Join 3,553 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


"a whisper of perfection in an otherwise cruel and inhumane world"
July 23, 2014 10:22 PM   Subscribe

Beyoncé's "Rosie the Riveter" Instagram photo is causing internet waves. The Independent has a more substantive, historically concerned article.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome (287 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
A++ would hang on wall.
posted by olinerd at 10:34 PM on July 23 [6 favorites]


Okay after reading that second link, I'm calling that famous image "Geraldine the Metal Presser" from now on.

I'm certain this improved accuracy will not impede communication in any way.
posted by aubilenon at 10:35 PM on July 23 [6 favorites]


I love this so much.
posted by MissySedai at 10:39 PM on July 23 [2 favorites]


I think a big source of the internet fame is timing - people became aware of Beyonce's photo shortly after becoming aware of the "women against feminism" tumblr, and are siezing it as a coincidental response.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:55 PM on July 23 [1 favorite]


the "women against feminism" tumblr

The what now?!
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:02 PM on July 23 [17 favorites]


Rebecca Winson at the Guardian doesn't think the original poster is a great choice to emulate. Another dissenting article (pre-Beyoncé), which includes a shot of Norman Rockwell's Michelangelo-esque Rosie the Riveter. Bonus Chell.
posted by maudlin at 11:14 PM on July 23 [12 favorites]


Urg. Just googled it. Basically, a tumblr of people who think that "feminism" means that particular strain of radical feminism often seen among wealthy white college students.
posted by Bugbread at 11:16 PM on July 23 [2 favorites]


The original is nicely composed. The tilt of the head, the raised eyebrow are crucial to the impact, but they get missed in copies. God knows what facial expression Beyoncé thinks that is.
posted by Segundus at 11:21 PM on July 23 [5 favorites]


I do kind of wish she wasn't obscuring the hook on the word bubble with her fist. Oh well.
posted by aubilenon at 11:22 PM on July 23


That's not Rosie the Riveter, that's an anti-union poster.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:32 PM on July 23 [37 favorites]


And I see maudlin also posted that link.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:33 PM on July 23


Fucking please.

The notion that Beyonce is any kind of feminist liberator is totally bizarre to me. I'd be hard pressed to name a more popularly heteronormative, cis-gendered-favoring, status-quo-towing artist in all of popular music. Yes, that's saying a lot.

Her appropriation of Rosie the Riveter is particularly despicable marketing. Again: fucking please.
posted by cmoj at 11:38 PM on July 23 [25 favorites]


I'm sad about that Rosie the Riveter take down. I like the popular image because she looks like she just started rolling up her sleeve and like she's doing it in haste, in an accusatory way towards the viewer like "What did you just say to me?"

I saw a recent version that said "We can even!" And I just enjoyed it so much. It keeps me going.
posted by bleep at 11:40 PM on July 23 [7 favorites]


That's not Rosie the Riveter, that's an anti-union poster.

What about it is anti-union? The link doesn't say.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:46 PM on July 23 [1 favorite]


wikipedia says that the poster was created for an internal westinghouse anti-strike campaign.
posted by Pre-Taped Call In Show at 11:51 PM on July 23 [3 favorites]


a tumblr of people who think that "feminism" means that particular strain of radical feminism often seen among wealthy white college students.

No, they're averse to feminism generally, and any suggestion they're not in perfect control of their fates (maybe because they're not in perfect control of their fates). Actually, googling, here's the top-voted definition at urbandictionary.com. They seem to like the olden days, basically.
posted by cotton dress sock at 11:51 PM on July 23 [5 favorites]


bleep: "I'm sad about that Rosie the Riveter take down."

Don't be sad about it. Think about every time you've seen some asshole defend their use of the word "negro" or "bitch" or whatever based on what the word meant 50 or 100 years ago. "What, it's just a neutral word for a black person!" "What, I'm talking about my dog, and she's female!" Think about how stupid it is to ignore the current meaning of the word based on its historical meaning.

Rosie's just the inverse case. If you don't buy someone's argument about how "bitch" is perfectly cromulent because of how it used to be used, don't buy someone's argument about how Rosie is anti-feminist because of how the image used to be used.
posted by Bugbread at 11:52 PM on July 23 [15 favorites]


(sorry, bugbread -- read too quickly. yes, there's some confusion going around.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 12:01 AM on July 24


If anyone is interested, this is the blog's rationale for being against feminism.
posted by koavf at 12:14 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


If you're interested, the original photo of Geraldine Doyle can be found here. She only worked in the factory a couple of weeks because she was a cellist (correctly) afraid for her hands. More here (with the "morale-boosting" slant about the posters also taken by The Independent, in contrast to the "anti-union" perspective taken by others. Of course, no one would expect an obituary for Ms. Doyle to critique the poster that made her famous.)
posted by gingerest at 12:15 AM on July 24 [4 favorites]


If anyone is interested, this is the blog's rationale for being against feminism.

Sickening.
posted by Quilford at 12:26 AM on July 24 [7 favorites]


Yes, but could we maybe not give it any more discussion? It's a derail and it's gross.
posted by gingerest at 12:32 AM on July 24 [17 favorites]


the confusion between the (much superior) Rockwell picture and the Westinghouse poster is very interesting - what's the evidence that the Westinghouse poster is anti-union?
posted by Bwithh at 12:45 AM on July 24


From the blog post about the Westinghouse poster: She’s too pretty, too perfect, too clearly chosen not because she tells a story but because she attracts the eye. She’s not an image of strength.

Of course, pre-Hollywood Marilyn Monroe was a real-life Rosie too; she helped make UAVs
posted by Bwithh at 12:50 AM on July 24 [11 favorites]


cmoj: "I'd be hard pressed to name a more popularly heteronormative, cis-gendered-favoring, status-quo-towing artist in all of popular music. Yes, that's saying a lot."

