There’s no denying that Beyonce promotes female in- dependence and empowerment, but does that make her a feminist?

Nigerian writer Chimam- anda Ngozi Adichie defines a feminist in Beyonce’s “Flaw- less,” as a “person who be- lieves in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes.” Tracks like “Bills, Bills, Bills” and “Independent Women,” from Bey’s Desti- ny’s Child days, as well as hits like “Pretty Hurts” and “Run the World (Girls)” would sug- gest that Beyonce fits into this category.

However, feminism is about more than gaining equality — it’s about main- taining equality. I understand feminism as respecting my own mind, body and soul as well as the minds, bodies and souls of others.

Beyonce has a great mind for the music business and enough soul to make people melt with her tunes, but I can’t help but notice how she blatantly flaunts her body in her videos and performances. Yeah, yeah, it’s her body, and

shecandowhatshewants with it, and no one can stop her. But the truth is, the flaunting demotes her cred- ibility.

Imagine Barack Obama de- livering a State of the Union Address shirtless. It would be distracting and distasteful. While these contexts might seem very different, Beyonce and Obama are both public figures.

When Beyonce removes her clothes, it takes away from her talent. A lot of her songs have brilliant lyrics, and she is a powerful woman. However, with that power she tells women that it’s okay to bare their-all. That’s not what feminism is about.

Maybe I’m thinking too long term, but her children and grandchildren, not to mention her parents, will see these seductive videos. While we should not care too much about what others think, a healthy dose of char- acter preservation should be maintained in the name of self-respect.

Beyonce has gone on the record saying she doesn’t have any “shame about be- ing sexual.” She also said she really wanted to show off her body as a result of losing

65poundsaftergivingbirth, which is just another testa- ment to how Hollywood sees flaunting a certain body type as acceptable.

Another paradoxical con- cept about Beyonce is that “Flawless” is supposed to empower women; however, the song begins with her tell- ing anyone who aspires to be like her to “bow down.” Later on, Adichie condemns soci- ety because “We raise girls to see each other as competitors … for the attention of men.” These lyrics paired suggest that all women are equal, but that Queen Bey reigns over us all.

When it comes to gender equality, society has taken countless steps in the right di- rection. Although more could be done perhaps (politically and economically) it’s still important to recognize how far women have come and why this freedom must not be abused.

Respect yourself mentally, physically and spiritually, and in turn, others will respect you.

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