Somewhere in between “Irreplaceable” and “ Girls (Who Run the World), Beyoncé has become the face of pop feminism in the past decade. Her songs have been lauded as being empowering female anthems for their assertive lyrics. I was not there for that memo; just because she makes songs that state, “[female] persuasion can build a nation”, does not means her brand of feminism is substantial and a message that young girls should be consuming. Frankly, Beyoncé’s interpretation of feminism in her music seems to be an empty declaration of what should be: gender egalitarianism in all aspects of society. Beyoncé has done very little to contribute to bringing that dream of girls running the world to fruition. Her commitment to feminism seems to go as far as her lyrics, which are admittedly not that profound.
Her recent interview with UK Harper’s Bazaar only serves to highlight the fact that her brand of feminism is rather simplistic and is a part of a well-constructed persona that utilizes the most “basic topics of politics and social realities of womanhood”. The interviewer asked her if she was a feminist, to which she responded, “I feel like… you know… it’s, like, what I live for. I need to find a catchy new word for feminism, right? Like Bootylicious”. Beyoncé’s willingness to suggest that feminism needs a ubiquitous catch phrase indicates that she views it as little more than a marketing tool that she can shape to her own needs. It shows that to her feminism is something that can be watered down and mass-produced into a simple phrase for popular consumption. As put by youtuber Nineteen percent “such [minimal, stylistic] and sporadic campaigns of girl power aren’t really helping the cause. Women have made great strides but it’s a bit too early to be making victory anthems if they aren’t any shift in values and work being to done to create and support such a shift”.
Nineteen Percent youtuber:
Everyone’s favorite funny girl, Tina Fey, reveals a brand of feminism that imbues “I don’t care attitude” into a more nuanced message in her recent memoir–of-sorts Bossypants. Bossypants, rightly referred to as a grown woman’s Twilight by Mandy Kaling, is a myriad of moments from Fey’s life that she uses to divulge her philosophies on being a working mom, feminism, sexism and female camaraderie, among other subjects. Cineshark writer Sarah Mason, accurately calls Fey’s variety of feminism “the don’t apologize” approach. This mindset is revealed in her anecdote about her time at SNL. Prior to a read through, best friend Amy Poehler was doing rather haphazard impersonations, something colleague Jimmy Fallon, said, “ I don’t like it”. Amy responded, “I don’t care if you f—ng like it”, and went back to doing her piece. Essentially, Fey’s take on feminism is to practice enlightened “I don’t give a f@%*”. This consists of not apologize for being yourself and having thoughts and ambitions, while remaining professional, courteous and smart. Fey also places a particular emphasis on women being kind to each other, especially in male dominated industries, because intra-gender tension only serves to strengthen institutionalized sexism, as opposed to uplifting women workers.
Tina Fey’s advice is something women from the ages of 12- 18, and from of every walk of life could greatly benefit from. However, the likelihood that her message will reach this demographic is highly unlikely. At that age, one is more obsessed with the Top 40 hits that conveniently feature Beyoncé, than tuning into commercially underrated but overall hilarious shows like 30 Rock. So the challenge becomes how do we as an older generation of women introduce the younger generation to the likes of Tina Fey and away from the problematic, all style, little substance messages of Beyoncé and similar entertainers?