Ok, I'll bite: not knowing that much about various pop stars, what makes her so much more heteronormative, cis-favoring, etc. than Taylor Swift or Ariana Grande or Shakira or whatnot?
posted by Bugbread at 12:51 AM on July 24 [13 favorites]


The notion that Beyonce is any kind of feminist liberator is totally bizarre to me. I'd be hard pressed to name a more popularly heteronormative, cis-gendered-favoring, status-quo-towing artist in all of popular music.

She may be getting more credit than she possibly deserves, but what exactly is wrong with those attributes that diminishes her voice? A heteronormative, cis-gendered feminist can still positively contribute to the feminist community. Her fame and status is an asset, not something to be derided.
posted by Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra at 12:53 AM on July 24 [57 favorites]


I know she's trying to make a serious facial expression (or something), but it looks more like she's half-asleep. I guess someone must be dreaming if they think she's that much of a champion for True Feminism.

For better or worse, she looks more like a prop or fashion model more than anything serious. I guess what I'm saying is Beyoncé is a fucking poser.

I don't know. Something about that MotherJones post just bothers me. Maybe the lack of context. Maybe that it was written by a guy. Maybe I'm upset about how much more awesome Rockwell's image would have been as the icon.

> Ok, I'll bite: not knowing that much about various pop stars, what makes her so much more heteronormative, cis-favoring, etc. than Taylor Swift or Ariana Grande or Shakira or whatnot?
"If ya like it, then ya shoulda put a ring on it. ♪" Also, marrying Jay-Z (who is well-known for his pro-feminist lyricism) and becoming one of the biggest power couples ever.

posted by Johann Georg Faust at 12:56 AM on July 24


Johann Georg Faust: ""If ya like it, then ya shoulda put a ring on it. ♪""

Go into the MeTa thread about SSM and tell all the folks in same-sex marriages that they're being heteronormative and cis-favoring by being married. Then go tell all the people talking about wanting to get married to their same-sex partners but not being able to that they should stop pushing for SSM, because doing so is heteronormative and cis-favoring.
posted by Bugbread at 1:08 AM on July 24 [5 favorites]


the confusion between the (much superior) Rockwell picture and the Westinghouse poster is very interesting - what's the evidence that the Westinghouse poster is anti-union?

We Can Do It! (wiki)
Rosie the Riveter (wiki)
posted by sebastienbailard at 1:14 AM on July 24 [6 favorites]


the confusion between the (much superior) Rockwell picture and the Westinghouse poster is very interesting - what's the evidence that the Westinghouse poster is anti-union?

We Can Do It! (wiki)
Rosie the Riveter (wiki)


Thanks - but I'm still not seeing that the Westinghouse poster is anti-union from those links. The phrase "We Can Do It" likely was borrowed from a GM poster - and the slogan is not necessarily sharing a theme; it may have been just used because it was a well-known motivational phrase because of the earlier campaign. The original GM poster's slogan was "Together We Can Do It"; its poster was a response to a UAW public relations campaign to claim credit for increased wartime production as being primarily due to Labor (in contrast to at least sometimes unenthusiastic responses by corporate management to govt. targets). The counterargument of the GM poster is its symbolical depiction of Labor and Management working together. The message is not anti-unionization or anti-union.
posted by Bwithh at 1:38 AM on July 24 [3 favorites]


some people commenting on the original Instagram post think Beyonce is declaring support for Ukraine (because of the blue/yellow background, I bet)
posted by Bwithh at 1:43 AM on July 24


I don't think John's point was that marriage is heteronormative in itself. More the notion that "If man likes woman he should put a ring on it, it being the woman" is perhaps quite heteronormative and self effacing in a heteronormative way. I could be wrong. The message I get is that if a woman doesn't end a relationship then it is now the man's decision to stake a claim by putting a ring on "it." Perhaps objectifying is a better word. And "for all of the single ladies" here's a song to tide you over...plate of beans and all that.

Also the comment mentioning the literal definition of "bitch" conveniently ties back to "99 Problems." "Jay meant female dog of course." I don't have strong feelings on the matter. I think after being immersed in feminism and SJ stuff in general it feels incongruous somehow for Beyoncé to get a pass but it's not like some damning case must be levied against her.
posted by aydeejones at 1:53 AM on July 24


Ok, that makes sense a bit. Do Taylor Swift, et al not even exhibit that level of heternormativity? Or is that just a tip-of-the-iceberg thing with Beyonce, and there are lots of other things she's said / sung that are hyper-heteronormative, beyond that of other musicians?
posted by Bugbread at 2:27 AM on July 24


cmoj: "Fucking please.

The notion that Beyonce is any kind of feminist liberator is totally bizarre to me. I'd be hard pressed to name a more popularly heteronormative, cis-gendered-favoring, status-quo-towing artist in all of popular music.
"

I could name a bunch: almost all the white women in entertainment, for a start. You only need to take 30 seconds out to look at the monstering of black women in American media to realise that a successful, black, beautiful (straight) woman is by any measure significantly more important than fifty successful white straight women.

She may be straight and cis and she may make popular music, but black women still have the deck stacked against them in so many ways and yet there she is.

She should be a feminist icon. Alas, most mainstream feminist publications are falling over themselves to criticise her and other black artists for things they praise white women for, so.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 2:43 AM on July 24 [92 favorites]


Don't forget nearly all the men in entertainment.
posted by gingerest at 3:06 AM on July 24 [4 favorites]


If you're interested, the original photo of Geraldine Doyle can be found here. She only worked in the factory a couple of weeks because she was a cellist (correctly) afraid for her hands. More here (with the "morale-boosting" slant about the posters also taken by The Independent, in contrast to the "anti-union" perspective taken by others. Of course, no one would expect an obituary for Ms. Doyle to critique the poster that made her famous.)

