Beyoncé Wrote A Feminist Manifesto (No, Seriously)

January 13, 2014 • Culture, Music

As if she couldn’t be more superhuman. Remember when Beyoncé dropped a record totally out of the blue (ivy) last month? A record that was also kind of a film and also kind of a feminist manifesto? Stay with me on the last one: the Queen has a song called “#Flawless,” (that by now you’re totally obsessed with,) for you and me and everyone with a Y chromosome. She’s a goddess, sure, but she’s inviting us along her ride to perfection.

Not to be outshone by last night’s Golden Globes, Bey dropped a new art medium — the essay — for the latest installment of Maria Shriver’s Shriver Report, “A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink” (if you’re unfamiliar, it’s published with the Center for American Progress, so, you know, it’s a big effin’ deal.)

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She writes in an essay titled, “Gender Equality is a Myth!”,

“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.”

While Beyoncé continues to be the go-to in feminist role models, here her argument is a little lackluster. Case in point: who is buying into the myth of gender equality? Her audience are strong women and girls and those who support strong women and girls, so the idea that everyone is treated equally is, well, totally bogus. She then goes on to mention the economic discrepancies between women and men. Shit’s messed up, we all know this, but isn’t the main issue in feminist dialogue? I’d rather be treated like a human first. She continues:

“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. We have a lot of work to do, but we can get there if we work together. Women are more than 50 percent of the population and more than 50 percent of the voters. We must demand that we all receive 100 percent of the opportunities.”

That’s the ticket, Bey! Our goddess saves herself by speaking in poetic abstractions: out with the old, in with the new. Teach the next generation of boys to not be sexist pigs, and they won’t be. Teach the next generation of girls that they can take over the world, and they will. The voting thing is a little trite (Bey, did you even go through a punk phase?) but the sentiment stands: women deserve equality, because we sure as hell aren’t getting it now.

Beyoncé feminist

You can download the entirety of the essay (plus the rest of the report, Hillary Clinton is on this bad boy!) here. You go, Queen Bey!

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