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    Er, I meant to make the beginning of that last comment more clear. My apologies for mucking it up.

    It’s one things for black feminists to disagree and critique their movement while taking different paths to the same goal. It’s a whole nother ballpark when white feminists say they’re doing feminism wrong and are bad role models for children. Especially given how applauded such artists like Swift, Miley Cryus is among the media as positive, and empowering while borrowing black culture for kicks, and then kicking black artists when they empower themselves. See here for 10 examples

  48. ceesays says

    I love Nicki Minaj. I love that she’s not only outspokenly feminist, she also has no time for that respectability politics crap that lets people create conveniently portable goalposts that are all about making sure that black women can’t be respectable unless they fit in an extremely narrow niche and can be relentlessly policed no matter what they’re wearing, That is some shit and it will not stand anywhere near me.

    if you are intrigued by how the intersection of “class” is used to suppress black women, check out hoodfeminism.com as well as googling “respectability politics.”

    If you’re looking for more awesome music by black women hit youtube and spend a little time watching Janelle monae videos. Get you a little glimpse into afrofuturism, too.

  49. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    ceesays,
    The first article about Niki goes into respectability politics a bit and I first learned about Janelle Monae here at least over a year ago. I love her.

    Thanks for the hoodfeminism link!

  50. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    SallyStrange

    That list of 10 Hip Hop Feminists must be old or else it’d have Jean Grae and Angel Haze on it. :)

    It’s just from Jan. this year. Angel Haze, Melange Lavonne and Niki Minaj were mentioned in the comments tho.

  51. knowknot says

    @51 mudpuddles
     
    Thanks for the link. I’ll be looking into this further.
     
    And… OK. I think I get a little of what bell hooks is after, or at least the spare threads.
     
    As her argument that commercialization of a separate culture’s differences promotes a cultural atmosphere in which the real differences are erased, displacing the “Other’s” culture (and self) while hiding the presence and effects of

    he consumer cannibalism that not only displaces the Other but denies the significance of that Other’s history through a process of decontextualization.

     
    Can’t help but get that, given… just off the top, Iggy Azalea’s absolute lift of black vernacular, accent and inflection, Macklemore in general, and who knows what all else.
     
    And the “decontextualization” is obvious everywhere as well, at a minimum in the purely entertainment value of being black in the media.
     
    At the same time, as a very white person, born and bred, I have to admit that there are expressive elements in black culture that are a whole hell of a lot more expressive of my own crap than anything I was raised with. Sad. So, IF these people are doing this for ANY reason other than success, I understand… but only just barely, maybe. What we’ve got going on is Al Jolson level stuff, which is acceptable because I don’t know why.
     
    But, dammit, I wish literary academics could write in such a way that good ideas don’t get bent in transit to regular heads. And yeah, I know, I’m a Philistine.
     
    I do not entirely follow how this falls explicitly on Beyoncé’s head, and it’s not because I’m a huge fan. I just really don’t; I can’t wrap it. I won’t even try to explain why because at this point it would sound more ignorant than even I can endure publicly.
     
    The upshot is that I’m not sure how any of this impugns Beyoncé’s feminism, other than in whole-cloth-Marxist-opiate-of-the-masses-get-off-the-capatalist’s-stage-terms. Because whyever, and I’m stuck owning it.
     
    Maybe someone should just draw up the best of all possible Beyoncés, so I could grasp it all. Because, after all, I’m sure the hypothetical everyone is best.

  52. says

    Conservatives are confused: they have this picture in their heads of feminists as dour old prudes in shapeless clothes who want to kill men (see also stupid Scot anti-feminist). This portrayal is their major marketing strategy — why would anyone want to be a feminist? You have to hate sex and hate men and hate nice clothes and hate fun in order to be a feminist!

    From what I have seen, the feminist movement is actually pretty divided over the whole sex issue. You have the “sex-positive” feminists like Beyonce and Nicki Minaj who advocate openly embracing female sexuality, and then you have the “sex-negative” kind who seem to think any expression of that sexuality is catering to male objectification. Or something like that. I presume the “dour old prudes who want to kill men” stereotype is based on the latter trend. Of course, right-wing ideologues are not known for taking the effort to discern that their opponents are not one homogenous horde.

    That said, while I don’t believe the majority of serious feminists hate men, I have nonetheless observed that there really are man-hating women who jump onto the feminist bandwagon. I once had to cut friendship ties with a young lady who ended up proclaiming herself a “separatist feminist” after spending too much time on tumblr, but then she was an impressionable and angst-ridden adolescent.

  53. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    #61 knowknot

    At the same time, as a very white person, born and bred, I have to admit that there are expressive elements in black culture that are a whole hell of a lot more expressive of my own crap than anything I was raised with. Sad. So, IF these people are doing this for ANY reason other than success, I understand… but only just barely, maybe. What we’ve got going on is Al Jolson level stuff, which is acceptable because I don’t know why.

    The problem is when you grow up immersed in it, not just picked up from media, you learn early how important it is HOW you do it. You don’t shit where you eat. While Macklemore grew up in Seattle and Iggy’s from Australia, she left when a teen specifically to be a rapper.

    I’m white, and have always been poor with a shitty family. The people who understood me were my community: poor minorities. I grew up on rap and that’s what I connect with. As bad as I had it, I saw how much worse it was because of their skin color. Even surround by it, you’re not a member because their struggle as POC is different from mine. And no one around me gave me shit for liking it, but they will call you out on when you’re not being authentic and playing black. There’s a difference between how you talk because of your environment and trying too hard to identify with people of other cultures. I can’t tell you specifically how but you can. It’s just one of those things.

    For some background: Hip Hop, which encompasses rap, started in the ghettos and has always had socially and politically conscious aspects. It’s only recently where it’s been acceptable (to other white people) for whites to make such music.

    There’s also a very interesting conversation how the music industry run, by rich white men of course, has obscured positive, aware Hip Hop and promoted gansta rap to make themselves money off black backs. Again. Which conveniently supports the racial narrative.

    To further that, General Electric makes weapons, owns prisions and owns Interscope which brought Death Row Records to life. Death Row Records was huge in making gansta rap blow up. I really recommend this video linked in that article. His music video, Illuminati talks about corruptions, corporations, and how Jay Z’s been targeted as being apart of the traditional Illuminati conspiracy. (Triangles everywhere and such.) Here’s a breakdown of the lyrics.

    So really, their mimicking what white people have made of black culture exporting it to others for money, not actually apart of it.

    (Part One, broken up because links.)

  54. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    (Part Two)
    I’m quite alright with saying “Fuck off white people” when it comes to hip hop. We’ve cause enough fucking problems and have done nothing but further drown the positive and not just create, but promote the negative. But these issues are being discussed, they are reclaiming their music, their bodies, and their movement from the fragments whites have divided them into for their pleasure. To say hey, it’s awesome music and just run with it, spits in the faces of black people, completely ignoring history and context.

    And Macklemore is applauded for his song about marriage equality and is a weapon against black culture to support the racial narrative.

    Fucking white people.

  55. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    Oh, actually meant to include this link about Macklemore, which has Tupac’s changes at the end of it. Incidentally, that was the first rap song I ever heard. Still love that song and still it’s true.

  56. =8)-DX says

    @Inaji #32

    Rob:

    but anyone with more guts, brains and balls

    Really?
    :Sigh:

    Machine-gun ovaries more like it. (Are contra-stereotype gendered metaphors ok nowadays?)

  57. rq says

    re: Rob‘s comment on guts, brains and balls, and subsequent
    Maybe we should just settle on the fact that it isn’t our genitals that define us, or others, as full, competent, brave and amazing human beings.

    +++

    Back on topic: I love this image. I loved Jenny Trout’s analysis (thanks to Mellow Monkey for linking), plus I caught a further twitter exchange on the topic that can be found here.
    Also, this series of tweets seems relevant:

    What they don’t consider is how different “womanhood” is for women of colour, especially Black women.

    I’ve never been into Beyoncé’s music, but this was an awesome, awesome move.

  58. hillaryrettig says

    This is a big deal, and I’m guessing that it will later be seen as some kind of turning point in the culture. I don’t doubt Beyonce’s sincerity for a moment, but I also don’t doubt that, had she or her handlers viewed coming out as a feminist as risky to her popularity or marketability, she wouldn’t have done it. She’s no radical or even an especially political performer.

    I truly believe the US is gearing up for another progressive revival. The Internet is a force for progressivism and people are getting fed up with conservatives, who every year seem more depraved and dysfunctional. When a mainstream performer like Beyonce feels free to come out as a feminist – and makes coming out an integral part of her act – change is in the wind.

  59. madtom1999 says

    Ragdish #8 “There is a valid argument in feminist discourse that her “choice” in the video to appear sexy is a manifestation of internalizing a sexist patriarchal culture that objectifies women.”
    So women cant be … er … women because men already fucked it up for them?

