Annie Lennox Thinks Beyonce’s Feminism Is ‘Cheap’
ONE of the big problems with feminism is that women like to spend great chunks of the debate, attacking each other. Of course, any movement needs criticism to adapt and sharpen the mind for future debates, but isn’t it a bit sad to see women trying to pull other women down, when ostensibly, their aims are the same?
And so to Annie Lennox, who said that she isn’t very impressed with Beyonce calling herself a feminist.
The former Eurythmics singer conceded that Queen Bey is a phenomenal artist, but felt she had issues with her calling herself a feminist and thinks that Beyonce portrays a false sense of the movement.
“I would call that ‘feminist lite’. L-I-T-E. I’m sorry. It’s tokenistic to me. I mean, I think she’s a phenomenal artist – I just love her performances – but I’d like to sit down [with her]. I think I’d like to sit down with quite a few artists and talk to them. I’d like to listen to them; I’d like to hear what they truly think”, she said.
“I see a lot of it as them taking the word hostage and using it to promote themselves, but I don’t think they necessarily represent wholeheartedly the depths of feminism – no, I don’t. I think for many it’s very convenient and it looks great and it looks radical, but I have some issues with it. I have issues with it. Of course I do. I think it’s a cheap shot.”
Referring to Beyonce’s ‘sexy’ routines, she added: “I think what they do with it is cheap and … yeah. What can I tell you? Sex always sells. And there’s nothing wrong with sex selling, but it depends on your audience. If they’re seven-year-old kids, I have issues with it”
Now here’s a thing.
Not only has Beyonce become the most powerful popstar on the planet, regardless of gender, and tours the world with an all female band, as well as being responsible for scores of songs that have empowered women (from ‘Independent Women’ to ‘If I Were A Boy’ et al) and of course, we’ve got the MTV show where she identifies herself, and in turn encourages others to, as a feminist. A show that was watched by millions worldwide and turned into immediate viral meme-heaven, giving everyone the impetus to make a decision – are you feminist or not?
She also wrote an essay about gender equality, again, read by millions, which said: “We need to stop buying into the myth about gender equality. It isn’t a reality yet. Today, women make up half of the U.S. workforce, but the average working woman earns only 77 percent of what the average working man makes.”
“But unless women and men both say this is unacceptable, things will not change. Men have to demand that their wives, daughters, mothers, and sisters earn more – commensurate with their qualifications and not their gender. Equality will be achieved when men and women are granted equal pay and equal respect.”
“Humanity requires both men and women, and we are equally important and need one another. So why are we viewed as less than equal? These old attitudes are drilled into us from the very beginning. We have to teach our boys the rules of equality and respect, so that as they grow up, gender equality becomes a natural way of life. And we have to teach our girls that they can reach as high as humanly possible.”
She also, in her song ‘***Flawless’, imprinted these words onto the lips and minds of every fan, using her platform to reach and teach:
“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.”
Now, that last line again.
“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.”
Annie Lennox seems to be saying that it is cheap for Beyonce to sell feminism AND be a grown-ass sexual women who can indulge herself as she pleases.
See, there’s an old-school way of thinking that says a woman’s sexuality diminishes her. It is a thing that is ‘taken’ from her as she ‘loses’ her virginity, so all sexual activity that comes from that is simply a sullying thing which is designed only to please men. Of course, a feminist will tell you that a woman’s sexuality is her own. It isn’t for the benefit of anyone else and, of course, to have Annie Lennox imply that Beyonce’s feminism is a token gesture because of her ‘selling sex’, is to say that a woman can’t be smart, independent and sexy at the same time.
There’s a name for it – slut shaming.
Lennox clearly thinks that a woman can’t shake her ass AND have a brain at the same time, reducing Beyonce and other celebrity feminists to sexual objects, when really, she should be thinking about the line from ‘Flawless’ – “We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are.”
Not only that, Lennox seems to be saying that Some Feminists Are Better Than Others, which again, is addressed in Beyonce’s song where it is stated: “We raise girls to see each other as competitors”
It would be wise for Lennox to drop the ‘get off my lawn’ attitude and realise that, in Beyonce, there’s one of the most powerful feminist platforms in the world and that, if she decided to work with, rather than against young women, there might be just the progress we need.