Beyonce, Thank You for Making Feminism Cool Again
If you saw the 2014 VMAs, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Beyonce closed the show and brought the house down with an incredible performance. It was everything from avant garde, to provocative, to unabashedly sexy, to touching. Besides her obvious, and stunning talent and beauty the underlying message was loud and clear, “I am a woman and I can do anything.”
A message of empowerment was innately flavoring the whole performance. She wasn’t shy or apologetic about being strong, fierce, and feminine all at once. The word “FEMINIST” was posted huge in all caps while she blasted out her song, “Flawless” including part of the speech “We Should All be Feminists”, delivered by Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at a TEDxEuston conference.
Here’s the whole talk:
We teach girls to shrink themselves
To make themselves smaller
We say to girls,
“You can have ambition
But not too much
You should aim to be successful
But not too successful
Otherwise you will threaten the man.”
Because I am female
I am expected to aspire to marriage
I am expected to make my life choices
Always keeping in mind that
Marriage is the most important
Now marriage can be a source of
Joy and love and mutual support
But why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage
And we don’t teach boys the same?
We raise girls to see each other as competitors
Not for jobs or for accomplishments
Which I think can be a good thing
But for the attention of men
We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings
In the way that boys are
Feminist: the person who believes in the social
Political, and economic equality of the sexes
Beyonce wrapped up the extended medley of songs with an excerpt from “Blue” a lovely touching tribute to her daughter. And then her husband and daughter joined her onstage to present her with an award. The whole beautiful performance showed her as strong and fierce at times, sensual and feminine at times, and vulnerable and loving at times. All the while sharing how diverse and full a women’s life can be. Yes, she can be beautiful but what shines through is heart, determination, love, all of the complex radiance of a real woman.
As much as Beyonce is a larger than life example of empowered womanhood, she is also a beacon for women everywhere saying, “Don’t apologize for who you are. Be proud. Be sexy. Be fierce. Be vulnerable. Live from your heart. Be you.”
So, do it! Be your amazing, empowered, fabulous, nuanced self in every way. Love yourself and the world will love you. You’re flawless, exactly as you are. Live your truth with no apologies. Own your femininity and kick some a$$!
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