  60. Thomas Hobbes says

    Though I agree with the message, I am having some problems with the messenger. Beyoncé is using her position to make a feminist statement. Which by itself is great. However, she reached that position not only by her skills but also by her looks, that conform to every damn cliché about female beauty. No doubt she is sincere about how being sexy is her own choice. But how it shows totally agrees with what is dictated by a heterosexual male dominated society.

  61. Thomas Hobbes says

    To clearify things, since the topic is already being discussed: I am happy with the statement Bevoncé makes, but like Ragdish I wonder how free her choice really is. In a society where standards are set by Lego Friends, that’s a very valid question.

  62. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    Oh shut the fuck up, Thomas Hobbes.

    *sigh*

    Guess I should say fuckin’ white guys. Damnit.

  63. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Guess I should say fuckin’ white guys. Damnit.

    QFT. The unexamined privilege never ceases.

  64. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    What a lovely catch-22.

    In today’s society, a woman can rarely make it unless she’s attractive. When an attractive woman is successful, no matter how positive her message is, it will be undermined because her looks are part of what makes her successful.

    *headdesk*

    Hey, it’s problematic that it’s still difficult for women to succeed in entertainment industry unless they are attractive.
    That’s a fair point and very much worth discussing.

    That fact shouldn’t distract us from messages that women like Beyoncé and Minaj are sending. It’s a different conversation, or rather, a part of the same conversation as long as you are not using it to undermine the other part.

    You are doing it wrong.

  65. Anri says

    One quibble with the OP:

    You know what else I’ve noticed? While feminists can have joy and strength in their lives, MRAs come across as bitter, angry, frustrated whiners. I think their marketing strategy has backfired on them!

    When a goddist criticizes atheists as dour, humorless, joyless people, should we point out that (stereotyping aside) that’s a spurious argument?
    Or should we say “Hey, yeah, good point, I’ve said that about groups I want to slag on, too!”

    If an apologist remarked that atheists came across as angry or frustrated, should we point out that our anger has a pretty specific set of causes and is a good thing?
    Or should we apologize and get right on working on our marketing strategy?

    (And, to forestall potential comments about being humor impaired, if the person in the above examples followed up with “I’s just joshin’ ya, lighten up!” would we accept that comment?)

    MRA’s are wrong because they’re wrong, not because they seem unhappy to you, to me, or to anyone in particular.

  66. rq says

    that conform to every damn cliché about female beauty

    Oh really? She looks kinda black to me. I thought every clich&eactue; means ‘pasty white’.

  67. rq says

    (Emphasis mine, above.)
    Also, What Beatrice said @76: a successful attractive woman, some of whose success relies on the fact that she is attractive, cannot be a feminist because she is too attractive. What the hell? It’s like all those ‘it’s not about race until it is’ cartoons going around – ‘it’s not about the looks until it is’. :P (Kind of a bad comparison, I know, sorry.)

  68. says

    From what I have seen, the feminist movement is actually pretty divided over the whole sex issue. You have the “sex-positive” feminists like Beyonce and Nicki Minaj who advocate openly embracing female sexuality, and then you have the “sex-negative” kind like this one adolescent girl I knew this one time who seem to think any expression of that sexuality is catering to male objectification.

    Fixed it for you.

    Someone must stop this scourge of adolescent girls getting carried away with lesbian separatism on tumblr!

  69. says

    Seriously though, as with Ferguson, Twitter can provide valuable insight and a direct window into what’s going on here. Black feminists have been defending Beyonce’s self-expression and consciously chosen expression of feminism for years now, mostly against bogus criticism by white feminists. And, now, I guess, everyone else as well.

  70. Thomas Hobbes says

    All right, so now we shouldn’t discuss social pressure on women because one of them calls herself a feminist and I am a white guy?

    BTW, how do you know I’m a white guy?

    As Beatrice pointed out: It’s a different conversation, or rather, a part of the same conversation as long as you are not using it to undermine the other part.

    I am not undermining Beyoncés message. I wholeheartedly agree with it.

  71. Saad says

    ceesays #54

    I think it comes from a very deeply ingrained idea for men to want to be in control of women in general. Seeing a woman dressing however she wants flies in the face of that. Traditionally, the form of control men have wanted on women is to have them covered up. Since that is no longer an option in the civilized world, they’re left with an empty hole there. It’s too much for them to accept that a woman is dressing the way she wants to. It must be because she has no choice but to dress that way for men. Hah! See? We still control her!

    (Of course I don’t mean all men here. But it is an underlying thing in male thinking in many societies)

    On a slightly related note, MRA is pretty much the gender version of the people who say there’s a war on Christmas/Christianity. Open your eyes and look around, morons.

  72. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    Thomas Hobbes @ 82

    All right, so now we shouldn’t discuss social pressure on women because one of them calls herself a feminist and I am a white guy?

    We talk about it all the fucking time and usually the pushback we get is shitheads trying to deny that there’s any social pressure on women to be a certain way. The instant we’re shown an example of someone saying “fuck it” to those expectations and we want to talk about that and the impact of it, then all the same shitheads show up and say “yeah but there’s so much social pressure on women to fit into a certain mold and that kind of means she didn’t really choose freely.”

    It’s almost as if what the shitheads really want is to make sure that all the silly womminz don’t get too attached to the idea that they have choices.

  73. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    @ Thomas Hobbes

    Funny, that was exactly my point. So why the quarrel?

    Because it’s not what you said?

  74. says

    Cuz you fucked up making your point in a way that made it seem like you think that the social pressure is SO UNBEARABLY OVERBEARING that actually Beyonce must have been a brainwashed tool of the patriarchy for her to “choose” (you’re implying that she didn’t actually choose) to look sexy and fabulous.

    Do better.

  75. says

    Nothing to say about the fact that Beyonce’s blackness is a major flaw in your “she’s just conforming to all the beauty cliches” hypothesis, Dudebro?

  76. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    It’s like you completely missed the point I was making.

  77. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    #86Thomas Hobbes

    @Seven of Mine – Funny, that was exactly my point. So why the quarrel?

    …You do realize we can scroll up and read what you wrote right? Because that’s not what you said originally at all. Nor what you said in #82

    All right, so now we shouldn’t discuss social pressure on women because one of them calls herself a feminist and I am a white guy?

    Yeah, that’s totes not denying her agency, choices, or feminism. *eyeroll*

  78. Brony says

    @ Ichthyic 1
    I came in to make that very comment. Now I get to claim you are citing me (referencing recent Vox article for anyone confused)

  79. Brony says

    @ Thomas Hobbes
    If I might help from the position of a white guy with many childish tendencies who spends a lot of time soaking up other perspectives.

    Though I agree with the message, I am having some problems with the messenger. Beyoncé is using her position to make a feminist statement. Which by itself is great. However, she reached that position not only by her skills but also by her looks, that conform to every damn cliché about female beauty. No doubt she is sincere about how being sexy is her own choice. But how it shows totally agrees with what is dictated by a heterosexual male dominated society.

    The messenger is contextualized by the culture in which she exists. A culture that places ridiculous meaning on physical attractiveness. As a person that has managed to navigate and benefit from that culture she has a position that gives her power and she is choosing to use it to counter specific messages in regards to feminism (for example the many people that do the “feminists are all ugly bitter women” thing). In any social effort people can both attack from outside the current system, or work to change it from the inside. Both are critical elements in social change. I’m an outside-the-system person myself but if the message is good the fact that one is associated with a troubling culture does not cause problems for the message, it causes problems with people who have too much group-think and can’t separate content (emotional and logical) from the groups, symbols, and authorities that they find troubling for otherwise good reasons.
    It just happens that you are touching on (probably unintentionally but still…) a very common means of dismissing women in many social respects. Physical attractiveness (presance or lack of) is used as a social weapon and means of keeping women in a certain “social place”. From dismissing and ignoring the functional/material contributions to society,
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRNt7ZLY0Kc
    …to, yes, taking power from their messages because they are unavoidably (but irrelevantly) categorically connected to the problem.

    The fact that you think that her choice might somehow be compromised, yet you can’t articulate how at the outset and want to question her motives (?), or sincerity is a thing that you should think about. If you can’t actually say how her message is compromised and instead are simply worried that it might be, why are bringing it up? You should only weaken an attempt at changing society for the better if you have reasonable and justified knowledge that she is in fact a detriment to the cause. Otherwise you are simply acting on feelings without knowledge and while I am not dismissing your feelings, you have to know that you are now twitching a lot of filters that are sensitive for good reason.

  80. Crimson Clupeidae says

    Beatrice@76:
    Yep. I just overheard a conversation between two of my coworkers discussing how a woman, who also happens to be a minority, was ‘fastracked’ because of those qualifications in a moderately high government position.

    *sigh* And this is on the relatively progressive left coast, although this local area is a bit less than progressive than the Puget Sound area, that’s fer damn sure.

  81. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    Not too long ago I was watching one of my favorite broadcasters on Twitch TV and there was a conversation about how much easier it is for female streamers to be popular, because, ya know, boobs. Really? Is that why there aren’t more than 1 or 2 female broadcasters in the top 100 channels? Not to mention that, to the extent that female broadcasters attract any viewers because of boobs, those viewers are, without exception, sexist fucks who sit in chat and make lewd comments at them.

