The Thing About Beyoncé’s Feminism…

December 16, 2013  |  


If Beyoncé says she is a feminist, well, she is a feminist. It would be just stupid to argue against that.

But Beyoncé’s feminism, which is projected out to the world by way of the mass media, isn’t without its criticism, just like Katy Perry, Lily Allen, Miley Cyrus, Madonna and other pop culture fem-positive artists being perpetuated as girl power entertainment. They too feel validated in their feminism and have face stiff critique because of it. And fear of the white feminist gaze, and stan (blink, blink) be damned, I, who too revels in anti-sexism and anti-racism, am going to speak on it, sister to sister.

[Warning: this post may contains some non-Beyoncé affirming critiques. Reader discretion is advised.]

Without a doubt, the most intriguing song on the surprise Beyoncé visual album has to be “Flawless.” After leaking a snippet of the original song, “Bow Down/I Been On,” earlier this year – and causing quite a stir among many women, including both self-identified and non-identified feminists alike who objected to some of its hyper-aggressive lyricism – has been re-imagined and remixed with the words of famed Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. In an April 2013 Tedx Talk, Adichie spoke about everyday sexism and what feminism means to her. Adichie’s talk is a 30 minute listen (and well worth the time if you ask me), and couldn’t fit on the track as a whole. But here is what was sampled in the song:

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. A 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: A person who believes in the economic, social and political equality of the sexes.

There is little denying the fem-positive themes in the music and overall persona of the Beyoncé visual album. The electronic-infused ballad “Pretty Hurts,” which is basically Beyoncé’s ode to the pressures of perfection and trying to abide by – and uphold – a narrow standard of beauty, would make a perfect musical accompaniment to David Redmon and Ashley Sabin’s Girl Model, a documentary about preteen impoverished girls who often are treated like endless disposable supply for the modeling industry pipeline between Siberia, Japan, and the U.S. The in-your-face raunchiness of “Partition,” “Blow” and “Haunted” spits in the face of what we chiefly believe to be an appropriate display of a woman’s sexuality (i.e. asexual) post-motherhood. While “Drunk in Love,” which features a bikini clad Beyoncé on the beach, holding a trophy, seductively twerking and singing about animalistic, raw and often frank love making with her adoring husband Jay Z, almost becomes the antithesis to the silent, stiff and emotionless display of female sexuality in the recently released “Bound 2” video by Kanye West.

The Beyoncé we see on the visual album is about power. She is also about sexual liberation, control and self-ownership, which all are the backbones of most feminist ideologies. However, there are other themes on the album, which often run counter to those ideas as well. As mentioned by many casual listeners, there is the misappropriation of Ike and Tina Turner domestic abuse by Jay Z, which adds a bitter pill to the lovemaking in “Drunk in Love.” And there’s the groan-inducing factor in “Partition” while watching Beyoncé, a black woman, dancing around in a cage with leopard spotted lights all over her body. However, more notable, is how much of the Beyoncé visual album becomes a pageantry of opulence and extravagance. Both through song and visuals, we see Beyoncé toasting up all sorts of caviar dreams and champagne wishes, including the following: being surrounded by butlers and maids; unapologetically riding private jets and being draped in diamonds, furs and exclusive and hard-to-pronounce labels. Through her self-empowering message, Beyoncé wants us to know that she is not just a boss, but queen. She is not just a queen, but a king. Oh yeah, and she is not just a king, but a rich one as well. In essence, this visual album is as much about Beyoncé affirming herself among society’s aristocrats and one-percent as much as it is about her feminism. And while there is girl power, it’s at the expense of what other girls and boys?

In the video for “Partition” she, just for fun, drops a napkin for the attention of her preoccupied husband. However, when either fails to fetch it, a silent maid dutifully dashes from across the room and retrieves it for her mistress, who doesn’t even bother to make eye contact. She repeats the same playful, yet carefree debasing imagery again in the video for “Haunted,” where an indifferent Beyoncé takes a single drag off of a cigarette and then tosses it at the feet of the same upscale hotel employee, who had dutifully lit the cigarette and once she is gone, will likely have to clean up her ashes. And in “Flawless,” which has been taken by many as the new black feminist anthem, Beyoncé doesn’t offer camaraderie and solidarity for aspiring women, but instead divisively boasts the lyrics, “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 b***hes…” In fact, many of Beyoncé’s themes of self-empowerment involves little attempt to dismantle or challenge in any way, the hierarchy, which says that some folks, regardless of gender, are more important than others. The same hierarchy, which brings about the vicious racism, classism and yes, even sexism, which disempowers economically, politically and socially the equally hardworking, and unrecognized feminists.

