The Motley News

Is This What a Feminist Looks Like?

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People are taking to internet to voice their displeasure about Beyonce gracing the cover of Ms. Magazine. I suppose I’d like to voice my displeasure too!

Look at that nice girl! She’s on the cover of Ms. Magazine, a feminist publication that gives us information about the state of women in the US and abroad! Bloggers and commenter alike are losing their shit about her audacity to pose for this magazine! (click photo to enlarge?)

Now I’ve done my fair share of criticizing Beyonce. Who Rules the World? Not girls. No where in the world, do girls have a fair chance at ruling anything, but I still like Beyonce’s song and I think it’s a great Girl Power (late 90’s idea i.e. Spice Girls) anthem that makes my workouts more energetic. But being angered by her appearance on a feminist publication’s cover is kind of silly. Most of us are making rash judgements about Beyonce’s brand of feminism and it’s starting to turn sour.

Much of the criticism attacks Bey’s appears. Many commenters have called her out for “dressing like a stripper” or dancing in a lascivious manner. One commenter says, Bey “is the opposite of how I’m trying to raise my daughter.” This is called slut shaming. And slut-shaming is something most feminist don’t like to be recognized for. It’s essentially judging a woman’s profession and what she wears to her profession. Would we say the same about an actual stripper who’s just down on her luck and needs to strip? The hell with that, would we say the same about an actual stripper who just likes to strip? Calling a woman’s sexuality into question and judging her on her appearances is not what Ms. Magazine is about. Slut-shaming is what goes on in most high schools across the nation. Early period? Big tits? Tight clothing? Let’s brand this girl and make her a pariah!

Before Beyonce cover photo, Alice Walker shared cover space with Gloria Steinem of the Fall 2009 issue. Before that, you have to search long and hard for the last black woman. But what I can tell you that Pam Grier was the first black woman on the cover in 1975. Check out how beautiful she was/is!

Unfortunately, Pam Grier’s movie career in the 70’s, was not the most ideal feminist career. After all, she starred in awful movies like Women in Cages. In the 70’s, that was just a thing. But Ms. saw something in Pam that they wanted to showcase. That’s the risk you run with women in entertainment. Whether they sing or act, they are playing a game where men make the rules. Pam starred in movies where directors took liberties with her sexuality and Bey sings in a business where producers sell her on a superficial level. But aren’t there anything redeeming qualities about either of these women? Don’t we have to assume that there is something fundamentally wrong with the entertainment industry in general? It’s a capitalist masculine industry where women have to sell themselves in order to make it. But there is hope, because today’s Pam Grier is a feminist who’s voice in LGBT community extremely helpful. Could Beyonce, with a little more age and experience, be a Pam Grier of today? Can we just give the girl a fucking chance?? She’s 31 years old, for chrissake!

Let’s watch how quickly we paint feminists with a broad brush. Not all feminists are created equal. If Beyonce say’s she a feminist, we’ll have to take her at her word, won’t we? We only know her experiences at a distance, we’ve never walked a mile in her shoes (God knows I would! Please adopt me Bey-Jay! Blue Ivy needs an older sister!).

Some women have stated that they will not buy this season’s magazine and that they might cancel their subscription. Over this one cover? I say to them: When you open the magazine and actually read the articles you will find that they are the same articles. The writers and editors will still give you the same “just the facts” information that directly effects your life as a woman. It’s discouraging to hear that someone might stop their subscription to a magazine that works solely on donation. They don’t run mainstream advertisements in their publication, so the money has to come from somewhere. It comes from “viewers like you.” So stop acting like they put Chris Brown on the cover and just read some women’s news!

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Author: Charish Halliburton

Writer and Editor for The Motley News

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