  82. says

    You may write me down in history
    With your bitter, twisted lies,
    You may trod me in the very dirt
    But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

    Does my sassiness upset you?
    Why are you beset with gloom?
    ‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
    Pumping in my living room.

    Just like moons and like suns,
    With the certainty of tides,
    Just like hopes springing high,
    Still I’ll rise.

    Did you want to see me broken?
    Bowed head and lowered eyes?
    Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
    Weakened by my soulful cries?

    Does my haughtiness offend you?
    Don’t you take it awful hard
    ‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
    Diggin’ in my own backyard.

    You may shoot me with your words,
    You may cut me with your eyes,
    You may kill me with your hatefulness,
    But still, like air, I’ll rise.

    Does my sexiness upset you?
    Does it come as a surprise
    That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
    At the meeting of my thighs?

    Out of the huts of history’s shame
    I rise
    Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
    I rise
    I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
    Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

    Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
    I rise
    Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
    I rise
    Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
    I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
    I rise
    I rise
    I rise.

    -Sill, I Rise, Maya Angelou, 1978. (Emphasis mine).

  83. Thomas Hobbes says

    It appears that I didn’t make myself clear. To the short tempered people, I’ll try to clarify myself in your own kind of language. Maybe then you’ll understand.

    First of all, I am not talking about women. I am talking about Beyoncé. Also, I am not talking about attractiveness. I am talking about conforming to every sexist stereotype in the book. And to those who cannot read: I am not talking about race at all.

    Now look at the picture. The figure, to the right of the word “feminist”, do you think that is a woman? It is not. It is not even a human being. It is a fucking Barbie doll.
    Her appearance, her music, her movie, every damn thing about Beyoncé is a submission to the standards of the masses. Nothing about her is real, genuine or authentic. If feminism is about free choice, then Beyoncé has nothing to do with it.
    Beyoncé making a case for feminism is like Mother Theresa making a case for hospital care. The message may be right, but the messenger is not qualified.

    We all worry about the influence of culture and media. We loathe the excess of pink toys. We loathe the billboards with super models, making our daughters insecure and vulnerable. Now here is a singer that was born photoshopped, and you applaud her because she said she likes being sexy? Fuck that. A Lego Friend would say the same if it could talk.

    If you want to applaud an attractive feminist role model, than please pick Angelina Jolie, or Ellen Page, or Natalie Portman. But Beyoncé Knowles? Meh.

  84. says

    First of all, I am not talking about women. I am talking about Beyoncé. Also, I am not talking about attractiveness. I am talking about conforming to every sexist stereotype in the book. And to those who cannot read: I am not talking about race at all.

    Now look at the picture. The figure, to the right of the word “feminist”, do you think that is a woman? It is not. It is not even a human being. It is a fucking Barbie doll.
    Her appearance, her music, her movie, every damn thing about Beyoncé is a submission to the standards of the masses. Nothing about her is real, genuine or authentic. If feminism is about free choice, then Beyoncé has nothing to do with it.

    You’re just a man having a fucking temper tantrum in the middle of the floor because no one thinks your personal taste is relevant to the discussion. So, Thomas – your personal taste is not relevant, and even more to the point, you spent a fair amount of time dehumanizing a living, breathing, thinking human being, reducing her to nothing more than a despised plastic toy. So, you aren’t a good person to be talking about women, or feminism, or humanity, or sexiness, or anything else. You aren’t fit for much, actually, so please, now that you ruined a really nice moment that us stupid, uppity women were enjoying, please go find something else to do with your self, or at the very least, find a different group of people to inflict yourself upon.

  85. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    Thomas Hobbes #99

    And to those who cannot read: I am not talking about race at all.

    But you can’t disconnect race because a POC woman goes through life as both, it’s never one or other.

    Now here is a singer that was born photoshopped, and you applaud her because she said she likes being sexy? Fuck that. A Lego Friend would say the same if it could talk.

    She’s not a fucking object, toy, or ad.

    If you want to applaud an attractive feminist role model, than please pick Angelina Jolie, or Ellen Page, or Natalie Portman. But Beyoncé Knowles? Meh.

    Notice how they’re all white? Except Beyonce. Hmmm.

  86. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    Thomas Hobbes @ 99

    It appears that I didn’t make myself clear.

    Oh you were clear enough. The problem is you were trying to be opaque and we saw through you and now you’re gonna throw a tantrum.

  87. says

    Oh, and Thomas? The figure in the picture? That’s known as a silhouette. Consider that your free education for the day, you flaming dipshit of a doucheweasel.

  88. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Thomas, thanks for making your point clear. There was some lingering doubt after your first couple of comments, but now it’s clear your point was exactly what I thought it was, and for which I gave an explanation why it was wrong.

  89. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Thomas,

    Now look at the picture. The figure, to the right of the word “feminist”, do you think that is a woman? It is not. It is not even a human being. It is a fucking Barbie doll.

    Fuck you and your dehumanization of a woman.

    Now here is a singer that was born photoshopped, and you applaud her because she said she likes being sexy?

    It’s not a problem that she’s attractive, it’s a problem that she’s too attractive. Of course, that clears everything up.

    If you want to applaud an attractive feminist role model, than please pick Angelina Jolie, or Ellen Page, or Natalie Portman. But Beyoncé Knowles?

    Why them?
    Why are they so different?
    Take Angelina Jolie? Why is, for example, the role of her breasts in Tomb Rider not disqualifying her?

  90. says

    Beatrice:

    Why them?
    Why are they so different?

    I think Thomas’s choice of words gives it away: attractive role model. Attractive isn’t necessarily the same as sexiness. Bodacious sexiness seems to scare Thomas. This is why I posted the Maya Angelou poem, and highlighted the one verse:

    Does my sexiness upset you?
    Does it come as a surprise
    That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
    At the meeting of my thighs?

    That’s a sheer, joyous celebration of sexuality and sexiness, a refusal to conform down to what some people feel is an acceptable level of attractiveness. I expect for the Thomases of the world, it’s venturing into “oh gods, slut!” territory.

  91. rq says

    Thomas
    Ever think that maybe, for a black woman, to present herself proudly as sexual and sexy is different than for all those white women who have always been allowed to be sexy, attractive people?
    But no. Now a black woman dares to stand up for women of colour, to proclaim herself a feminist for being feminine and beautiful, because black women traditionally have been either masculinized or over-sexualized (femininininity was not for black women, only white ones), and this is somehow bad. Now a black woman has ‘usurped’ white-woman attractive stereotypes, and this is somehow bad?
    Why are you so afraid of finding Beyoncé attractive, feminine and strong?

    Inaji
    I loved the poem. Amazing how it fits.

  92. Brony says

    @Thomas Hobbes

    Now look at the picture. The figure, to the right of the word “feminist”, do you think that is a woman? It is not. It is not even a human being. It is a fucking Barbie doll.

    Stop. Go find out how she feels about herself. If she likes all of that the proper response is “meh”. That she likes a different standard than yours, that she likes a standard more in line with more popular ideas of beauty is utterly irrelevant to the overall message. There are many kinds of feminists with many ideas about beauty.
    This basically translates to “that woman won’t stop adopting standards of beauty I don’t like!”

    Her appearance, her music, her movie, every damn thing about Beyoncé is a submission to the standards of the masses. Nothing about her is real, genuine or authentic. If feminism is about free choice, then Beyoncé has nothing to do with it.

    So you complain about the fact that she appears to be adopting the standards of broader society, and you want her to adopt different ones because of how you feel. You know that the idea is for women to stop getting marginalized for looks right?
    *Holds up mirror to Thomas Hobbes*
    Hypocrite much?

    Beyoncé making a case for feminism is like Mother Theresa making a case for hospital care. The message may be right, but the messenger is not qualified.

    Analogies only work when explained. Beyoncé portraying herself like this is keeping with feminist ideas on beauty since society tries to use perceived beauty against women just as much as a perceived lack of it. You don’t get to rule out half of that equation, especially when you are using her choices in what is beautiful to marginalize her. You are quite literally the problem she is speaking out against.

    We all worry about the influence of culture and media. We loathe the excess of pink toys. We loathe the billboards with super models, making our daughters insecure and vulnerable. Now here is a singer that was born photoshopped, and you applaud her because she said she likes being sexy? Fuck that. A Lego Friend would say the same if it could talk.

    We loathe the lack of choice, and freedom. We loathe the social pressure for some ideals, only to have those ideals used as weapons against women no matter if they follow the ideals or not. We could get rid of all the stuff you just mentioned and society would just pick another standard to use. The social mechanisms that use the standards are the real target. You are screaming at proxies.

    If you want to applaud an attractive feminist role model, than please pick Angelina Jolie, or Ellen Page, or Natalie Portman. But Beyoncé Knowles? Meh.