It all kind of reminds me of what black feminist theorist bell hooks wrote recently about Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook billionaire and author of the best selling Lean In, and her brand of neoliberal feminism. In part:

Feminism is just the screen masking this reframing. Angela McRobbie offers an insightful take on this process in her book, The Aftermath of Feminism: Gender, Culture, and Social Change, explaining: “Elements of feminism have been taken into account and have been absolutely incorporated into political and institutional life. Drawing on a vocabulary that includes words like ‘empowerment’ and ‘choice,’ these elements are then converted into a much more individualistic discourse and they are deployed in this new guise, particularly in media and popular culture, but also by agencies of the state, as a kind of substitute for feminism. These new and seemingly modern ideas about women and especially young women are then disseminated more aggressively so as to ensure that a new women’s movement will not re-emerge.” This is so obviously the strategy Sandberg and her supporters have deployed. McRobbie then contends that “feminism is instrumentalized. It is brought forth and claimed by Western governments, as a signal to the rest of the world that this is a key part of what freedom now means. Freedom is re-vitalized and brought up to date with this faux feminism.” Sandberg uses feminist rhetoric as a front to cover her commitment to western cultural imperialism, to white supremacist capitalist patriarchy.

It’s interesting that the Beyoncé visual album, with its proclamations of self-empowerment, comes after noted black entertainer and activist Harry Belafonte criticized both Beyoncé and her husband Shawn “Jay Z” Carter for what he called unbridled capitalism, particularly turning their backs on social responsibility. Thus far, Jay Z has responded with Magna Carter Holy Grail, which included a song that disrespectfully referred to Belafonte as “Mr. Day-O” and “boy.” Carter also responded to Belafonte’s comments on social responsibility more directly in an interview by saying in part, “My presence is charity.” Beyoncé, however, hasn’t said much in the way of what she believes her social responsibility is as an artist. This visual album, doesn’t offer any response in the way of clarity, and for some folks, her social responsibility is a very important thing.

And I suspect for many critics, it is probably a more relevant question than whether or not Beyoncé is a feminist. Or if there is a question of Beyonce’s feminism, how does her feminist image of sexy girl power, particularly as it exists at the intersection of wealth, power and even privilege, work to help bring about a more egalitarian society? There is no shortage of musical artists, both women and men, willing to brag and boast about their positions of power and wealth. And yet, none of them, or us, are any freer. As such, it’s not enough that we as women and/or feminists just “lean in”; we must work to dismantle our oppression as well.

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  • Shikiri

    Do feminists need to be poor? Black success and Black wealth makes many VERY uncomfortable, like she needs to stay in her “place.” I believe Queen B works hard and deserves every luxury she’s been afforded. The same goes for anyone who works hard. That’s what America is about. It’s sad that Black wealth, success and beauty make people uncomfortable and upset. I guess she should be flying commercial, wearing Payless shoes and cubic zircons. Meanwhile the author of this piece and many American capitalists show off their Christian Louboutin’s, wish they could sit in first class and dream of living large. Stop hating and bow down!

    • craigstealsheep

      It’s not that Black wealth, success and beauty we are talking about. It’s about someone who got everything because of her looks and men goes around telling women to bow down and praise her. Narcissism is not feminism, and glorifying that is not helping.

      That being said, she’s doing far more for women than Katy Perry, etc. And her message is better than the messages the recording industry does tend to send. It’s just that her “empowerment” message rings so hollow since she and her husband honestly believe their being on this earth is enough to help people.

  • monitorette

    Where is the feminism when she sings :” I JUST wanna be the GIRL YOU LIKE” in PARTITION?

