In our last post about B, we raised an eyebrow at her reluctance to call herself a feminist. Why? Because we believe she is a feminist and she should own it. That’s why we did a serious double-take at what Rakhi Kumar wrote about her in the Huffington Post last week.
In “An Open Letter to Michelle Obama”, Kumar reprimands the first lady for recognizing Beyonce as a role model for her two daughters:
“...I think it's time to stop suggesting to very young girls that ultimate feminine success - in the music industry or anywhere else - comes with the need, or the expectation for them to undress.”
Fair enough. But wait...
“Remember that in the USA, the average age of a girl when she is trafficked for sex for the first time is 13. Remember that she's often brought into the 'life' by drug dealers who promise her a celebrity lifestyle, clothes like the ones Beyonce wears, and situations where she can live like Queen Bey: looking hot, being desired by alpha males, wielding power over others with her body and sexuality.”
I must be high or something, because the words are starting to make no sense - how did we get from child sex trafficking to drug dealers to Beyonce’s clothes? Yet, she goes on...
“Beyonce is a singer and a songwriter. She doesn't need to wear see-through clothes or body suits to sing. We know that because we've seen her singing acapella in a hospital in a pair of jeans and a T-shirt and - and she sounded like a celestial being from a different dimension... If I had daughters I'd tell them to pass on the Beyonce show because when you're wearing a sheer see through body suit with nipples on display, no matter how much gold thread in it - I don't see any light coming out of it. I just see a glowing ball of soullessness.”
Like an unfortunate physics equation, Kumar’s argument suffers from a simple arithmetic mistake: dressing sexy does not equal rape-bait does not equal anti-feminist. This is slut-shaming 101.
Caperton Gillett from The Guardian gives a response that pretty much sums it up, “I think that reducing Beyonce’s success to ‘looking hot, being desired by alpha males, wielding power over others with her body and sexuality’ says more about you than it does about Beyonce or about the young women who admire her.” Thank you. We couldn’t agree more.
Female role models come in all sorts and styles, and saying that Beyonce is a less feminist species due to her “sexual allure” is unbelievably backwards. (Also, don’t tell Michelle Obama how to raise her kids. Jeez.)