    I suspect that your ability to choose feminist role-models is severely compromised. I will try to avoid getting biased against the women that you just mentioned because you mentioned them.

    And that “meh” at the end was clearly dishonest. You have a lot of emotion invested in telling women what role-models they should pick.

  93. ceesays says

    and notice how hobbes upheld white women as good examples while decrying a black woman as a bad one. But if you asked him to uphold beautiful black women feminists as role models to choose, I’m betting he wouldn’t be able to manage it,

    And there’s a reason for that, don’t doubt it.

  94. chimera says

    Beyoncé is not Rihanna or any other black woman singer or any other woman singer or any other singer, artist or person. And she’s definitely not just a body. She’s a very particular individual with an inspiring life who brings all of what she is to the word “feminist” and that, no matter how you look at it, is a good thing for women everywhere.

  95. s3m3rs says

    Long time Pharyngula lurker and FTB reader – and I am astounded @Thomas Hobbes –

    Particularly his examples of beautiful – ahem- White – feminists.

    Re: the Jolie effect. When the media frenzy began in earnest about Ms. Jolie, the trend on red carpets shifted away from blondes, and, excitingly for those who do follow fashion, leaned hard towards brunettes. Many women changed up their look at this time of her popularity, and it Was called the Jolie effect. Beauty ideals conforming to the look of a particular woman.

    As someone (slightly too old to be this obsessively) following fashion, I have seen the influence of Beyonce Knowles-Carter (note, her husband Changed HIS name to include hers too) in fashion, modelling, music, movies, and art. Fashion, the beauty industry, the modeling industry, the music industry, Are Conforming to HER.

    It’s incredibly convenient to her that she has the stunning looks she does. It opened doors for her that are shallowly unavailable to most. Billy Joel stated, in an interview about 6 yrs ago or so, that he’d never have made it as a songwriter/musician if he’d started out in the 90’s – his look wasn’t attractive enough. To lambaste her feminist credentials as unworthy only flies if she Didn’t actively endorse her female back up band, didn’t give a hand up and recognition to up and coming female artists, if she didn’t obsessively manage her career for herself. With the help of her management team under Her pay, and her direction.

    Thomas Hobbes, you can mislike her or dislike her all you want, but she’s a far more subversive, successful, and credible feminist than many. I hope you seriously rethink your position.

  96. s3m3rs says

    ugh. hell with it. Got distracted in my response. Actually, even if she didn’t do all the things I mentioned in her career to ‘lift up’ other women, she’d still be a feminist with worthy credentials. If she believes in the equality of the sexes, and supports that goal, she’s a worthy feminist.

  97. Brony says

    For attempts to reinforce behaviors that one is opposed to disguised as “arguments” such as the one Thomas Hobbes is using, this might help to point out the nonsense in an analogical way. Especially for the types that are not as receptive to distilling patterns out of collections of personal experiences because they have a problem temporarily inhibiting their own personal experience.
    http://www.alternet.org/activism/should-we-fight-system-or-be-change
    “Strategic” vs. “prefigurative” politics. Changing the system from the outside in, or the inside out.

    Both have their place.

  98. says

    ceesays:

    and notice how hobbes upheld white women as good examples while decrying a black woman as a bad one. But if you asked him to uphold beautiful black women feminists as role models to choose, I’m betting he wouldn’t be able to manage it,

    And there’s a reason for that, don’t doubt it.

    Yes, the bigotry is clear. I imagine Thomas has a class hang-up as well, and simply doesn’t accept that a very sexy woman can be seen as classy, especially when she’s walking around with a certain shade of skin.

  99. s3m3rs says

    Brony, thank you for the link (although much higher level than my typical reading material!!) but the link is def. applicable to the dissonance between why I see her as a feminist, and Hobbes sees her as unworthy of claiming the label of feminist.

    Inaji, I agree there’s some bigotry and classism as well, I noted he didn’t uphold Michelle Obama or Oprah Winfrey, or Tina Turner, or Angela Bassett, Halle Berry, If you are going to say Beyonce is a bad celebrity role model, there are easily found examples of successful, admired, high profile feminists who are also women of color.

  100. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    she never wanted
    no never once
    did she wanna
    be white/to pass
    dreamed only of bein darker
    she wanted to be darker
    not yellow/not no high brown neither
    but brown/warm brown
    she dreamed her body
    moist earth brown
    she prayed for chocolate
    semi/sweet/bitter/sweet
    dark chocolate nipples crownin
    her small chested tits
    2 hersheys kisses
    sitting sweet like top of
    2 round scoops of smooth
    milk chocolate ice cream

    momma took her outta
    almost all black lincoln high
    cuz she useta catch hell
    every day in gym class
    the other girls reaction to her like
    she was the cause of some
    kinda gawdawful allergy they all had
    contact could be fatal
    survivors would be scarred
    with kindness
    cuz she wasn dark enuf
    was smart enuf
    wasn rowdy enuf
    had a white girl friend
    cuz none of them would be

    beige or buff/ecru or chamois
    jus wasn color/ed enuf
    to get picked for the softball team
    wasn sufficient protection
    gainst getting tripped in the shower

    she wondered/
    would they have treated florence ballard
    so shabbily

    but she envied them all
    felt every once now and then
    they just might been
    righteously justified
    since/after all
    they was brown like
    the sun loved they skin special
    cuz it warmed ‘em

    chestnut
    bronze
    copper
    sepia
    cinnamon
    cocoa
    mahogany

    her/she was drab faded out
    yellow like a scorched july sky
    just fore it rains & rinses
    away the hint of brown from the smog

    she wasn/
    no maureen peal
    no ‘high yellow dream child’
    not/dichty
    a hex muttered
    not/hinkty
    a curse let fly
    not/saditty
    like girls was spozed to be
    did they went to catholic school or
    was they from germantown or
    baldwin hills or
    valencia park

    (the man she married/cuz he was the first one to ask/her
    bein afraid no body else would/said he thought he was gonna
    hafta marry hisself white cuz/he couldn find him no colored
    girl was/in-tel-li-gent e-nuff/but with her bein the next
    best thing to white…

    on not bein
    by
    mary hope lee
    who in 1978
    published this
    as the perfect/future
    fuck you
    to Thomas Hobbes’ leviathan privilege
    in using this thread
    to remind everyone
    that Beyoncé has no
    need
    to worry about
    no beauty standards

  101. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    fuck
    apparently wordpress strips spaces at the beginning of lines.

    Original formatting preserved in “this bridge called my back” collected by Moraga and Anzaldúa (may her memory never fade). Go buy a copy.

  102. chimera says

    This discussion here reminds me somewhat of the “Good message, bad messenger” polemic that came up around a celebrity sports figure who had Michael Brown printed on his shirt the day of the latter’s funeral. Also of the whole defense / smearing of Michael Brown, which is basically about black people’s right to simply be (independently of being bad or good).

    One of my favorite philosophers said something on the radio the other day that struck me. He said his favorite black civil rights leaders of the 60s were The Black Panthers because they had no pretension of being “good” (read: appropriate, upstanding, notable, conforming, respectable, moral, role model for your kids, and all that….). And that a person doesn’t have to be “good” (in that sense) to call for political change. There’s certainly something to be said for this position.

  103. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Oh, holy cannibal crackers, batman. Really?

    I hadn’t read Thomas Hobbes’ #99 when I posted above. He still needed to read mary hope lee, obviously, but had I read #99 previously, I might have added a few less-than-polite thousands of words.

    I won’t bother fisking Thomas Hobbes seething, subsurface, anti-feministocracy proto-revolt, but I will comment when we get to:

    First of all, I am not talking about women. I am talking about Beyoncé.

    way to support the divine right of sexist men to advise and consent on the humanity and value of women

    Also, I am not talking about attractiveness. I am talking about conforming to every sexist stereotype in the book.

    Yes, exactly. Like the sexist stereotype of being barefoot and pregnant. Seen but not heard. Yes, of course. Pure and virginal. Scheming, conniving, tempting, the downfall of men/man. She does a great job of conforming to every sexist stereotype, like, ever.

    And to those who cannot read: I am not talking about race at all.

    Of course not. That would be ridiculous. We’re talking about gender, sexist stereotypes, attractiveness, and feminism. Race has never had any effects on gender, sexist stereotypes, attractiveness, or feminism.

    Now look at the picture. The figure, to the right of the word “feminist”, do you think that is a woman? It is not. It is not even a human being. It is a fucking Barbie doll.

    This is grotesque.

    Also, the iconic Barbie is fucking white as a Swiss milkmaid. That thing that you’re not talking about? Race, was it?

    You sure the hell are talking about it quite a bit for someone who’s not talking about it.

    PS: Fuck off.

  104. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @chimera:

    a person doesn’t have to be “good” (in that sense) to call for political change.

    This is absolutely vital for justice. Ophelia & I (just to pick two people one person who will be known to a lot of Pharyngula readers and one person writing this comment so as to limit the 3rd parties roped in) have actually had pretty serious disagreements at times. Let’s assume one of us is wrong in at least one of those serious disagreements.