    • briebo1

      Well, let’s not take things out of context. Partition is clear in its context – and it is all about sex. Beyonce is not saying in LIFE that she wants to be what her man wants and is trying to please her man by being something he wants, she is speaking in a sexual context. This reminds of the feminist outrage over Fifty Shades and somehow it isn’t feminist to let a guy take control in the bedroom. Sex isn’t politically correct, and it shouldn’t be. There is nothing that is somehow un-feminist about wanting to please your man sexually, and in truth for many of us pleasing someone else actually gives us pleasure, so in the end the desire to be what your man wants in bed can and does actually bring a woman pleasure as well. And this is just one place where Beyonce is challenging some of the feminist status quo – because there has been a very prevalent strain in feminism that somehow means you can’t enjoy subservient sex, unless you are dominating on top, as a feminist. That giving up your power in bed is somehow less than the ideal. The bedroom is the one place where we don’t have to prove ourselves to society, it is private, and whatever we are into or like in bed should be the one place where people don’t pass judgement, we are a little strange with sexual habits when you think about it, and the fact that at least sometimes in bed Beyonce likes to be the girl her man wants and likes to get him so excited in that way that he prematurely ejaculates on her dress, hey who are we to judge, and we shouldn’t be judging someones feminist credentials based on what we know about their sexual proclivities.

  • Jan

    i don’t why people take any of these hollywood entertainers and musicians seriously. i don’t even think Beyonce or most women really understand what sexuality or feminism means. oh well…. partition and blow helped me run two miles in record time… music is music , i don’t base my life on anything these people say

    • s

      hahaaha am glad it helped you work out but sadly the visuals and her music do have an impact on impressionable women and girls-but what i wonder most is how will she explain and defend her and jay’s lyrics,videos and images when blue comes of age? ,coz her poor daughter will have access to internet at some point-at what point is a woman ,a lady and a freak in the streets at the same time?
      popstars have to cover their sexed up images under feminism and female empowerment blah blah as opposed to she is just selling sex hence this dried up monologues she spews out every time she talks about her work-it’s not about sales,her soul not for sale,she is an artist,appreciate my body of work hahahaha-
      i always think she tries to divorce her sexed up image as something men portray and push in female entertainers -that it is all this is her doing but in real sense her talent has been prostituted by Colombia records,her team and herself before this self-titled album came out, this is just cementing her foundation which to an extent is not wholesome to any soul not even hers
      am for sensuality and sexuality in songs-as we are sexual beings and it needs to be expressed and addressed-but bey’s and other pop stars am not buying ,there is nothing sacred,wholistic,beautiful,about vulgar lyrics,pussy popping,stripper poles,thongs,lingerie,sexed up faces, displayed all day everyday in the name of being real and being open to fans
      no sah

      • Jan

        i see what you are saying, but why do we seek validation and inspiration for our youth from people we don’t know. this woman is thirty years old with a child of her own, and she will tell blue like i will tell my daughters, that it is a difference between entertainment and real life. parents are supposed to help their children develop their minds and sense of self worth from the media or any other flawed source . if we are so worried about what our children are seeing and listening to then monitor their music and tv time.. spend time with and take advantage of mentorships in the community, but don’t expect beyonce or any other grown adult to be an inspiration to your child or the world’s children

  • IJS

    This is an interesting POV … but I don’t get all this intellectual claptrap about this woman. Madonna and Janet (her closest foremothers in terms of the arena-era female superstar), for example, kicked down doors with regard to feminist thinking and sexuality decades ago – and created genre changing music in the process. But people continue to try to downplay what they did. Beyonce’s art is not evolving at all … she is still singing the same hoodrat R&B she’s been doing since BDay and doing the same four dance steps and flipping her hair. I’m not seeing this as a really personal record at all – if she truly wanted it to be that she would not have released it in a way that put more of the focus on the records being broken than the content. The vast majority of what the fans and the media are talking about is how “King Bey” sold this, made this record, or outsold this person. I have heard next to nothing about the MUSIC.

    • Jan

      i see your point, but the mine song and video was very creative and artsy… she hardly showed skin… now im a critic and i agree with her little to no evolvment, but i said in 2008 that beyonce was limited and no one believed me ….she made a few strides with this album

  • Mimsy

    This article is spot on! You know I find it ironic that her song Flawless starts with telling
    b*!(hes to bow down to because she’s the queen..but has a interlude
    about how society teaches women to bow down to men and social
    inequality..but she finishes the song telling ladies to remind folks
    that we’re flawless but the whole song is about how she’ll always be
    better than you. People will fall for anything

    • SharonRose

      Yess i just commented that, Lol. I didn’t realize till i was sitting here thinking, then i had to go back to this article to add my 2 cents. But remember when bow down first came out people and feminist groups called her anti-feminist? I’m not a feminist so I felt bad jamming to bow down.