Apt, then, for Beyonce to be emulating it, since she probably hasn't done any meaningful physical graft for a long long time herself, either.


"The notion that Beyonce is any kind of feminist liberator is totally bizarre to me. I'd be hard pressed to name a more popularly heteronormative, cis-gendered-favoring, status-quo-towing artist in all of popular music."

She may be getting more credit than she possibly deserves, but what exactly is wrong with those attributes that diminishes her voice? A heteronormative, cis-gendered feminist can still positively contribute to the feminist community. Her fame and status is an asset, not something to be derided.


The comment you quoted doesn't call her being heterosexual or cisgendered problematic. It calls her being heteronormative and cisgender-favouring problems. They're not the same thing. It's like the difference between a man and an MRA.
posted by Dysk at 3:47 AM on July 24 [2 favorites]


The notion that Beyonce is any kind of feminist liberator is totally bizarre to me. I'd be hard pressed to name a more popularly heteronormative, cis-gendered-favoring, status-quo-towing artist in all of popular music. Yes, that's saying a lot.

How about this:
She has more money, power, and fans that any dork on the internet who tries to break her down on the internet by calling her "status-quo-towing".

So yeah, it's a pretty empowering figure for any woman who's been insulted on the internet for existing.

Don't worry, bey, I'll always be a fan.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:55 AM on July 24 [10 favorites]


"... since she probably hasn't done any meaningful physical graft for a long long time herself, either."

Really? I consider working as an entertainer - singing, dancing, and all the relevant practice that goes in to it - to be meaningful physical graft.

Not to mention the thousands of people for whom she (and people like her) create work - everything from backup dancers to caterers to sound engineers and even, in a way, down to people like me, a project manager for a web company that sells tickets for popular music events.

I sure as hell don't think she's some kind of amazing feminist icon, but her work is meaningful. Maybe not more meaningful than doing free surgery for kids with facial deformities or something, but as meaningful as selling clothes, laying bricks, building cars, or writing books.
posted by cilantro at 4:06 AM on July 24 [21 favorites]


She may be straight and cis and she may make popular music, but black women still have the deck stacked against them in so many ways and yet there she is.

Yet she married the most successful and thorough misogynist artist of the decade. Initially famous for "Ain't No Nigga," "Who U Wit II," "Money, Cash, Hoes," "Big Pimpin" and many more uplifting songs for the so-called minority female.
posted by milarepa at 4:10 AM on July 24 [2 favorites]


She only worked in the factory a couple of weeks because she was a cellist (correctly) afraid for her hands.

That is I think more hardcore than riveting for the Man, she's like fuck this shit I need my for hands for art.

But this Beyoncé deal, politics is just ... marketing niches anymore.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 4:30 AM on July 24


Gingerest: If you're interested, the original photo of Geraldine Doyle can be found here.
Its a shame that Geraldine Doyle, the real Rosy the Riveter, never seems to have got a chance to meet up with HeloÌsa Pinheiro - the real Girl from Ipanema
posted by rongorongo at 4:32 AM on July 24 [3 favorites]


OK, two thoughts.

1. I kind of like Beyoncé's photo (although I agree she looks sleepy and, if she is working in a factory, she had best get that ring off before she loses a finger). That pose has become a classic symbol of women's power and feminism (whatever it's origins), and I can't really dismiss it when a woman uses it with a good spirit. (And, as a man, I pretty much have to assume a woman is doing a feminist thing with a good spirit unless I have pretty solid proof otherwise. I mean, it's not up to me to judge her authenticity, right?)

2. Despite my learning of the rather sad history of "We Can Do It," this thread did show me that massively awesome "Rosie the Riveter" image, and that made my week. It even makes me forgive Rockwell some of his grotesque general sentimentality. Yay!
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:33 AM on July 24 [7 favorites]


Really? I consider working as an entertainer - singing, dancing, and all the relevant practice that goes in to it - to be meaningful physical graft.

As a musician and performer as well as someone who has a manual labour job, let me assure you that there is absolutely no way the former even begins to touch the latter.
posted by Dysk at 4:40 AM on July 24


Dysk: "As a musician and performer as well as someone who has a manual labour job, let me assure you that there is absolutely no way the former even begins to touch the latter."

In which direction? I remember seeing some documentary on one of those singing/dancing pop stars, and they put even more sweat into their job than the carpenters and bricklayers and stuff I've seen working around town, and that's a lot of sweat. On the other hand, I think it takes the guys in Sunn O))) probably an entire year to get as much exercise as a bricklayer gets in one minute.
posted by Bugbread at 4:45 AM on July 24 [3 favorites]


I play very physically demanding music. And let me assure you that it is in no way as tough, or as legitimately describable as 'graft' as doing manual labour. Shifting bricks or pallets around for half a day at a time, digging holes, breaking rocks, etc. is a whole different ballgame. I can't speak to your self-employed/contractor carpenters or bricklayers - if they charge their labour at an hourly rate, they'd have an interest in working as slowly and lazily as possible.
posted by Dysk at 4:48 AM on July 24 [2 favorites]


Is this the thread where we take the piss out of any man who has replicated the Uncle Sam poster?
posted by furtive at 5:00 AM on July 24 [13 favorites]


wikipedia says that the poster was created for an internal westinghouse anti-strike campaign.

I feel like I've heard this argument so often lately: artistic intent and public reception are sometimes totally at odds, but in the end it's the public reception that matters. The Jungle was purportedly written to expose worker safety concerns, but it led to a big outcry over (and improvement in) food safety standards. We can argue about where the figure on the Westinghouse poster is "too pretty" or whether Beyonce is "too heteronormative" but the received effect is still that it's a recognizable icon of female power, and having more of them is better than not.
posted by psoas at 5:15 AM on July 24 [18 favorites]


Not for nothing, but if Rockwell's version doesn't get a lot of play in steampunk cos circles, well then steampunk, I don't even want to know ya.
posted by Think_Long at 5:16 AM on July 24 [4 favorites]


I kind of like Beyoncé's photo (although I agree she looks sleepy and, if she is working in a factory, she had best get that ring off before she loses a finger).

