“Beyonce will always be a polarizing figure in terms of race, gender, and sex. Is she in? Is she out? Does she critique? Does she reaffirm? It is really hard to pin Beyonce down as she straddles so many social positions. Her songs ARE feminist, but also patriarchal. She does represent Black beauty, but she also benefits heavily from light skin privilege. She definitely gives you a lot to think about and consider though. Destiny’s Child “Independent Women” is as feminist as The Feminine Mystique. Neither are perfect, but they do bring attention to sexism. When I was a sixth grader with a feminist consciousness but no word for it, no knowledge of ‘academic’ feminism, that song resonated. I think some people forget that feminism is a journey not a destination.”
This is from a few of his tweets this afternoon, and he’s a great person to follow on Twitter. Brilliant. Daily.
Anyway, I answered the first part of his tweet by saying “She’s like Obama. They challenge and reaffirm patriarchy. Most Black people do. And then, some ONLY reaffirm, which sucks.”
He then went on to mention that she “fence straddles” which is a term I’ve used myself at home when discussing this with one of my sisters. I think many Black celebrities are somewhere in the middle, moving away and challenging certain damaging things and affirming others…figuring themselves out. (Of course some Black celebrities refuse to challenge anything, and some of their fans are the same way, so there’s that…)
I think there are many Black people, in general, who are aware of the damage caused by internalized White supremacist thinking, patriarchy, racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, classism, colourism and more, and challenge it in many ways, but affirm it in others. Feminism is a continuum. No one wakes up as bell hooks, including bell hooks. She was Gloria Watkins before too, figuring this feminism thing out. She herself writes in each subsequent book how she evolves.