Yes, Beyonce is a Feminist and EveryBODY is Flawless
Yes, Beyonce is a feminist.
It may not be a traditional form of feminism, if there is such a thing, but it is a brand of female empowerment. When Saturday Night Live released their Beygency skit I immediately forwarded to two of my friends who consistently and passionately argue that they don’t see feminism or empowerment in Beyonce’s new album. They just see the SEX. I’m the exact opposite. I see empowerment, especially for women who feel marginalized.
We’re not alone in our debate.When Beyonce dropped kicked that album on us overnight, it spurred a series of commentary on TV, blogs and in print, on Feminism – what is feminism, how to define it, black feminist theory vs white feminist theory. One of the recurring themes - Can you be sexual and a feminist at the same time? Clearly we know King Bey’s take on it. Just check these Partition lyrics.
Even as recently as May 6, on a panel discussion “Are you Still a Slave” panelists argued over Beyonce’s particular brand of feminism, in particular her Time magazine 100 most influential people cover. Panelist bell hooks, a renowned author, feminist and social activist, said that in a part (and I paraphrase) Beyonce is in fact an anti-feminist terrorist. Sssseee (sharp intake of breath) Strong words.
I argue Feminism is broad and Beyonce’s feminism, while not the radical and politicized feminism that many intellectuals discuss, is indeed about female empowerment and equality. She even wrote “Gender Equality is a Myth” for the Shriver Report. Still don't see it? Let’s enter body shaming into the picture , might change your point of view.
Recently Gabi Fresh, a fearless blogger and advocate of the curvy girl, remade Beyonce’s Flawless video with two plus size models, Nadia Aboulhosn and Tess Munster. In her blog piece Gabi states as a fashion personality she is often trolled on the internet, called disgusting for her weight, or viewed as not belonging due to her size and color. She happens to be adorable by the way. All of the women in the vid are stunning.The video is pure class and sass, from high production value to the clothes.* All of the women in the video have dealt with body shaming and feeling "less than."
Well enter Beyonce with her Flawless song featuring Nigerian author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. While Bey shouts the female anthem “I woke up like this – Flawless” Chimamanda reinforces the empowerment message. Chimamanda reminds women to NOT shrink themselves or their ambition. She also provides her definition of feminism:
“We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are
Feminist: a person who believes in the social,
Political, and economic equality of the sexes. “
Gabi and crew use the song Flawless and the video to combat critiques about their own plus size bodies. They shake off the body shaming with, yes, a few sensual shimmies and deep sexy gazes. Some argue being sexual in a vid and imitating Beyonce is expressing sexuality through the male gaze. I say, Damn it! Sometimes, we as women want to be sexual and glamorous for ourselves!
In the vid Gabi, Nadia and Tess repeat Bey’s mantra “I woke up like this.” To me they are saying yes, I woke up plus size; I may not look or fit YOUR standard of beauty but I’m still “FLAWLESS.” With the diversity in the video they are projecting their message that EveryBODY is Flawless, thus supporting women.
Furthermore each woman is extending her brand with the creation of this EveryBODY is Flawless vid. As they extend their brand, that provides economic opportunities and this video, which is already going viral, gives a voice to other curvy women.
There are more women who wear a size 16 in the United States than size 0 and 2 combined. Think about all of the women and girls Gabi and Co are reaching with their message - so many women! Women who fashion says are plus size at size 8 or above! I’m sure this video empowers many curvy women and it all started with a little message from Beyonce - Flawless indeed.
*Psst – if you’re dying over the clothes in the vid like I am, especially the don’t know, don’t care T shirt and green sequined body con dress, Gabi lists on her site some of the brands who loaned clothes for the video. - Rent the Runway, Bauble Bar, Hips and Curves, QVC, SimplyBe, Carmakoma, ASOS andEclectic Eccentricity. Tags Beyonce, Body Confidence Flawless Gabi Fresh