If you like the finger, better take a ring off it?
posted by xingcat at 5:33 AM on July 24 [32 favorites]


If nothing else, this Beyoncé photo was good for another Clickhole (the Onion's new project) piece: Beyoncé Makes Susan B. Anthony Look Like A Shit-Sucking Gutter Feminist
posted by dhens at 5:46 AM on July 24


Pretty cool, thanks.
posted by rtha at 5:58 AM on July 24


People still get offended and insulted by the idea that pop music and pop culture can have something to say.

Beyonce has one of the most diverse fanbases in recent years. "You can't not commit then get mad when I'm with someone else," is a universal sentiment.

One thing I've always admired about Beyonce (and Rihanna) is they speak to the multitudes that we women, especially black women, contain. Dominant, submissive. Contradictory. They don't define themselves by one incident, one song, one person. It doesn't define them and they don't stop when people go on about that one time they said/did that one thing.

And there's always that underccurent that people like popular things because they are brainwashed sheep. Nope, Beyonce works hard, millions love what she's doing, and that's why she's successful.
posted by girlmightlive at 6:00 AM on July 24 [23 favorites]


ILOVEBEYONCEANDSHECANDONOWRONG.
posted by kinetic at 6:06 AM on July 24 [2 favorites]


The notion that Beyonce is any kind of feminist liberator is totally bizarre to me. I'd be hard pressed to name a more popularly heteronormative, cis-gendered-favoring, status-quo-towing artist in all of popular music.

I understand and am sympathetic to the feminist critiques of Beyonce (up to and including bell hooks's), and I realize that effecting change takes more work than popularizing a hashtag, BUT: I never thought I'd see a football stadium full of tens of thousands of people (both genders, all colors) roar and fist pump at the word FEMINISM being displayed in 20-foot letters on the jumbotron. That is not nothing.
posted by sallybrown at 6:08 AM on July 24 [35 favorites]


^
If you like the finger, better take a ring off it
If you liked it then you should take the ring off it
Don't be mad once you see there's no more bling on it
'Cause if you liked it, then you shoulda take a ring off it
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh


... sorry
posted by bitteroldman at 6:09 AM on July 24 [2 favorites]


Not for nothing, but if Rockwell's version doesn't get a lot of play in steampunk cos circles, well then steampunk, I don't even want to know ya.

It'd be the wrong era, actually. Rockwell's version - and any version of "Rosie The Riveter," actually - dates to the 1940's, when the "Rosie The Riveter" thing was, well, A Thing. Steampunk is more inspired by an earlier sort of NeoVictorianSci-Fi era that pre-dates Rosie by 40-50 years.

Although, you may have seen Rosie cosplay a few years back when Swing Dancing was more of a thing.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:09 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


To the extent that the original image may have a distasteful history, it doesn't much matter. That's not what the image means anymore. Without being told about its history, you would never guess such a thing. Staring at the image will not spontaneously produce anti-union sentiment.

It's like how "prime minister" was originally a pejorative term. That sense of it has been lost to the ashes of time. Nobody uses it that way.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:15 AM on July 24 [9 favorites]


Any female celebrity, just like any female politician, is problematic because of the things that you have to do to become a female celebrity or politician. But I'd still rather have them than have no women with power. And I can tell you, I work at my feminism/not being a racist/etc. but I fail all the time at it, in little ways (and maybe big ways more than I'd like to admit), thanks to privilege or ignorance. I don't think I'm alone in that.

(Also, no mention of BeyonceVoters tumblr?)
posted by emjaybee at 6:17 AM on July 24 [6 favorites]


Urg. Just googled it. Basically, a tumblr of people who think that "feminism" means that particular strain of radical feminism often seen among wealthy white college students.

That particular strain doesn't exist either, and it does feminism no favors by behaving like the hateful stereotype of it does exist in any meaningful amount among any group of women.
posted by maxsparber at 6:20 AM on July 24 [8 favorites]


Her appropriation of Rosie the Riveter is particularly despicable marketing. Again: fucking please.

Given the number of women (and not a few drag queens, I'll bet) who have posed as Rosie the Riveter over the last 70 something years and the number of times it's been used to market scores if not thousands of products and ideas, I don't know why Beyoncé should get so much shit for using it. At the very worst it deserves an eye-roll over the use of an image that was already a cliche decades before she was born, at best a mild appreciation for her wish to at least want to identify herself with a particular kind of proto-feminist imagery. Giving her shit because she isn't bell hooks meets Emma Goldman seems like a real case of misplaced anger.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:21 AM on July 24 [15 favorites]


Plus, you rarely see a black woman depicted as "Rosie the Riveter."
posted by girlmightlive at 6:24 AM on July 24 [23 favorites]


Janet Mock on Beyonce, recently.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 6:29 AM on July 24 [2 favorites]


So apparently Phyllis Schlafly is alive and well and living on Tumblr. I'd complain about their poor faith arguments, but considering the source, that's like complaining that water is wet.
posted by pxe2000 at 6:29 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


The harshness of the criticisms expressed towards Beyonce remind me of how Hillary Clinton gets discussed. There is something about a strong, articulate feminist woman (who of course is living in the real world and making all kinds of compromises, and people are complicated and contradictory) that brings out incredibly strong criticisms from both (or all) sides. A photo of Jay Z reenacting some famous historical image simply wouldn't elicit this.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:31 AM on July 24 [22 favorites]


maxsparber: "That particular strain doesn't exist either"

For any ideology, a shitty strain exists. You may have not encountered it in your own life, which is great for you, but pretending it doesn't exist is silly. You can dismiss it as a small group of shitty people, or a shitty phase that people get through and leave behind. I've only encountered that shitty strain in university, and not since, hence my characterization of it being one of wealthy white college students. But dismissing it as not even existing is kind of ludicrous.

