Right now, it feels like we're in some sort of post-apocalyptic wasteland: last night we were hit with a megaton of Beyoncé, and now we're all scrounging around in the rubble, trying to figure out where our lives could possibly go from here.
This morning, in the glorious, glorious wreckage, I unearthed one particularly dazzling gem: the spoken word verse on the track "***Flawless" comes from Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's TED Talk: "We Should All Be Feminists."
The speech in its entirety takes the listener through Adichie's exploration of the meaning of "feminism." She starts with her own personal experiences, but builds up to a global discussion of how gender roles negatively shape the lives of both men and women.
This is the sample as it appears in Bey's song:
"We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller.
We say to girls 'You can have ambition, but not too much!
You should aim to be successful, but not too successful, otherwise you will threaten the man.'
Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage; I am expected to make my life choices, always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important.
Now marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support,
But why do we teach to aspire to marriage and we don't teach boys the same?
We raise girls to each other as competitors not for jobs or for accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men.
We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are.
Feminist: the person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes."
Listen to the rest of the talk below. It's funny, sweet, and incredibly inspiring.