    • briebo1

      Flawless for one starts out with three asterisks (***) – which actually negates the idea of the word flawless. It also starts and ends with her failure in Star Search which Beyonce has mentioned many times was a crushing blow for her at the time. The Bow Down as Beyonce has explained came from a place of wanting to silence those who attack her in a gangsta way, and encourages her listeners to view the song in that way in that it can feel good to say that in a mirror. The idea of Beyonce’s songs, like most artists, is for the listener to place herself in Beyonce’s role. Just like when Diana Ross sings “I’m Coming Out” it wasn’t that she personally was saying that, but that her listeners when they hear it project themselves as coming out and it peps them up, not that they are celebrating the coming out of Diana Ross (especially considering she had “come out” a while before she ever released this song). The song has a double meaning, with the “I woke up like this” acknowledging that yes the listener is beautiful and knows it, but also *** just like Beyonce we all have failures where we feel less then be it with our looks or dreams whatever. The song allows the listener to dance around to a real confidence booster, ya feel good singing to this song because you internalize it you don’t get angry at Beyonce and feel she is talking down to you LOL. But then Beyonce does give a dose of reality, that we all have our failures and no one is flawless, but its fun to pep oneself as flawless for the duration of a song, and that is the point which apparently flew over some people’s heads. I think some need to separate the art from the artist, because most songs are intended for the listener to place themselves in it – I don’t think Katy Parry is putting me down because I am not a California Girl, everyone girl is a California Girl when listening to that song, or that when Pink says the party isn’t started until she gets there I don’t think she is dissing every party I am at that she is not attending. And every girl is flawless when listening to Flawless, though Beyonce does acknowledge how hard it is to feel that way considering life’s setbacks.

      • craigstealsheep

        It doesn’t matter what she intends. Good intentions will doom us all. It’s what the art says and where it’s coming from. Here’s where Beyonce is coming from: An extremely beautiful woman who is famous because her father had connections with producers, but not enough connections to get her a solo career. He got her to be in Destiny’s Child where she was clearly growing into the most beautiful (and lightest skinned, by the way), but wasn’t clearly the best singer (Kelly was at least equal and many say better). Then comes Jay Z, her boyfriend and future husband who launches her superstardom. So tell me, what in this story makes it ok for her to say “bow down, b*tches”? Doesn’t that come off as very offensive and disgusting, especially considering her rampant materialism and history of putting down women.

        Yes, this story is full of holes, conjecture, and mudslinging. But this is the story “haters” and critics look at when they make these conclusions. It might not be fair, but the fact is, Beyonce is not the writer her song quotes. It’s better that she’s at least trying to to help women and empower them, but it rings so hollow because of her actions and who she portrays herself to be.

  • Gert

    I wish for once, people will take the Beyonce Fan hat off and just really read and maybe comprehend the point taken in this article. One thing I have learned is that it is hard to be rational with irrational thinking people. Stop falling for and accepting anything! Even if you are a fan it is okay to be subjective. I don’t feel in anyway that a grown woman, wife and mother, g
    gyrating and shaking her a#$ in a cage, speaking of giving her husband you know what is empowering women or girls for that matter. We as black woman are much more than that.

    • Viviane

      I completely agree with you that we are more than sex and our sexuality but the fact that you had to say “speaking of giving her husband YOU KNOW WHAT” speaks to how necessary it is for us, especially as black women, to openly and honestly speak about sex. It is not a dirty word or act, and being unashamed of one’s sexuality isn’t either.

      • Gert

        So by me saying “giving her husband head” makes me sexually empowered. I think not, sexual empowerment does not equal trashy lyrics. Exual empowerment means a lot more that what or how I can make myslef or my spouce feel in the bedroom. I as a grown woman do not need Beyonce or anybody else to help me feel empowered. Not one song or album does she talk about teaching woman that is also okay to be abstinent or to get an education past high school. Beyonce throws out a lot of hot air and people fall for it.
        Sex is not going anywhere and I definitley don’t need her to define it.