Or, to put it in more MeFi friendly terms: Don't discount other people's experiences.

But, yeah, all that said, it's a miniscule portion of overall feminism, and vastly over-reported, especially among Facebook users of a certain bent.
posted by Bugbread at 6:31 AM on July 24 [2 favorites]


Wow, that's a terrible photo and take on such an iconic image. It's not inspiring at all, she doesn't look into it, she doesn't look like she could realistically be working in a factorym it's badly composed and just..damn. Talk about half-assing it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:37 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


For any ideology, a shitty strain exists

Yeah, but you made it sound like it is common among white feminists at college. That's a pretty shitty stereotype of college feminism, and decidedly uncommon. And it's a crappy thing to throw into a thread about feminism.
posted by maxsparber at 6:38 AM on July 24 [8 favorites]


Not for nothing, but if Rockwell's version doesn't get a lot of play in steampunk cos circles, well then steampunk, I don't even want to know ya.

Not steampunk, but when I see that painting, my mind superimposes something like the Aliens machine gun over the rivet gun. It's such a great image, surprising there aren't more homages to it.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 6:39 AM on July 24


But, yeah, all that said, it's a miniscule portion of overall feminism, and vastly over-reported, especially among Facebook users of a certain bent.

And vastly over-advertised by people who have a vested interest in demeaning and disempowering feminism in particular and women in general, so there is that.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:41 AM on July 24 [17 favorites]


wikipedia says that the poster was created for an internal westinghouse anti-strike campaign.

Sounds like an excellent thing to appropriate for more progressive uses.
posted by aught at 6:43 AM on July 24 [6 favorites]


There is something about a strong, articulate feminist woman (who of course is living in the real world and making all kinds of compromises, and people are complicated and contradictory) that brings out incredibly strong criticisms from both (or all) sides.

Many people today are overly concerned with being seen as a purist, so even if someone is fighting the good fight but not a purist about it, they use that to discredit them.
posted by girlmightlive at 6:43 AM on July 24 [16 favorites]


And vastly over-advertised by people who have a vested interest in demeaning and disempowering feminism in particular and women in general, so there is that.

And everyone loves to play No True Scotsman for their particular creed.
posted by Setec Astronomy at 6:49 AM on July 24 [3 favorites]


maxsparber: "Yeah, but you made it sound like it is common among white feminists at college."

I probably put "often" in the wrong part of the sentence or something. Maybe you can help me better form the sentence so that it's not a bombshell.

Let's say that out of every 100,000 feminists, 10 are of this ilk. Let's say that of those 10, 9 are wealthy, 9 are white, and 9 are college students. Let's say that those overlap such that of the 10, 7 are wealthy white college students. Now, let's also say that of that original 100,000, about 10,000 are wealthy white college students.

Ok, so the vast majority of feminists are not of that ilk. And the vast majority of wealthy white college students are not of that ilk. But the vast majority of those who are of that ilk are wealthy white college students.

Like the difference between "most MRAs are straight white guys" and "most straight white guys are MRAs"

How could I have phrased that better to avoid this turning into a derail?

GenjiandProust: "And vastly over-advertised by people who have a vested interest in demeaning and disempowering feminism in particular and women in general, so there is that."

Yeah, that's what I meant by "Facebook users of a certain bent".
posted by Bugbread at 6:52 AM on July 24 [8 favorites]


How could I have phrased that better to avoid this turning into a derail?

The words "radical" or "extremist" always work well when describing the zealous subset faction of any group. I also use "wing-nut" in informal circles.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:57 AM on July 24 [2 favorites]


i saw this picture as she posted it and i loved it instantly. i think it's hilarious (and depressing if i think about it too deeply) that such a simple little thing causes all this ruckus and attacks on her. it's fascinating that one of the hardest working entertainers of our time is so constantly insulted for every tiny thing she does. it's gotten so ridiculous i'm almost surprised there aren't a spat of think pieces about how she's ruining everything by going rollerskating last weekend.

we've already done the single ladies/99 problems panic to absolute death, so maybe find those threads and just relive the arguments that way instead of rehashing them here.
posted by nadawi at 6:58 AM on July 24 [24 favorites]


How could I have phrased that better to avoid this turning into a derail?

I'm not sure the way feminists are represented is a derail in this thread, but the phrase "often seen" was the sticking point to me. I went to the University of Minnesota during the Dworkin/MacKinnon years, and, even then, the strain of feminism that these antifeminists are responding to was so rare as to be Bigfoot. I literally never saw any feminists arguing for entitlements and supremacy Or that playing the victim is empowering.
posted by maxsparber at 6:59 AM on July 24 [8 favorites]


^Nope. Those arguments are too relevant. Just because someone criticizes Beyoncé (for not being feminist enough) doesn't make this argument a spectre for bigotry. No one's knocking her for being a successful black woman, but there's a difference between compromise and hypocrisy. I do agree with Dip Flash's sentiment and understand that not everyone talking about "the people criticizing Beyoncé" are referring to "the people criticizing Beyoncé in this thread." But, damn. Maybe my eye-roll is too fierce.

And, yes, aydeejones got what I meant about putting a ring on it. That it's basically asking for women to be claimed as property. If you know the lyrics to the song, the "it" that you liked is referring to sex and her body, rather than committing to her based on her as a person.

