I’m as big a fan of Beyonce and her legion of empowered female pop predecessors as the next woman. I’m often to be spotted waving my hands in the air like I just don’t care and singing along in the shower to cheesy ballads, with bolshy lyrics any feisty girl can be proud of. No, really (but please apply wine).
I had a similar moment with the Spice Girls – it IS inspiring to see other women doing well, however dodgy their outfits and off-key their singing.
Like Beyonce – Posh, Sporty etc demanded their equal rights with girlpower yet celebrated femininity, in principle. Which is pretty much a definition of feminism.
Which was why Beyonce’s (much lauded) latest stunt to prove her feminist ideals seemed to me to be just that – a stunt. We know she is an empowered woman. She actually can sing, she is hugely rich and glamorous,she is to be spotted on every other screen. So did she really need to perform in front of an enormous backdrop at the US Video Music Awards literally spelling out her ideals in huge letters? Answer: No.
She would certainly have been better off rethinking certain lyrics. ‘If you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it’ doesn’t exactly scream woman fighting off male oppression, for example.
But I guess her giant ‘Feminist’ sign made as good stage scenery as any. And it seems to have had the desired effect; she is being described in the American press in the same breathless sentence as the suffragettes – they have a tendency to be a tad (ahem) less cynical than us Brit journos.
Personally, as a little girl, it was not so much ‘If I were a boy,’ as it never once crossed my mind that I could not do anything the boys could do.
In my case, this included playing rough games and competing in sport. Aspiring to be a doctor, a stage star and a journalist and wearing blue if I felt like it. (Several of these ambitions wore off..)
I guess this means, that without knowing it, and due to idealogical battles fought before my time and instilled through my feisty mother, I was born and raised a feminist without even realising.
I didn’t fight for equal right, or changes to perceptions of women – I expected them to be there.
It was only as I grew I realised that girls and boys were not always treated the same. We are different – and that became something to be celebrated.
But I baulked at the very idea that I should ever let it restrict me – and strong, positive, female role models including media feminists from the Beyonce mould (Kate Bush take a bow)helped reinforce it.
I would always support a movement that encourages women to be strong, in their careers, their personalities, their family lives as mothers and partners and yes, wives.
As a female editor I’m still exception rather than norm, but it’s getting better and yes, I’m bootylicious.