        • Jelani Johnson

          OMG Love this response. You articulated what I’ve been wanting to say but have had a hard time explaining. Thanks!

          • Gert

            OMG, sometimes I just sake my head!

  • Cece

    At some point, we have to stand up and pave our own way, instead of expecting celebrities to do it for us. Making the world better is everyone’s responsibility. Everyone has their part. Beyonce’s is inspiring greatness in others by entertaining them. She has done that. So what if she wants to enjoy the fruits of it. If we all ask ourselves, what did I do today to make the world a better place? We wouldn’t have to worry about what the next person is doing.

  • DeidraJ

    This is a well-written and thought provoking article. Beyonce and Feminism? Mostly, yes. Beyonce has taken her career and artistic direction into her own hands. She had to fight to become as distinctive and as powerful as she is. Do you all remember how she was typecasted and criticized when the Survivor album came out without the original members? Everyone thought she was an self involved pretty girl who could barely speak, and was obsessed with her pretty, and her position as “lead-singer.” Daddy managed the music, Mommy managed the image…She broke away from that in a huge way. She keeps pushing boundaries and making herself new without the scandal and negativity that you see in some artists, i.e. Chris Brown and Rihanna. She donates her time and money privately, which I think is a smart move for her because it keeps the attention on the charity and not on her. Jay…Im not sure about, but Im not into his response to Harry Belafonte. His presence is NOT charity. He’s in the position to help change the direction that black men in America are taking their lives in. He could be bringing awareness to the high school to prison pipeline, the failing public education system – especially in urban settings…We don’t need him to show up for everything, but show up for something that matters to our culture on a large scale. Anyway…Im not in love with all of Bey’s songs and videos as I’m not into opulence or ratchetness, but the more real and down to earth music is more to my liking. But, there is a little something for everybody. She’s creating from her own ife and experience, not mine. It’s always annoying for me to have to censor music for my daughter but I know that its my job to filter the music and images that I want her protected from, not Beyonce’s.

  • inessa

    It’ s sad we live in a world where being grown means nothing more then
    being sexual as if that was the only sign of growth! She could sing
    about how she waited and did for actually marrying BEFORE having any
    baby (the baby mama mentality destroying our community as A WHOLE), she
    could have sung about the violence in ghettos, the struggle to leave the
    ghetto to be successful…there are so many isssues…all I hear
    throughout this whole album is: I like sex, I like money, I don’t like
    certain parts of my body (with all the diets she does although nobody
    forces her), I like my family….so what???!!!

    • Jan

      i concur but i consider this dance / feel good album…. i wanted her to go deeper but aye

    • marshefen

      Were you really expecting that from Beyonce? Also, she didn’t grow up in the ghetto.

  • inessa

    is taking ownership of her sex appeal the most importasnt issue for women? as if there weren’t enough libertinage in this world..but i guess it’s never enough!

  • HUgrad13

    Its weird because I can see that perspective in the album and I see Happy’s perspective. I wasn’t really a Beyonce fan for real. I mean, I listened to her songs on the radio, and forgot them 10 minutes after they came out. But something about this whole album struck a chord with me. I am inclined to believe that this is the first real glimpse we’ve seen into Beyonce beyond the constant script she always seems to be reading. The album seemed almost intimate, and actually real. She is in her early 30’s, just fully realizing her sexuality (not in the scope of how the media sees it, but her own definition), she spoke about relationship struggles, sex, image in society, her daughter, etc. I loved it. Its made me a fan. Not everyone will feel that way, but I don’t think her goal with this album was to impress everyone (for once).

    • JMO

      I 100% agree with your interpretation. I think this is more true to who Beyonce really is. I don’t Know if it was becoming a mother or leaving her dad’s management, but she seems more in control of her identity now and not afraid of the criticism. I love that she sings about sex with HER HUSBAND. There’s not 1 negative thing about that. Her songs aren’t about being promiscuous. The sexual nature of the videos TECHNICALLY could’ve been toned down. However, I feel she owned her sexuality and used it tastefully.

