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Is Beyoncé a feminist, or does she glorify sex?

Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly has slammed Beyoncé for glorifying sex and promoting lewd behaviour. Which makes us wonder, is Queen Bey a feminist or not?

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Well, this is not too surprising, considering that Bill O’Reilly is not one to hold his tongue.

In an interview with Russell Simmons, the outspoken Fox News anchor accused Beyoncé of glorifying sex and being a bad role model for young women. So Beyoncé concert tickets for his birthday would be a bad idea?

Mixed messages

“She puts out a new album with a video that glorifies having sex in the back of a limousine. Teenage girls look up to Beyoncé, particularly girls of colour… Why on Earth would this woman do that?” O’Reilly stated. “Why would she do it when she knows the devastation that unwanted pregnancies… and fractured families — why would Beyoncé do that?”

While we doubt Bey-Bey’s videos will prompt women to have sex in the back of a limousine, O’Reilly does voice an opinion shared by many, which obviously drags us to the debate that has been raging among various parties for over a decade now: Is Beyoncé a feminist or not? This is such a complicated question, since it underlines and puts in doubt the many inconsistencies of our moral and ethical foundations.

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Empowering or demeaning?

To begin with, if Beyoncé dresses in “skimpy” clothes and dances “sexually” (all seemingly for the benefit of a male viewer), does that make her less of a feminist? Because as we know, Beyoncé is very vocal about her mission to empower fellow women. But some critics find her rhetoric inconsistent with the arguably lascivious image she appears to sell. So what’s up with that?

We must point out that the way we — as individuals or even society — scrutinize women’s bodies and view them as innately sexual objects is in itself sexist. The list of check marks a woman must earn to be considered “classy” or “proper” is degrading and unfair. The idea that a woman expressing and embracing her sexuality is for a man’s benefit only is ridiculous. Can fellow ladies not be inspired by the confidence of a sexy woman like Beyoncé? Can young women not accept their bodies and sexuality as beautiful instead of being ashamed of them? The devastation of unwanted pregnancies Mr. O’Reilly has rightfully pointed out stems from lack of confidence and pride in oneself, not an uncontrolled epidemic of promiscuity.

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A double standard

Furthermore, we must also point out that male musicians consistently fuel their songs with calls to lewdness and to using women exclusively for sex, which logically would also lead to unwanted pregnancies. Why is nobody pointing their trembling finger of judgment at them? It appears that women and their bodies are still peddled as instruments of seduction that need to be covered up for their own good, while men are mere victims of their charms. Where’s the equality in that?

Beyoncé speaks of the power and pride of womanhood. And yes, she shows off her figure shamelessly. Why shouldn’t she? It’s our bodies that unite us and highlight our differences; we shouldn’t be afraid of them. We shouldn’t be afraid of sex either. With that in mind, we dare say Beyoncé is indeed a feminist.

This is obviously up for debate, and we welcome differing opinions. Do share!

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