    Does the party in error on an issue of justice lose the ability to call for political change? I should fucking hope not. That way lies the best insurance policy for which the status quo could ever ask. Because any time the status quo wanted to shut me up, they could quote someone who agrees with whatever position of Ophelia’s was in contention, and whenever they wanted to shut Ophelia up, they could quote someone who agrees with whatever position of mine was in contention (though probably not actually me, as I can’t really see the New Republic successfully demonizing someone on the basis that a random right reverend feminist fucktoy of Death & her handmaiden had chastised that person’s position on the nature or requirements of justice).

    BTW: This reminds me of an interview with, IIRC, Eldridge Cleaver. It may not have been with EC, but I think it was. It was played on the occasion of EC’s death in 1998 on the USA’s National Public Radio. Again, it could have been an interview with someone else reflecting on knowing and working with EC, but I think it was a posthumous rebroadcast of an actual EC interview.

    The speaker, who must have been Bobby Seale if not EC, talks about researching gun laws in California and the city ordinances of Los Angeles relating to firearms. It was, at the time, entirely legal to carry a loaded shotgun openly in CA and even within the municipal limits of LA. But, either by ordinance or statute, I’m not sure, they were prevented from having a round in the chamber while the weapon was carried in a moving vehicle. BS, EC, and 2 other men [I can’t remember if Newton was one] were described in the interview as patrolling a black neighborhood of LA looking for cops hassling Black folk. They found a couple of white cops out of their car talking to Black someone/s. They parked behind the cops (illegally) & piled out, remaining a sufficient distance away that there could be no doubt that they had left the cops the 30′ free of interference required by CA court precedent.

    The cops were, of course, disturbed to have 4 shotgun-armed young, Black men on the sidewalk with them. They gave the Panthers an order to stay back. The Panthers announced their intention to peaceably observe unless and until the cops broke the law themselves. The cops, not entirely sure what to do, turned back to the Black someone/s they had detained. At that point one of the Panthers, even the interviewee couldn’t remember who, recalled that out of the car the restriction on ammo in the chamber no longer applied. One panther jacked in a shell. Then 3 other Panthers in unison.

    The cops very courteously warned the Black someone/s about something or other, turned and nodded to the Panthers, got in their car and drove quickly off.

    Funnily enough, they did not bother to cite the Panthers for their quite-deserved parking violation.

    All this is to say, it’s not nice to put cops in fear for their lives, which I’m quite certain that they did. But the Panthers had quite the point that the cops were putting Black folk in fear of Black lives, which wasn’t any better. If we refuse to listen to the even the most generous, the best, and the most well-reasoned analysis of an Eldridge Cleaver because he once jacked a round into a shotgun chamber in an intimidating manner, we lose a fuckload of contributions to fundamental justice.

  105. knowknot says

    >>>offtrack alert<<<<
    @118 Brony

    Especially for the types that are not as receptive to distilling patterns out of collections of personal experiences because they have a problem temporarily inhibiting their own personal experience.

    Woo hoo (and cleaning the spewed coffee off the iPad).
    Loved that.

  106. knowknot says

    @112 Brony

    We could get rid of all the stuff you just mentioned and society would just pick another standard to use. The social mechanisms that use the standards are the real target. You are screaming at proxies.

    – (brief expansion of head)
    – This is lovely, and I’m pretty sure it has a long, bejeweled train of corollaries, applicable in various areas.

  107. knowknot says

    Not like it’s patonthebackday or anything, but damn… fertile ground here, apparently.
     
    @various locations Crip Dyke

    Also, the iconic Barbie is fucking white as a Swiss milkmaid.

    – (ping!) Being a person who tends to notice things, and in other cases TRIES to notice things… ¡the sillhouette is really black!
    – And yeah I know sillhouettes just are that, but… and the letters are stark against that! And yeah I know sillhouette backgrounds just are that but…
    – Nice. Thanks.
     

    Does the party in error on an issue of justice lose the ability to call for political change? I should fucking hope not. That way lies the best insurance policy for which the status quo could ever ask

    This one could be a whole entire seminar unto itself. Seriously. Something that is very often not played this way.

  108. Thomas Hobbes says

    There seem to be a lot of psychics here who know better than I do what I am thinking.

    I have been a feminist for all my adult life. I’m having trouble with everybody imposing stereotypes on women, including women imposing stereotypes on themselves and trying to be Real Women™. They are objectifying themselves. They may be happy about it, but it is the opposite of being feminist.

    So don’t tell me I am dehumanizing Beyoncé. She herself is. I merely pointed it out. You may think that I am misjudging her. You may be right. But if you are, it doesn’t make me a misogynist.

    And you don’t have to tell me what a privileged, heterosexual, middle class, middle aged, white man I am. I know that. It still doesn’t turn Beyoncé into a feminist.

    @JAL #103

    Notice how they’re all white?

    That’s a fair point. I’ll try to do better.

  109. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    Thomas Hobbes @ 130

    So don’t tell me I am dehumanizing Beyoncé. She herself is. I merely pointed it out.

    Unless you’re laying claim to psychic powers yourself, those are your perceptions of Beyonce you pointed out; not Beyonce’s perceptions of herself.

    And you don’t have to tell me what a privileged, heterosexual, middle class, middle aged, white man I am. I know that.

    If this were true, you’d be doing a hell of a lot more shutting the fuck up and listening and a hell of a lot less pontificating.

  110. chimera says

    Crip Dyke @ 126

    After posting what I did, I went and wikipedia-ed Eldridge Cleaver because I didn’t know much about The Panthers apart from having been a little white girl living in the area where they were active when they were active and having had Soul On Ice read aloud to me as a bedtime story. I wanted to see what it could have been that would make The Panthers so morally unacceptable and there’s really plenty in that department. But I’m a lot more interested in what motivates people to do things and in the conjuncture between the personal and the historical, and then in how the personal and collective histories unfold as a result of the conjuncture; more interested in that than I am interested in judging people on moral grounds. I am more interested in the way and the why things take shape than in judging people right or wrong, judging them as legitimate or illegitimate messengers, agents or figureheads. And now we have Beyoncé literally em-bodying feminism. All well and good, I say, full of the contradictions of our time and very interesting.

    But back again to E.C., his, this, rhyme has echoed through my life since childhood:

    loving you thus,
    and hating you so,
    my heart is torn in two,
    crucified

  111. rq says

    It still doesn’t turn Beyoncé into a feminist.

    She’s a feminist if she says she is. She’s allowed to be a bad feminist, a good feminist, the best feminist ever, the worst feminist ever – if she says she is, she is. We can disagree with her on what it means to be a feminist, by by damn, she’s written it up there in giant letters, and that should be the end of that.
    But let’s return to your list of actual feminists, there, Thomas. For example, Angelina Jolie. She looks pretty classy and sexy and attractive a lot of the time, in fact – pretty much all the time (or at least, is presented as such publicly). I don’t think I have ever heard her loudly proclaim herself as a feminist. So, considering that her career depends on her looks, and that she is very famous for her looks and attractiveness, why is she more of a feminist than Beyoncé? Is it because she’s done a lot for children in Africa?
    The same could be asked of Natalie Portman, especially considering Portman’s adherence to truly every cliché of beauty standards: why is she a feminist ideal, and not Beyoncé?
    But Beyoncé’s use of her current popularity and clout has been listed above – her professional assistance to other women of colour who are aspiring musicians and various other things she does for herself… Which means she does go beyond pouring herself into your imaginary Mold of Attractiveness. Does that make her less of a feminist?
    And how does being attractive deter from the achievement of her dreams? How does (perhaps accidentally) conforming to (some, external) patriarchal standards take anything away from her success? Do you consider it cheating?
    But what if her desire has always been to be a famous singer? How else is she to achieve that? Is she to deny herself until a non-patriarchal society comes along? (Good luck with that.) Should she become a teacher just because it’s too patriarchal of her to become a singer? Maybe she should be an ugly singer – not that she can help her looks.

    I’m having trouble with everybody imposing stereotypes on women, including women imposing stereotypes on themselves and trying to be Real Women™

    I doubt Beyoncé is out there, trying to be a Real Woman (whatever that is). I’m pretty sure she’s out there trying to be Beyonc&eacute, and doing damn well at it, too. By the way, which stereotype is she imposing on herself? The one about sexy, black women in control of their lives looking attractive on public stages without being emasculating? I think you have the wrong reality.

  112. Brony says

    @Thomas Hobbes

    There seem to be a lot of psychics here who know better than I do what I am thinking.

    I see people judging the substance of your statements. Where are people reading your mind? The “worst” that is present are inferences based on your own words.

    I have been a feminist for all my adult life. I’m having trouble with everybody imposing stereotypes on women, including women imposing stereotypes on themselves and trying to be Real Women™.

    You just blew a huge hole in your creditability. You never say you are a “group X” when taking actions in the name of that group. You take actions and when the people in the group you are trying to help tell you that you are a good ally THAT is when you EARN credibility. You let blacks use your bathroom too I take it?