      • HUgrad13

        I loved it. I don’t think I care for the videos being toned down. I loved it for what it was. People keep bringing up how Rihanna does that same thing for attention, but in that case it JUST seems like just for attention and sales. Shoot, up till recently, I would say Beyonce did the same thing, used sexuality for sales. But it was something about this album. It was for the fans. But it really was for her husband. From the highs of their relationship, sexual and otherwise (Drunk In Love, Blow, Partition, Rocket, etc), the lows/insecurity in said relationship (Jealous, Mine), to everything in between (No Angel, Superpower), and the daughter they made together through their union (Blue). This wasn’t for us, which is why it felt so intimate. Again, its still all up for interpretation.

    • sha

      You my friend got it. All this analyzing, trying to make her into a role model and feminist superwoman. Stop it already. The album is talking about the stuff that early 30s women that are fully feeling themselves in all aspects of their life. Im almost 50 and have never purchased anything Beyonce but this album hit something. She will pick up a new fan base because of this. Dear lord she is an entertainer. LOL…I am waiting to hear about all of the Illuminati references in her videos….LOL!.Oh my people!!!

      • Marley80

        Indeed! I love the 30s and this album speaks to so many of the experiences. The freedom, the expression, the fun aspects and everything else. This is her best work.

    • BisonGirl08

      As a MARRIED woman I LOVE this album. It’s sexual, however SEX IS A PART OF MARRIAGE AND DAMNIT IF ITS GOOD ITS GOOD…If she is happy with her husband, comfortable with her sexuality and her MUSIC IS FINALLY A MIRROR OF HER LIFE…to an extent…she isnt promoting sex with randoms, she’s promoting sex with your spouse and keep it spicy…If I am going to be happily married 30 years from now with an active sex life, I would like it to be fun. This is a personal album…like others have stated, fighting against society and their image of “pretty” how girls should interact, the love of her daughter, the loss of a child…it’s her art…if you dont like it, move on…if you do great…She’s a pop artist, not your child’s teacher, and if she is, there are larger issues in your house

  • Val

    I’m sorry but any sort of intellectual analysis of Bey is like trying to analyze the behavior of a rock.

    *hides from stans*

    • Losh

      No, seriously… I was like “Is Beyonce really that deep?” (and I enjoy Beyonce’s music) I will bring coffee and Bailey’s to our cave while we hide…. and a deck of cards, we might be a while.

    • LOL @hides from stans!

  • angel

    This is one of the best articles ive read on here. Thank u for the great experience

  • Jazzy

    I will be so glad when the drama/excitement (whatever) around Beyonce’s new album dies down. The music is sub-par, the lyrics are vulgar, and she’s beyond confused about what direction her image should be going on; ‘should I be like Rihanna, should I be a mommy?’ The only standard I hold Beyonce to is the same one that I hold any other artist to, that’s entertaining, not being a feminist or role model.

    • ni

      I doubt she is thinking should I be like Rihanna seeing as how she was making moves before Rihanna was even performing. Music is about variety every song want be a twerking album and every song want be about Blue.

  • heyheynow

    Whoa what a powerful article. However I have to agree with the article below I feel that Beyoncé is expressing how well a woman can thrive in a male capitalistic society. Her influence is so great that people have deemed her queen. Also the Lean In book is inspirational in my opinion it tells young women how to get ahead in a society that was built around men. In this book it inspires women to step away from the traditional secondary roles and instead rise up to a boss. I’m sorry but both Beyoncé and this Sandberg inspire me. One to go to the gym and two to be a boss in whatever field I choose to work in.

    • Lonee Taylor

      Haha yes I saw her videos, immediately put down the cheesecake and started back on the regimen.
      I think ppl put too much value in what everyone else is doing and using that as their excuse as to why their not doing.
      Creative expression tailored or bridled is NOT creative at all.
      I believe Beyonce has a spiritual depth that most will miss bc they stay distracted and seeking opportunities to evolve. Beyonce is just another opportunity to become a bettrt you by lessons learned.
      Positive or negative, I watched Beyonce grow before my eyes and who doesn’t aspire to be at the top of their own personal game?
      So before yall come for me on some hater mess recognize behind the scenes you dont hate Beyonce, you hate the failure within yourself she reflects back at you. #flawless
      I am am nothing byt inspired by this album and the imagry, well…. I cant wait to have a boo so he cant take his eyes off my fatty daddy, so I can can elude sexuality n get this money purposefully