And is it okay to just be upset with the "We Can Do It" image after learning its origins? You can't unlearn something like that, and maybe society should be about creating new iconic images to stay updated with the social issues instead of reusing misunderstood old ones. Uncle Sam isn't white anymore.
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 7:01 AM on July 24


Many people today are overly concerned with being seen as a purist, so even if someone is fighting the good fight but not a purist about it, they use that to discredit them.

I think it's a bit more complex than that. There are two broad categories of attack:

1. If you don't like feminism or women or black women, you can take advantage of an impossibly-high standard of feminism or "blackness" or "black femininity" or whatever and use that to launch an attack. Much the way that commentators on the Right like to insinuate that women in positions of power are "bad mothers" because they are, well, exercising power rather than living as disposable dolls in a fantasy of the 1950s that never happened.

2. If you are more progressive and support the idea of women having power and agency and generally oppose racism and sexism etc, don't like a specific person (in this case Beyoncé*), it's a really easy tactic to look at a way where that person is insufficiently feminist or black or whatever and use that to make your point. And this ties into the distressing tendency of a lot of progressive people to attack their allies first, because they are available and vulnerable, rather than attacking the real source of the problem. On the other hand, people should not be too hesitant to call allies on their shit because almost all of us can do better and, in a complex and crowded world, it's easy to step on someone's foot.

These two styles play out a little differently, and it's dangerous to conflate them two closely because they arise out of different impulses, and the solutions are really different.

* By the way, I think it's OK to not like Beyoncé. You can not like her music or her image or things she's said or done. That's fine. But, if you find yourself in that position, and you need to make a point about it, you have a very thin tightrope to walk. I'm not sure bell hooks managed it as well as she could have and you are probably no bell hooks (although being able to write "MeFi's Own after that would be something...).
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:02 AM on July 24 [10 favorites]


i feel like attacks on feminism from misogynists using wealthy white women (in or out of college) as the prop are deeply problematic. on the other hand, the voices of women of color, specifically black women, who try to point out problematic white supremacy that is reflected in mainstream feminism (and every other thing in the world) can sometimes be silenced because people assume those two things are the same argument.
posted by nadawi at 7:02 AM on July 24 [14 favorites]


I had a long post all typed up about who I am and my history and all this me-centered stuff about why, for me, that "women against feminism" tumblr is literally the most soul-crushing thing I have ever seen in more than 30 years on the Internet.

But then I just deleted it and put my head on my desk for a while.
posted by The Bellman at 7:06 AM on July 24 [21 favorites]


i feel like attacks on feminism from misogynists using wealthy white women (in or out of college) as the prop are deeply problematic. on the other hand, the voices of women of color, specifically black women, who try to point out problematic white supremacy that is reflected in mainstream feminism (and every other thing in the world) can sometimes be silenced because people assume those two things are the same argument.

This goes both ways too - any criticisms of feminism from the outside are conflated as attacks on women's agency/freedom rather than criticism of the -ism itself.

It's demonstrated right here in this thread where posters are framing the 'Women Against Feminism' website as if it's asking them to give up their right to vote.
posted by Setec Astronomy at 7:08 AM on July 24


And vastly over-advertised by people who have a vested interest in demeaning and disempowering feminism in particular and women in general, so there is that.

Given their timing, their descriptions of feminism, and the apparent ages and other demographic makeup of the Tumblr, I think it's not really a spontaneous thing. I mean, it came out almost precisely when Title IX issues started making waves again. If I was a social media-savvy member of say, the College Republicans or CWA or FOTF, it would be an easy way to discredit Big Government taking away Our Boy's Freedoms™ by having a bunch of mostly white, conventionally attractive, and occasionally sexualized young women "fight back" against bogeyman feminists. After all, if "feminism" can be defined as a bunch of suspiciously non-Caucasian uggo fatties who all want to oppress men with their devil vaginas, out there burning their bras and inventing stories about being sexually assaulted/harrassed, what red-blooded American woman would want to cast their lot with them?
posted by zombieflanders at 7:09 AM on July 24 [7 favorites]


all the feminists i follow on twitter who are speaking out against women against feminism are getting attacked by men far more than by women (like, 20 to 1). it seems to be at least being pushed forward by men, not women. it strikes me as particularly false flag.
posted by nadawi at 7:11 AM on July 24 [25 favorites]


It's demonstrated right here in this thread where posters are framing the 'Women Against Feminism' website as if it's asking them to give up their right to vote.

Yeah, it's "only" saying they're asking to be raped if they're drunk or are slutty sluts who slut around, that they should accept being harassed as a compliment, that they already have equal rights and should give up fighting, that they use sex to manipulate their partners, and that they should stop being such bitches to nice young men. But hey, chicks can vote, so it's all good!
posted by zombieflanders at 7:12 AM on July 24 [19 favorites]


This goes both ways too - any criticisms of feminism from the outside are conflated as attacks on women's agency/freedom rather than criticism of the -ism itself. It's demonstrated right here in this thread where posters are framing the 'Women Against Feminism' website as if it's asking them to give up their right to vote.

That may be because there exist critiques against modern feminism that depict feminism as if it were all the "straw feminists", and that kind of attitude is on display in threads about things like, oh, say, street harrassment ("why are women bothering to worry about this when there are much greater problems out there").
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:14 AM on July 24 [7 favorites]


Let's say that out of every 100,000 feminists, 10 are of this ilk. Let's say that of those 10, 9 are wealthy, 9 are white, and 9 are college students. Let's say that those overlap such that of the 10, 7 are wealthy white college students. Now, let's also say that of that original 100,000, about 10,000 are wealthy white college students.