    They are objectifying themselves. They may be happy about it, but it is the opposite of being feminist.

    Tell me what objectification is. No really.

    The problem with objectification is when a person does not unify the object with “person like themselves” in their mind. Objectification is the default state and can not be avoided. People perceived as attractive and unattractive are differently objectified. Each person needs to learn to unify the human object (or their parts) with the person. There is no other path and again you are screaming at proxies.

    So don’t tell me I am dehumanizing Beyoncé. She herself is. I merely pointed it out. You may think that I am misjudging her. You may be right. But if you are, it doesn’t make me a misogynist.

    I’ll describe what I see and if you can’t reasonably respond to it the situation is what it is. You are denying her identification as a feminist because of how you are objectifying and othering her without finding out if she likes the standards that she chooses. If you take actions consistent with a misogynistic culture people will notice the pattern and use appropriate labels.

    The problem that people have with popular culture is when it gives them no choice. I have ZERO problem if Beyoncé is CHOOSING what popular culture wants. I have zero problem if she is trying to make popular culture a choice for others from the inside (see what I said about prefigurative politics in 118). I have zero problem if she wants to specifically confront the tool that misogynists use to minimize women perceived as beautiful and a part of what is seen as popular culture. Risking one’s privilege in a social conflict is an honorable thing.

    And you don’t have to tell me what a privileged, heterosexual, middle class, middle aged, white man I am. I know that. It still doesn’t turn Beyoncé into a feminist.

    But it does make your ability to recognize one more suspect. It sucks and I have the same problem. But reality makes that problem rock-solid real and there are ways to credibly deal with it.

  113. anteprepro says

    Pro tip to Thomas Hobbes: Feminists and women can come in all shapes and sizes, styles and substances, colors and sounds. Just because a woman seems to look similar to the stereotypes of what a woman “should” be doesn’t suddenly make her less of a feminist. Just because a woman is pretty doesn’t her less of a feminist. Just because a woman is “feminine” doesn’t make her less of a feminist.

    I mean, really. Your argument is akin to saying that a black person couldn’t oppose racism and racial stereotypes if they also dared to dress in a way that was too “thuggish”. Or that you couldn’t REALLY be a gay person who opposes homophobia and stereotyping of gays if you also happened to talk with a lisp and you liked interior decoration.

    In other words: your argument is stupid and has the effect of shaming and silencing women who happen to fit the ideals for the gender. Without appreciating what you really should: the fact that a woman who supposedly fits neatly into the ideals for her gender STILL opposes though arbitrary standards, STILL opposes broadbrushing and stereotyping, STILL opposes the way that these expectations shackle others even if she supposedly benefits from same, she deserves MORE praise for taking her stance, not less.

    But I doubt you give two shits. Just here to shame a woman for being too uppity. Just here to insinuate that feminists need to be unfeminine or some shit. Step back and reassess your perspective. Feminism doesn’t need you to start policing appearances on their behalf, since that is one the exact problems that they stand against. Just because you are going in the opposite direction doesn’t change the effect that you are judging women by their appearance.

  114. Rowan vet-tech says

    @ Thomas Hobbes

    And you don’t have to tell me what a privileged, heterosexual, middle class, middle aged, white man I am. I know that. It still doesn’t turn Beyoncé into a feminist.

    As a privileged, heterosexual, lower-middle class, 30-something white woman let me tell you something… Identifying feminists, you are doing it wrong. As a woman, the way you described her was horrifying and dehumanising. I don’t care if you think it wasn’t. You said she wasn’t a woman. Wasn’t even human. FUCK THAT. I’m white. I’m super lucky in that, but considering all the racist imagery I’ve seen from ‘bygone eras’, I would bet that women of color have dealt with the ‘not even human’ claim a fucking great deal. And that is something that enrages me. You being a privileged asshat who is claiming to know better than us women how we should feel about stereotyping is also enraging. Shut the fuck up and listen.

  115. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Thomas,

    So don’t tell me I am dehumanizing Beyoncé. She herself is.

    When I put on make-up, heels and a dress, am I dehumanizing myself?

    Are fashion models dehumanizing themselves? Acttresses putting on their best for the red carpet? A 16-year-old tryong to look like a woman and not a girl when going out in the evening, accomplished with a lot of make-up and a deep cleavage?

    What a nice excuse you have to consider a large number of women less than human.

    Even if what you were saying about Beyoncé dehumanizing herself were true, what you did in your first comment was not pointing out what she was doing, it was doing it yourself. Dehumanizing her.

    And who the fuck are you to judge who is or isn’t a feminist?

  116. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    So, Thomas, how deep is your well of how to identify a fake feminist wisdom?

    How femme am I allowed to be before I’m not a feminist any more?
    But then again, how can a butch woman be a feminist when she is trying to be more like a stereotypical man than a woman**. Am I right or am I right?

    Hmmm, how can a woman be a feminist at all?

    Maybe we should just stop worrying our little heads with feminism and leave it to the men to handle us.
    ** description simplified

  117. knowknot says

    Thomas Hobbes
    – As an exercise clarity, could you explain how Beyoncé could rehumanize herself?
    – I’m not kidding. It’s not a goad. It appears clear that this would be an necessary first step prior to aspiring to becoming a feminist, for whatever value of feminist taken as meaningful.

  118. knowknot says

    Aaggghhh. PREVIEW.
    “As an exercise IN clarity.”
    Also: You keep defending that you have been a feminist all your adult life. Notice that no one has actually challenged that (to my knowledge), though they have disagreed with statements you’re making regarding feminism. I’m not saying you should allow the same to others who self identify as feminist, but I am saying that the need to offer defense may be, if unintentionally, serving as a sidetrack.

  119. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @pterryx, #135:

    I wish I could provide you a link to actual audio. You’ll have to source it to my fallible memory instead…albeit this is a really strong memory and i tend to be able to recognize when I’m nearing the edges of my memory’s reliability.

    @Thomas Hobbes, #130:

    don’t tell me I am dehumanizing Beyoncé. She herself is.

    Thomas Hobbes, permit me to introduce you to V. Blaming.
    V. Blaming: Thomas Hobbes, youngest son of the Vicar of Westport, former tutor of His Majesty Charles the Second, lately named Tutor of the Feminist Internet.

    Monsieur Blaming has been known as the child of Sexism and Accountability Avoidance, but given Blaming’s legendary strength and longevity, I tend to prefer the tale that would name Blaming the Bastard of Mme Avoidance and Antipatheos, who managed the improbable task of approaching Avoidance by transforming into the form of a Highly Rational Reason Those People Over There Suck.

  120. anteprepro says

    First of all, I am not talking about women. I am talking about Beyoncé. …The figure, to the right of the word “feminist”, do you think that is a woman? It is not. It is not even a human being. It is a fucking Barbie doll.

    You should realize that this is dehumanizing as fuck and apologize for it as soon as possible if you want to be taken be taken seriously and not be taken as horrid, putrid little troll.

    And to those who cannot read: I am not talking about race at all.

    Adorable. You do know you don’t need to be explicitly talking about race to be showing your racist prejudices right? Just sayin’.

    If feminism is about free choice, then Beyoncé has nothing to do with it.

    Feminism: About free choice, but only choices that Thomas Hobbes thinks are sufficiently iconoclastic.

    The message may be right, but the messenger is not qualified.

    Says the man, pontificating about feminism.

    We all worry about the influence of culture and media. We loathe the excess of pink toys. We loathe the billboards with super models, making our daughters insecure and vulnerable.

    The excess of pink toys are loathed because of the expectation that pink is only for girls and girls only like pink.
    Supermodels and insecurity is not about the supermodels being pretty: it is about obsession with women looking pretty as of prime importance, the expectation of trying to strive to be like these role model super models by striving for the lofty and vital lifetime goal of Looking Beautiful, and the fact that even these supermodels don’t look like the supermodels due to actual photoshopping. And I say actual because….

    Now here is a singer that was born photoshopped, and you applaud her because she said she likes being sexy?

    “Born photoshopped?” Fuck right the hell off, you disingenuous shitweasel.

  121. anteprepro says

    Incidentally: Thomas Hobbes seems to know only one whole thing that feminists are opposed to and that’s about it.

    Opposing rape culture? Advocating awareness of child and domestic abuse? Anti-discrimination and anti-harassment? Freedom to work? More accommodations for pregnant women? Critique of explicit and implicit sexism embedded in our language? Right to be independent and childless? Abortion rights? Birth control access? Equal pay? Removing expectation of woman as primary child care giver? More representation for women in positions of power? Fighting to make sure that the role of wife isn’t subservient to role of husband? Helping to alleviate cultural toxic masculinity?

    Nope. None of that. It’s all about pink, supermodels, and makeup. Feminism is just anti-girly girl stuff. Because of course.

  122. Brony says

    @ anteprepro
    It makes it harder for me to like pink “girly things” too (not taking away from Beyoncé, but connecting things to larger problems, let me know if I’m doing it badly).

