Bow Down Critics: Beyonce Flaunts Her Own Brand of Feminism

VITAMIN W Staff

Say what you will critics, Beyonce flaunts her own feminist message on her song "Flawless."

Esteemed author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is featured on the track that starts with a snippet of the controversial "Bow Down," before transitioning into a rousing talk on feminism by the author.

What appears in "Flawless" pulls from different parts of her speech:
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
Beyonce is doing something right. Watch Adichie's TED talk.

Queen Bey (or King B) released her album:"Beyoncé" as a surprise on Dec. 13. By the time fans woke up Friday morning, the media was already buzzing about the pop queen's fifth solo effort.

Yet, critics have long questioned whether she has  at times “sabotage[d] her female empowerment efforts.” Rahiel Tesfamariam wrote, “The release of ‘Bow Down’ suggests that the pop icon only adorns the feminist label when it suits her - dangerously straddling the line between female empowerment and subjugation.” In "Bow Down" she had lyrics such as: “I know when you were little girls/ You dreamt of being in my world/ Don’t forget it, don’t forget it/ Respect that, Bow down b---ches.”  She was “clapping back” at nay-sayers who accuse her of being Jay Z’s “little wife.” 

It's all subjective. Some feminists even questioned the validity  of her 2011 girl declaration "Run the World," as giving girls a false interpretation of history and distracting them from the real work that needs to be done. 

In a 2010 interview with The Daily Mail, Beyonce referred to herself as a feminist. She said: “I think I am a feminist in a way. It’s not something I consciously decided I was going to be; perhaps it’s because I grew up in a singing group with other women, and that was so helpful to me. It kept me out of so much trouble and out of bad relationships." She went on to promote solidarity with other women: "I love being a woman and I love being a friend to other women. I think we learn a lot from our female friends – female friendship is very, very important. It’s good to support each other and I do try to put that message in my music.”

Bow down critics. She's a "Grown Woman" that released her album on her own terms, did 17 music videos one album, is a working mother with a kid who's not quite 2, she's rich beyond belief, has an all-female band and it's hard to find bad press on the queen. She's a feminist because she said so.

Photos of Beyonce: Screen shots from "Pretty Hurts" and "Run the World."

Photo of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie courtesy of Chris Boland / www.distantcloud.co.uk