Where are any of these numbers coming from? Are you just making up data to back up a speculation?
posted by griphus at 7:15 AM on July 24 [8 favorites]


as an over 30 year old impassioned intersectional feminist, i find beyonce to be very empowering, especially this latest album. i think it's really shitty the way she gets torn down when basically all the other women pop singers are doing some form of the "i'm not a feminist because i love men" dance. if you have a bigger problem with beyonce than what, say, taylor swift is playing at, you might need to examine why that is.
posted by nadawi at 7:19 AM on July 24 [29 favorites]


It's demonstrated right here in this thread where posters are framing the 'Women Against Feminism' website as if it's asking them to give up their right to vote.

Woman Voter says women shouldn't be allowed to vote.
posted by emjaybee at 7:19 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


These two styles play out a little differently, and it's dangerous to conflate them two closely because they arise out of different impulses, and the solutions are really different.

I agree.

Though it seems the criticisms about Beyonce are rarely about her performances or her music as it is. It's more common to see it being about her marriage to a rapper, or being a provocative dresser, or that she'll play as sexually submissive. Beyonce can certainly be critiqued but I've never found those particular criticisms, the ones thrown at her the most, to hold much weight.
posted by girlmightlive at 7:21 AM on July 24 [5 favorites]


But anyway, back to Beyonce and Rosie the Riveter.

I was the one who invoked the whole "women against feminism" tumblr above, but that was only because I saw that Beyonce's photo was picked up by Buzzfeed and such with the headline "Beyonce lays the smackdown on that tumblr with this one image". But so far as I can tell, Beyonce didn't take that picture with the intent to comment upon that Tumblr - she just thought "hey, Rosie the Riveter, this would be a cool photo op because Rosie the Riveter is awesome." And thus - much like the original image apparently was re-purposed for other uses - Beyonce's photo tribute was also repurposed as a retort to an existing thing.

Although maybe Beyonce wouldn't mind so much, I dunno. I'll yield to what she has to say, if she chooses to comment at all.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:21 AM on July 24


I had a long post all typed up about who I am and my history and all this me-centered stuff about why, for me, that "women against feminism" tumblr is literally the most soul-crushing thing I have ever seen in more than 30 years on the Internet.

My feeling is that the past two years have seen a revitalization of feminist feeling, and a real groundswell towards new activism in that area (which is so so so so badly needed) and of course we'll see a backlash towards that push. So I'm partially reassured - it means feminism has a much larger presence with young people, which of course will cause some people to attempt to preserve the status quo.

I appreciate the isobelbrujah piece for introducing me to the Norman Rockwell Rosie, but I seriously have no time for criticism of the Westinghouse poster that centers around "she's too pretty." Makes me tired.
posted by Squeak Attack at 7:21 AM on July 24 [4 favorites]


if you have a bigger problem with beyonce than what, say, taylor swift is playing at, you might need to examine why that is.

Hint: it's called misogynoir.
posted by elizardbits at 7:21 AM on July 24 [13 favorites]


Also dudes 'radical feminism' is an actual thing and does not mean 'man hating.'
posted by shakespeherian at 7:22 AM on July 24 [28 favorites]


"Ok, I'll bite: not knowing that much about various pop stars, what makes her so much more heteronormative, cis-favoring, etc. than Taylor Swift or Ariana Grande or Shakira or whatnot?"

It's not about that - it's because she's the pop cultural equivalent of Wal-Mart, IMO. She's the biggest game in town, with a large influence on the acts that follow in her wake and are looking for success and sales. The status quo across the board is not good, but her success and longevity make her a target and her name in a critical headline about pop culture is fantastic click bait for people young enough to be interested in pop culture and old enough to hold it under a political microscope. Add that to the fact that her espousal of feminist iconography seems to be hastily tacked onto her artistic output and her personal life instead of consistent with it, and this is what happens.
posted by Selena777 at 7:26 AM on July 24 [2 favorites]


i am pretty sad that terfs are doing their level best to conflate radical feminism with anti trans bigotry.
posted by nadawi at 7:27 AM on July 24 [25 favorites]


So I'm partially reassured - it means feminism has a much larger presence with young people, which of course will cause some people to attempt to preserve the status quo.

IMHO, a big part of the current debate is that nobody wants ownership of the status quo. Each side is pointing at the other and saying "This are the way they are because (other side) is in power."

Also dudes 'radical feminism' is an actual thing and does not mean 'man hating.'

Hey chicks, vice versa.
posted by Setec Astronomy at 7:28 AM on July 24


If you know the lyrics to the song, the "it" that you liked is referring to sex and her body, rather than committing to her based on her as a person.

She's speaking to her sexual partner, not her boss or coworkers.
posted by girlmightlive at 7:32 AM on July 24 [2 favorites]


Also dudes 'radical feminism' is an actual thing and does not mean 'man hating.'

Hey chicks, vice versa.


Can you explain what you mean by this? There are a couple of different interpretations of it and I want to understand which one you mean.
posted by winna at 7:33 AM on July 24 [15 favorites]


what would be the vice versa of that?
posted by nadawi at 7:33 AM on July 24 [4 favorites]


^And that makes it acceptable? This in particular is what I'm upset about. Maybe "disappointed" is a better word because Beyoncé wields so much power that if she really meant it, I feel she could do a lot more than a half-ass pose for a photograph.

Will the people who view this as specifically a racial or ethnic issue (that people only criticizing Beyoncé because she's black) please just raise your hands already? No doubt that's true for some of the criticism, and this issue might not have gotten the same traction if Taylor Swift, for example, were in the image. But to answer that argument, I'd still be disappointed: I might just use jokes about all her ex-boyfriend songs instead of pulling from my Beyoncé evidence file, but that's a big hypothetical.
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 7:37 AM on July 24


Add that to the fact that her espousal of feminist iconography seems to be hastily tacked onto her artistic output and her personal life instead of consistent with it, and this is what happens.

Hmm.