  • Indigo

    First off, I agree: no one is above criticism. I’m one of the biggest Beyonce fans out there, but I will still listen to other people’s opinions and critiques of her because that’s only fair and sometimes valid points are made. I understand that Beyonce’s feminism is radiated from a platform of wealth, status, and power…but asking her to be anything other than what she is and what she knows is not really fair. She talks about being from the “dirty south” all the time and takes pride in her humble beginnings. “No Angel,” “Blue” and “Pretty Hurts” showed us some of Beyonce’s deepest thoughts and feelings. However, she would only be dishonest if her album only consisted of “homey” songs as if she is an everyday person. She is not. She lives a grandiose life…and she earned it. She worked for everything she has. She was raised comfortably, but by no means was she wealthy. It’s empowering for her to sing about her joyous, lavish life that SHE worked for. I don’t see it as putting others down for NOT living lavish lives. I see her as inspiration; not that I aspire to be Beyonce necessarily, but knowing that we came from similar backgrounds, I see that I can make my dreams a reality just like she did. The biggest thing I disagree with in this article is the interpretation of “Flawless.” Bey stated that she wrote the first part of “Flawless” (the Bow Down portion) as a retort to all the people that had negative things to say about her. If that’s truly how she felt, she has the right to defend herself against negativity. Also, the author completely disregarded the second part of “Flawless” in which Bey states, “Ladies, tell him I look so good tonight…WE flawless.” Not “I’m” flawless…WE. We are flawless. Sisterhood. We woke up beautiful, fabulous, and strong and we’re going to go to sleep that way.

    Like “Happy” said…it’s all in how you interpret it.

    • “Bey stated that she wrote the first part of “Flawless” (the Bow Down portion) as a retort to all the people that had negative things to say about her
      When did she say that?

      • Renee86

        That’s my question. I never read any article or saw any video where she stated that herself. There have only been stans purporting that statement as if they know themselves. without any word from her, what she meant by “bow down”. Personally, I don’t think her words require that much analysis. She said “bow down bit**es” and that’s exactly what she meant.

      • Landie Marc

        There is a session on her I Tunes radio station where she explained the meanings and inspiration of all the songs on the album, that would include “Flawless”.

        • JMO

          Well at her concert she does have a part where the speakers play audio clips of the different insults/rumors about her and then she plays bow down. So I do think that was her intention.

    • inessa

      no one in this world is flawless….

      • briebo1

        Hence the *** in the title – and ending and beginning the song with her Star Search failure. I wonder if some commenters here have even listened/watched the album, the stuff is pretty blatant and isn’t subtle it’s hard to believe it has flown over so many people’s heads.

    • Becca


      This is such a biased article. After listening to the whole album multiple times with the most objective eye, I must disagree.

      “Ladies, tell him I look so good tonight…WE flawless.” EXACTLY! This was my first thought. Like whaaaaaaaaaat? Clearly she isn’t telling people she’s better than them. She’s saying BETCH FALL BACK and respect what I MADE. “Ladies tell em say I look so good tonight” From the visuals to the lyrics it’s obvious what you’re saying is false. But if you wish to take an line from the song without looking at it’s context, then your promoting bad journalism.

      Partition. She’s performing for her man. Can she own it? Gahdamn Gahdamn Gahdamn

    • SharonRose

      The irony of flawless, even though it’s my jam, she did bow down in the beginning which when it was first released it was called anti-feminist. So she was smart putting bow down and flawless together, take of the heat from bow down, though bow down/i been on is my jam too.

  • Happy

    I guess if thats how you interpret it…but its all interpretation. I saw Bey presenting herself as a queen or king in her vids to show to the naysayers that she’s a hard worker and does her part. In terms of the sex appeal, i saw it as her taking ownership of her sex appeal…bringing up the black women dancing with chetah print in Partition is reaching to me b/c she was dancing to her hubby. Having the maid pick her napkin was a ‘stick it to the man’ imagery. As for the Lean In book, I did not interpret her book as for only the priviedged. I took her advice and twisted it in ways I can use in my everyday interactions. Im no COO but I am a college student who is one of 4 minority students in my whole department who utilized and interpretted the advice to gain more respect and interaction with my classmates and professors

    Anyway, like I said, its based on interpretation.