    There might be guys that would like such characteristics for themselves but that position just demonizes the set of characteristics that this society and this time has decided have to be dismissed as “not feminist” as an excuse to apply social pressure. The rot is deep.

  123. Pteryxx says

    There’s a word for contempt of the pink girly-girly, femmephobia. Skepchick in 2011

    For one, there has occasionally been a bit of venom directed towards pink and pretty and “feminine” things themselves rather than on the way these things are forced upon girls or how girls are expected to prefer them, which can reflect both internalized misogyny (Lauren from Teen Skepchick wrote an excellent post on this) and the issue of “femmephobia”.

    Femmephobia, beautifully articulated in this article, is a particular subset of sexism that suggests that femininity and things regarded as feminine are inherently inferior, bad, weak, stupid, non-preferable, valueless, disempowering, etc.

    […]

    Along these same lines it seems that as we discuss the issue of “pink is for girls” we have seemed to forget about the corollary “blue is for boys” problem. Like Riley, we find it easy to see that not every girl or woman is necessarily going to want to stay within the strict confines of her assigned gender role, but find it a tad trickier to remember that boys and men face similar issues. As if to ask “Who could actually want to play with ponies and princesses?”

    I do!

    It’s similar to, say, focusing on equal pay while overlooking parental leave and support for parents who choose to stay home to raise children; or focusing on access to abortion and birth control while overlooking access to prenatal care. It’s only supporting choice and agency if people can choose from what’s been swept into either of the binary boxes, as suits them.

  124. Tethys says

    I’m having trouble with everybody imposing stereotypes on women, including women imposing stereotypes on themselves and trying to be Real Women™.

    In case you haven’t noticed Thomas Hobbs, womens bodies come with breasts and buttocks. You seem to be having trouble with a women reveling in all the fabulous sexiness of her body and seeing it as something that is worthy of pride and respect. Beyonce is proud of her very real, very female body, and refuses to be ashamed of using her sexuality as one of her many talents. That you see boobs, and declare that a woman being proud of her body is dehumanizing reveals some fairly misogynistic attitudes on your part towards woman and sex. Luckily, Beyonce herself has made a video expressing her views on the subject of her “girls”. Run The World In case symbolic imagery is not your thing, the lyrics are pretty clear that if you think her open sexuality is degrading herself solely for your viewing pleasure, you are a disrespectful fool who needs to check his thinking.

    Some of them men think they freak this like we do
    But no they don’t
    Make your check come at they neck,
    Disrespect us no they won’t

    Boy don’t even try to touch this
    Boy this beat is crazy
    This is how they made me
    Houston Texas baby ….. To other men that respect what I do
    Please accept my shine
    Boy I know you love it
    How we’re smart enough to make these millions
    Strong enough to bear the children
    Then get back to business
    See, you better not play me
    Oh, come here baby
    Hope you still like me
    F- you hate me

    The lyric is ” fuck you, pay me ” rather than “hate me” in the first stanza. I think the feminist message is loud and clear.

  125. says

    Thomas Hobbes:

    Now look at the picture. The figure, to the right of the word “feminist”, do you think that is a woman? It is not. It is not even a human being. It is a fucking Barbie doll.

    No shitwit, that’s a human being. A woman.
    One who, I might add, makes choices and decisions about her own life; apparently these choices and decisions are not to your approval-good thing neither she nor any of other woman needs your approval to express themselves as they choose.
    FUCK YOU asshole, for your dehumanization of Beyonce. If your goal was to post here and demonstrate your sexism and bigotry, congratulations–you’ve succeeded. Now get lost.

  126. says

    Thomas Hobbes:

    So don’t tell me I am dehumanizing Beyoncé. She herself is. I merely pointed it out. You may think that I am misjudging her. You may be right. But if you are, it doesn’t make me a misogynist.

    Says the guy who stated that Beyonce isn’t a human and called her a Barbie doll. That is dehumanization your fucking sexist fuckface. How you can sit there and cast judgment on Beyonce, claiming that the decisions she made are not her own, deciding that you know more about her and her motives than she does–while claiming to be a feminist is laughable. You cannot deny a woman her agency and refer to her as a doll and have people think you embrace gender equality.

  127. says

    Y’know what I find fascinating? Thomas came back to this thread to insist on his dehumanization of a woman, and in doing so, did manage to note one point:

    Thomas Hobbes @ 130:

    @JAL #103

    Notice how they’re all white?

    That’s a fair point. I’ll try to do better.

    So, you’ll try to do better, eh? Mind me askin’ just when you’re going to do better? You came back to this thread, and had a perfect opportunity to write “That’s a fair point, I can do better, I think _____ and ______ and _______ are good examples of WOC representing feminism.” You didn’t do that though, did you Thomas? You didn’t even respond the relevance of Maya Angelou and Mary Hope Lee to Beyoncé. A person might get the idea that you didn’t think it was worthwhile to look into the lives, works, ideas, and attitudes of Maya Angelou and Mary Hope Lee (among others) in the ’70s. A person might even get the idea that you shun WOC altogether.

  128. Thomas Hobbes says

    @Seven of Mine #132

    What would you like me to listen to?

    To the arguments proving that I’m wrong about Beyoncé, and that she really is a feminist? True, I haven’t heard those.

    To the stories of women in a misogynist world? What, do you think I developed my ideas in a vacuum? I grew up between feminist women. From my early teens till present day, I’ve studied, worked, dated and been friends with women, and I’ve always listened. When you hear me criticizing Beyoncé, you are hearing the echoes of everything I’ve heard from them.

    What do I have to do to make you listen? Do I have to find a black, female, feminist friend to tell you the obvious fact that you won’t take from a white guy: that Beyoncé is not a feminist?

    Funny how people telling me to listen refuse to listen themselves.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m shutting up and fucking off, as so many politely invited me to do.

  129. says

    The pool is now open on whether our erstwhile-totally-not-a-mansplainer can stick the landing, with 115 minutes the over/under on time of return, pending identification of his local timezone.

    I’m going with 20 quatloos on No, No Bet on the over/under.

    Just in case I’m wrong, maybe you should check, Thomas, with those women whose protective girlness you’re proclaiming, about their feelings on your pronouncing on whether a WOC is Doin’ It Rite or not. Since you’re so goshdarned feminist and all.

  130. Esteleth is Groot says

    Thomas Hobbes, your evidence that Beyoncé is not feminist seems to be:
    (1) she is naturally beautiful in a conventional manner
    (2) she is a successful recording artist
    (3) in her stage shows and videos, she is prone to artful makeup and costuming that shows off her body.

    Am I missing anything?

    Oh wait!

    I forgot the (4) that seems implicit in your arguments: Beyoncé is a woman of color.

  131. says

    CaitieCat:

    I’m going with 20 quatloos on No, No Bet on the over/under.

    I shall join you. And a side bet of 60 Quatloos on our erstwhile Fighter of the Pink not bothering to comment on Maya Angelou, Mary Hope Lee, the specific problems faced by WOC, or being able to name Fighter of the Pink Approved WOC representin’ Acceptable Feminism.

  132. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    Thomas Hobbes

    Do I have to find a black, female, feminist friend to tell you the obvious fact that you won’t take from a white guy: that Beyoncé is not a feminist?

    This is one of those questions like, “If we evolved from monkeys why are there still monkeys?” that is only coherent if you’re profoundly ill-informed about the topic at hand.

  133. says

    Do I have to find a black, female, feminist friend

    :Snort: :Thud: :Falls over laughing while trying not to choke on tea:

    Oh, and The Mighty Fighter of the Pink reaches through the bottom of the barrel to scrape up one of the oldest of tells: I have a female friend who thinks I’m right! Except, in this case, The Fighter of the Pink must go a’ searching for a black female friend.

  134. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m shutting up and fucking off, as so many politely invited me to do.

    Ah, but as is typical of those with overweening privilege, no shutting the fuck up and listening to those not as privileged. What an arrogant over privileged wanker you are.

  135. says

    Thomas Hobbes:

    What do I have to do to make you listen? Do I have to find a black, female, feminist friend to tell you the obvious fact that you won’t take from a white guy: that Beyoncé is not a feminist?

    You really could benefit from sitting on the bench of STFU and listening (thanks to Desert Son wherever he is) to what women are telling you. Your narrow definition of feminism is FALSE, and here you are telling a bunch of women, in this very thread, that they are the ones who have it wrong. You’re apparently the holy leader of TWOO FEMINISM and if women don’t meet your arbitrary standards, you get to boot them out of feminism.
    While you’re sitting down and shutting up, I hope you’re listening to what women say. You. Are. Wrong. About. Beyonce. You do not have the right to dismiss her humanity and her accomplishments. You’ve demonstrated a lack of understanding of feminism and the importance of gender equality for women. You need to do some introspection and figure out why you’re so keen to dismiss not only Beyonce’s stated feminism (speaking of which, her actions as a feminist icon are demonstrably in line with feminism, whereas people like Sarah Palin…not so much; as with you, just claiming to be a feminist isn’t enough), but her humanity as well.

