By: Skyla Davis
Everybody wants to be a feminist these days! I think maybe because it’s cool or it makes you feel like you stand for something. Everybody wants to be liberated. I never knew I was a feminist. I only knew that I was very opinionated and I had so much passion and I wanted to be empowered. As women we are confined. No person identifies as one thing. Today being a woman is an issue in itself, yet alone being a Black woman or a white lesbian feminist, for example. I recently read an article entitled, Beware of the Fake Feminist. This article left me with my jaw wide open. You should all read it if you have the opportunity (https://shannonjeanna.wordpress.com/2014/09/19/beware-of-the-fake-feminist/).
As I am reading I’m thinking, “So I’m not the only one…this is what I’ve been saying all along.” The article reads:
Over the past few years, I’ve noticed quite a resurgence of feminism, or rather should I say, of people labeling them self “feminists”. That got me wondering, what exactly does being a feminist mean? Don’t worry; I will not bore you with the philosophical and political definitions that have already made for countless amounts of studies and endless research. In fact I’ll answer this question very quickly: Being a feminist is inherent to being human; it is embracing the fact that women are human beings. As humans we all bleed and sweat, have fears and doubts, hopes and aspirations. There really isn’t much more to understand here.
I resent the fake feminist. The one who is labeled “bad bitch”, she’s the woman who is “already liberated”; the one who has men weak at the knees because her sex appeal, I mean her feminine appeal. I think we all understand what I am getting at. Exhibit A: One of my favorite examples of the ‘fake feminist’ is Beyoncé Knowles. Don’t get me wrong, I know we all love Bey and we’re down with the B-hive, but today for celebs like Ms. Carter being a feminist all too easy. I resent the fake feminist. She flaunts a feminist attitude that contradicts with how she really treats other women. “This my shit, bow down bitches”…
If you ever have time, I encourage you to listen to Beyoncé‘s 2013 album ‘Beyoncé’. Beyoncé‘s song ‘Flawless’ is supposed to be about feminine empowerment as Beyoncé portrays herself as this (sexually) liberated woman who is comfortable in her skin fighting for women’s equality. Beyoncé samples Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s call to feminism on her “feminist” anthem ‘Flawless’. The first verse of the song,
“I know when you were little girls
You dreamt of being in my world
Don’t forget it, don’t forget it
Respect that, bow down bitches
…This my shit, bow down bitches”
Now, please keep in mind that Beyoncé samples this speech ‘We should all be feminists’ given by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s. It is a beautiful speech, in my opinion. (You can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hg3umXU_qWc) The sample of the speech reflects many of the things Beyoncé explores on her album Beyoncé: love, empowerment, sexuality and marriage.
“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 would 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 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.”
She ends the sample with Adichie’s definition of “feminist”:
“Feminist: a person who believes in the social, political, economic equality of the sexes.”
This powerful speech leaves me baffled as Beyoncé ends the finale verse with “My man made me feel so God damn fine, I’m flawless!” Huh? This whole song is contradictory.
There’s a whole generation of artists, specifically women, who call label themselves as “bad bitch” or “bitches”, who objectify and disrespect their fellow woman as well as themselves and label that feminism. They do this only to find themselves revered as great examples of feminism (Jeanna).
The first time I saw this photo on Instagram was during the time I was taking my first WGS course. It was only an introductory course, but by the time we were down to our second week of classes I was burning from the inside out. In definition, Enlightened sexism is a response, deliberate or not, to the perceived threat of a new gender regime. It insists that women have made plenty of progress because of feminism, indeed, full equality, has allegedly been achieved (Dictionary.com).
Assuming that we are liberated, which we aren’t, it’s now okay, even amusing, to resurrect sexist stereotypes of girls and women. The picture below says it all. Women are now so contradictory, trying to portray this idea of feminism and feminine empowerment or dominance when this is not it. Her body is her dominance, not her mind or her voice. I do not like the fake feminist. The fake feminist is using her sex to sell her material or albums. The raunchier, the better. It is a crying shame that we have real feminists fighting for empowerment and liberation and we are disregarded and get no recognition. Because of the fake feminist we are more likely to be viewed as fighting sex objects, and we embrace that. It’s so sad. Looking the picture below I see nothing on that canvas but the true definition of enlightened sexism and fantasies of power.
Jeanna, Shannon. “Beware of the Fake Feminist.” Rebels With a Cause. N.p., 19 Sept. 2014. Web. 22 Sept. 2015.
“You Have To Listen To The Powerful Feminist Speech Beyoncé Samples On Her New Album.” Buzzfeed. Ed. Heben Nigatu. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Dec. 2013.