Beyonce is always on pop culture’s radar, but not until recently has her self-declared “modern day feminist” title been called under question. bell hooks, an author and feminist, was recently asked at New York’s New School panel discussion about Beyonce’s stance on gender and she said, “I see a part of Beyonce that is, in fact, anti-feminist – that is a terrorist, especially in terms of the impact on young girls.” She goes on to say that, “I actually feel like the major assault on feminism in our society has come from visual media and from television and videos.”
hooks isn’t the only one to recognize how feminism has been repackaged under the guise of equality and sold as anti-feminist propaganda. The way society looks at gender, from all perspectives, from Bill O’Reilly to bell hooks, is still under debate. Especially when you factor in race, social class and education. What should be a set human right, is often redefined for the purpose of the individual.
An interview with TFW’s Heidi R. Lewis, The Feminist Wire and an article by the New Statesman, all weigh in on the Beyonce debate, opening up a larger and more intense discussion on how society interprets gender and feminism. Whether people are maligning or praising Beyonce on her ideas on feminism or her pop culture identity, we are ignorantly tearing away at feminism and what it means to be a feminist. Using her as an example to highlight the bigger problems that our society faces with gender inequality (by correctly using feminist theory from feminists) seems to be the only way to explain the problem to the pop culture consumer.