  136. The Mellow Monkey: Singular They says

    Inaji @ 157

    Except, in this case, The Fighter of the Pink must go a’ searching for a black female friend.

    I can’t help but picture that going down like the feminist version of this.

  137. chigau (違う) says

    If the only way to be a Feminist™ is to reject EVERYTHING that The Patriarchy™ holds dear about Femininity™, isn’t The Patriarchy™ still controlling you?

  138. says

    a white guy: that Beyoncé is not a feminist?

    Oh, you are so disqualified. Beyoncé is not a feminist to you. That means jack and shit.

  139. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    If the only way to be a Feminist™ is to reject EVERYTHING that The Patriarchy™ holds dear about Femininity™, isn’t The Patriarchy™ still controlling you?

    Actually, my theory is the one is indifferent to The Patriarch™, and does what one wants to. If one wants to be a successful Pop Singer, a certain amount of “Sexy” is required. If you are comfortable with that, go with it and flaunt it….

  140. says

    Inaji:

    Except, in this case, The Fighter of the Pink must go a’ searching for a black female friend.

    Another amusing thing-the fuckwit doesn’t know the ethnic makeup of the commenters in this thread. It could very well be that among the approximately 43 or so commenters in this thread, one of them may well be a black, female feminist. Lo and behold, ceesays:

    Look
    If what I’m wearing or what my body looks like means that you think you can suck your teeth at me and mumble some bullshit about kowtowing to the patriarchy? you can kindly fuck off with that.
    I am black, I am feme, and I will show you my cleavage, my legs, my ass, I will drop it low and werk, and I will be respected. Or just plain out go fuck yourself, s’il vous plait.
    Is it too fucking hard for you to remember that women are people and deserving of respect if they’re bangin’? Poor baby.

    Thomas Hobbes, you don’t have to go anywhere to find a black, female feminist. There’s one (that we know of) in this very thread, so why aren’t you listening to what ceesays has to say on the subject?

    In addition to your misunderstanding of feminism, you have to racial prejudices you need to confront.

  141. says

    Nerd:

    Actually, my theory is the one is indifferent to The Patriarch™, and does what one wants to.

    Yep. That came up quite a bit in our Tdome discussion about Beyoncé, feminism, femininity, and related issues.

  142. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    One of the ultimiate recovery goals of the Redhead is to be able to wear her high heels again. I have some lower heeled sandals for intermediate retraining….Her desire, so I need to help it along, if possible.

  143. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    Tony!

    ceesays admitted to being femme, so she’s clearly disqualified from being a feminist. Get with the program already, gawsh.

  144. says

    Tony:

    Another amusing thing-the fuckwit doesn’t know the ethnic makeup of the commenters in this thread.

    Truth. There are also mixed race people in this thread. I’m one of them. Some people even have really helpful avatars in this regard, like…Tony! :D

  145. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    So…. I still don’t know whether I check out of the human species when I dress all “girly” or not.
    Help?

  146. says

    Beatrice:

    Help?

    Take two strong posts of mocking Thomas, and you should feel better. You can do it in high heels, if you wish. I have a hankering to put my 5 inch spikes on.

  147. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I have a hankering to put my 5 inch spikes on.

    Need to borrow a shoe horn?

  148. says

    Nerd:

    Need to borrow a shoe horn?

    Hee, no thank you. They fit beautifully, and I like walking around all 71 inches and stuff. I might even dance. *gasp*

  149. chigau (違う) says

    I would like to see remakes of some of Beyoncé’s videos with her and her back-ups dressed like TrueFeminists®.
    Jeans, plaid shirt, work boots…
    She can raid my closet.
    I’m changing my wardrobe to zoot suits.

  150. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Heh, if I put on 5 inch spikes, I would probably manage to fall spectactularly enough to put an eye out.

    I was hoping Thomas would clear up when exactly women give up their humanity for mascara, but I guess I will never know now. Oh well.

  151. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    And you don’t have to tell me what a privileged, heterosexual, middle class, middle aged, white man I am. I know that. It still doesn’t turn Beyoncé into a feminist.

    Turn her? Turn her? Are feminists fucking zombies now?

    Said by a dude no less.

    The thing is, and I’m not even going to front, I used to think all the femme shit was bad. Inferior. I didn’t fit there and didn’t feel comfortable in that box so I attacked it and every woman who chose such presentation. But I was wrong. It’s not the style, it’s caging people that’s wrong. Just because I felt trapped by femme display, doesn’t mean every other woman feels the same way. It could be freeing and empowering for them.

    And in reality when you stop with this racist “colorblind” nonsense, you’d see how different black women’s struggles have been and how radical it is to have Beyonce as an icon.

    At the very fucking least, if your feminism just creates another box to shove women into, no matter how different, you’re doing it wrong.

    I grew up between feminist women. From my early teens till present day, I’ve studied, worked, dated and been friends with women, and I’ve always listened. When you hear me criticizing Beyoncé, you are hearing the echoes of everything I’ve heard from them.

    So, you’re parroting the racist white feminists around you. That’s so much better. You should’ve clicked my link in #56, it’s a handy short list of some ways white feminists have failed feminists of color. Beyonce was included on that list and it’s from last year. God, there was even an awful #NotAllMen type of hashtag, just longer and more pretentious.

    My feminism will be intersectional, or it will be bullshit. Looks like you’ve settled for bullshit.

    Also, I’m not sure why you picked my comment noticing your racial bias, but don’t for a second think it was me being polite. That was me being exhausted and done with your bullshit so I didn’t elaborate further.

    Like now.

  152. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Esteleth, #154:

    Am I missing anything?

    Boners.

    @Thomas Hobbes – You really ought to click that Boners link. I think you might actually learn something.

    Do I have to find a black, female, feminist friend to tell you the obvious fact that you won’t take from a white guy

    Then again, possibly not.

    It ain’t your melanin that makes me object to your comments, bright boy. Ain’t your gender identity neither.

    @Inaji, #151:

    You didn’t even respond the relevance of Maya Angelou and Mary Hope Lee to Beyoncé.

    [gently:]

    You didn’t even respond the relevance of Maya Angelou and mary hope lee to Beyoncé.

    Like bell hooks.

    I’ve never asked her about it, really, and she doesn’t use the no-caps version in everyday life (at least she didn’t when we were hanging out a lot in the 90s), but her writing persona was mary hope lee from when she first started publishing poetry and long past her inclusion in This Bridge Called My Back. So I wouldn’t think she’d necessarily be insulted at all, given her frequent use of caps in her name in everyday life, but I tend to respect her decision during her publishing career of using the no-caps identity when talking about her published writing as opposed to her personally.

  153. says

    CD:

    Like bell hooks.

    Oh hells, I apologize. Way back in the netherworld of Catholic school, the nuns seriously hammered home the massive, incredible importance of capitalizing names and proper nouns.

  154. rq says

    Beatrice @174
    Just be sure to put Thomas’ eye out, please.
    Can I go dancing with the rest of the femmes? Or do I need to renounce feminism first?

  155. says

    I know it’s already been pointed out to Mr. Foss, but I just want to emphasize: when you characterized Beyoncé as a Barbie doll, that was you dehumanizing her. Going on after that to claim that she dehumanized and objectified herself, just by standing on stage in an outfit that revealed less skin than that of the standard ballerina.

  156. says

    Excuse me, I omitted the end of that by accident.

    Going on after that to claim that she dehumanized and objectified herself, just by standing on stage in an outfit that revealed less skin than that of the standard ballerina, is gas-lighting behavior; it’s manipulative and dishonest and controlling. It is, not to put to fine a point on it, patriarchy in action, regardless of your intentions.

    That’s why it’s hard to do this. It’s a system that surrounds us and colors (pun intended) everything we see and do. Similar to other systems of bigotry, intention is not required for racism to continue, because it’s built into the architecture of our economy and social structures and even the physical layout of our roads, factories, towns, and cities.

  157. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @rq:

    You don’t need to renounce feminism if you’re a fat femme, or an old femme with saggy tits, or a legless femme. Don’t forget, it’s not that she’s femme. It’s that she was “born photoshopped” in a way that conforms to the sexual tastes of masses of non-/anti-feminist men.

    So don’t cause any boners to pop and you can dress how you want.

  158. says

    Um yes, thanks Tony. It was my brain’s autocorrect. Thomas Foss is a commenter here or somewhere? Anyway. Thomas Hobbes is who I was referring to.

  159. says

    SallyStrange:

    Thomas Foss is a commenter here or somewhere?

    Tom Foss comments here, but he’s light years different from Hobbes.

  160. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Okay, I’m not backing off of mary hope lee’s relevance or anything, but I think it says quite a bit that This Bridge Called My Back occurs to me before En Vogue (hell, even before Funkadelic).

    Nonetheless, I think is a much better response than even Angelou or lee:
    En fuckin’ Vogue striking a mighty blow for feminism.