Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter is a controversial figure in the feminist movement. Besides openly and boldly acknowledging issues facing women, especially African American, Beyoncé is criticised for undercutting the contemporary feminist movement theories. Beyoncé is an ideal model of gender equity advocacy. She hardly ascribes to the “Feminazi” (man-hater) doctrine (Trier-Bieniek, 2016). Reason being, she stands out as a woman who portrays her desire to love one of the most powerful men in the music industry while still embodying a cutthroat and independent identity (Trier-Bieniek, 2016). She has managed to become the leading female pop star talent globally while nurturing her marriage, retaining her position as a mother, and embracing her sexuality. Precisely, Beyoncé has ushered in a new tide of feminism.
Trier-Bieniek (2016) examined 77 of Beyoncé’s songs out of which 29 had empowering messages to women. Beyoncé is an embodiment of a woman who can empower herself economically and socially while embracing motherhood and marriage. She indicates that women should think of financial freedom to enable them to purchase their personal items and those of their lovers. Social empowerment becomes notable when women are in apposition to speak their mind, remain in control of their careers and life, and sexual freedom (Trier-Bieniek, 2016). Beyoncé portrays the role of a supporter, who speaks to women being mistreated and a teacher, who teaches “ladies” and “girls” how to approach certain situations, and a voice for women. While she sings more about love and sex, woman independence is inscribed in most of her messages.
Beyoncé lyrics are an ideal example of how women can be empowered by refusing to be objectified. She uses the Hip-Hop culture, which is known for objectifying women, to pass the message across. “Empowerment meant being treated properly…preferably as an equal partner” (Trier-Bieniek, 2016, p.132), and voice your concerns when mistreated. In various songs such as “If I Were a Boy” and “Suga Mama,” she reverses gender roles and highlights male privileges, especially in relationships. In the song, “If I Were a Boy,” she noted that she would hand out with friends, drink beer, and be with whomever she wanted and never be confronted because her friends would stand up for her (Tyree, n.d). Beyoncé also notes how she would treat women better. In “Sugar Mama,” she takes the role of a “sugar daddy,” who exchanges money for sexual favours with younger women (Trier-Bieniek, 2016). In these situations, Beyoncé speaks out about the downsides of women objectification and why women should break away from the trap.
Beyoncé questions the traditional definition of a beautiful woman and inspires women to accept their flawlessness. For instance, two of her songs “Pretty Hurts” and “Flawless” questions the conventional definition of beauty and encourages women to accept their perfection and tell others about it as well (Tyree, n.d). She emboldens women to be comfortable and happy about their flaws and insecurities. Therefore, is support Beyoncé’s approach to feminism.
Trier-Bieniek, A. (Ed.). (2016). The Beyoncé Effect: Essays on Sexuality, Race and Feminism. McFarland.
Tyree, T.C.M. (n.d). Flawless Feminist or Fallible Freak??? An Analysis of Feminism, Epowerment and Gender in Beyoncé’s Lyrics [PowerPoint Slides]