On April 4, ELLE published a rare interview with Beyoncé. That’s right, Bey herself— who rarely speaks to the press and famously didn’t give an interview when she appeared on the cover of Vogue — has spoken. Listen up, because she gives crystal-clear answers on her views on feminism, power, and the intentions behind her song “Formation,” the song that completely slayed the Super Bowl halftime show (Coldplay who?).
In the interview, Bey explains feminism so simply and directly that it really should silence all the doubters. Asked about her use of the term “feminist” in her song “Flawless” and blazed across stages on her Mrs. Carter tour, Beyoncé says that she didn’t use the term for “propaganda” but rather “to give clarity to the true meaning.”
She explains, “I’m not really sure people know or understand what a feminist is, but it’s very simple. It’s someone who believes in equal rights for men and women. I don’t understand the negative connotation of the word, or why it should exclude the opposite sex. If you are a man who believes your daughter should have the same opportunities and rights as your son, then you’re a feminist.
“We need men and women to understand the double standards that still exist in this world, and we need to have a real conversation so we can begin to make changes. Ask anyone, man or woman, ‘Do you want your daughter to have 75 cents when she deserves $1?’ What do you think the answer would be?”
I want to paste this paragraph all over the manosphere and the anti-feminist subreddits. What do you think now, MRAs?
Feminism isn’t her only concern; she understands intersectionality, understands that we are complex beings fighting multiple unjust systems.
“I don’t want calling myself a feminist to make it feel like that’s my one priority, over racism or sexism or anything else,” she said. “I’m just exhausted by labels and tired of being boxed in. If you believe in equal rights, the same way society allows a man to express his darkness, to express his pain, to express his sexuality, to express his opinion—I feel that women have the same rights.”
She’s also, of course, adding to the national conversation on racism — she took the world by storm with her incredible “Formation,” which ignited admiration and protest alike.
She speaks directly about that song’s inspiration: “I’m an artist and I think the most powerful art is usually misunderstood. But anyone who perceives my message as anti-police is completely mistaken. I have so much admiration and respect for officers and the families of officers who sacrifice themselves to keep us safe. But let’s be clear: I am against police brutality and injustice. Those are two separate things. If celebrating my roots and culture during Black History Month made anyone uncomfortable, those feelings were there long before a video and long before me. I’m proud of what we created and I’m proud to be a part of a conversation that is pushing things forward in a positive way.”
Hell yeah. And we’re glad that she’s letting us in on her side of the conversation.
Published April 6, 2016
Images: “Formation” and Elle
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