Okay, I'll grant that I'm not all that knowledgeable about Beyonce, but when you say that her artistic output isn't consistent with feminism, I kinda tip my head to one side and squint. Because the three songs I do know seem to come from a place of "women, don't let guys give you any guff." Granted, she's not doing "I Am Woman" or "Sisters Are Doin' It For Themselves," but consider the following quotes from her output:

Question: Tell me how you feel about this
Try to control me, boy, you get dismissed
Pay my own car note and I pay my own bills
Always 50/50 in relationships


You can pack all your bags we're finished (you must not know 'bout me)
'Cause you made your bed now lay in it (you must not know 'bout me)
I could have another you by tomorrow
Don't you ever for a second get to thinkin'
You're irreplaceable?


Acting up, drink in my cup
I could care less what you think
I need no permission, did I mention
Don't pay him any attention
Cause you had your turn
And now you gonna learn
What it really feels like to miss me


Again, it's not "I am strong, I am invincible, I am woman". But those are lyrics about respecting one's self enough to a) rely on one's self for financial stability, rather than trying to land a man (and potentially land a bad bargain in the process); b) kick out someone who does you wrong because you know that you can do better, and c) not pine over the guy who didn't give you what you wanted. It focuses on relationships rather than politics and work, yes, but relationships are still a big part of life, and this still speaks to a "women are equal" mindset.

Again, this is my takeaway from a very limited knowledge of her artistic output, and not based on her personal life at all (of which I know nothing). I'm more just confused when you say that feminist iconography seems "tacked on" to her art, and I'm just surprised how you'd come to that conclusion. Unless you're saying that those songs are themselves just sort of a tacked-on feminism?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:39 AM on July 24 [6 favorites]


I thought the rosie poster was internal for Westinghouse because they were getting women to do the men's jobs at less pay and the "we can do it" was an attempt to use patriotism vis a vis "the war effort" to make women accept this.

I swear I heard this in some history podcast but can't remember which one.
posted by sio42 at 7:41 AM on July 24


Add that to the fact that her espousal of feminist iconography seems to be hastily tacked onto her artistic output and her personal life instead of consistent with it

The first time I learned about "feminism" as a word and a movement was because of the Spice Girls. Really. I began with "girl power!" and today I'm the most radical feminist within my social circle. That Beyonce is espousing feminist iconography is a huge thing by itself. A song that begins by questioning why society values marriage over other choices for women and why society pits women against each other for men's attention is getting mainstream radio play! There are kids out there who haven't ever heard the word "feminism" and so the first thing they'll ever know about it is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie saying "Feminist: the person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes."
posted by sallybrown at 7:41 AM on July 24 [19 favorites]


The notion that Beyonce is any kind of feminist liberator is totally bizarre to me. I'd be hard pressed to name a more popularly heteronormative, cis-gendered-favoring, status-quo-towing artist in all of popular music.

I understand where the critics of "Beyonce: Feminist Icon" are coming from, but I think it stems fundamentally from a disconnect of how feminism can play out for Black women. Black women have never struggled under expectations to be Mrs. Susie Homemaker of the Starched Skirt and Happy Babies and Knitting Business or whatever. Instead, Black women consistently see themselves portrayed as powerless sex slaves and screaming baby-mamas. They're the women men fuck and drop, women who are classless, can't speak properly, and push out bunches of babies while living high off the government hog. They receive the message, over and over, that not only will their man cheat on them, their man is expected to cheat on them, and they are expected to raise their child by themselves and that's pretty much the best they can hope for. If they have a relationship it will be with a rotating cast of men who denigrate and disrespect them and that's OK. Any strong family they construct will be solely single-parent (and thus lesser in the view of general society), and if they have an active, consensual sex life they're sluts, must be submissive to their man, and cannot possibly expect an equal sexual partnership or any kind of commitment. It is laughable to imagine they could have a career outside of working at McDonald's in between dropping their kids off at their grandma's or letting them run roughshod all over the street and ruin America. Black women do not have individual identities. They are simply "Black women".

Beyonce is a woman who has developed total and complete ownership of her own identity, and is wildly successful for her efforts. She demands commitment ("putting a ring on it"), not because she thinks she needs to be owned but because she knows she is not a toy her partner can play with and put down when something shinier comes around. She says she can have a strong, two-parent family, a healthy monogamous sex life, a successful career, and fuck you if you think those two things are incompatible. She relishes her wifehood and family, because the stability of a strong partnership and family is something perennially denied to Black women whether in real life or in the media. She projects an image of class, competence, and control--three things denied to our societal narratives of Black women.

White feminism operates from the assumption that having a family, becoming monogamous Mrs. John Doe, raising kids, maybe building a "respectable" career or self-run business on the side, these things are the norm. Lauding marriage and family is submission to the societal narrative. Black women are fighting against an entirely different narrative, one that doesn't even consider them to be worthy of family and marriage and an independent career, so Beyonce's complete public dominance in those areas is absolutely a paradigm-shift.

Sure, you could argue it's all image. But image is important. Image, widely disseminated, has an effect on changing people's perceptions of what members of a group can be and the members of that group's perceptions of themselves.
posted by schroedinger at 7:42 AM on July 24 [132 favorites]


In other words, we're making the good the enemy of the perfect. Which feminism is no stranger to.
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 7:43 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


Also, Single Ladies is very definitely about not taking any shit. The "it" refers to the whole damn package IMHO.
posted by sio42 at 7:43 AM on July 24 [8 favorites]


I thought this was a pretty cool photo that Beyonce arranged, playful and fun and re-energizing, and didn't realize that it would be problematic for some folks; this thread has been quite a read!

Brandon - I must be a poor "eye" because I loved the photo, did not see it as poorly composed, except, as someone mentioned upthread, that her hand seems to be covering a bit of the speech bubble. Also, the colors (yellow and blue) really make it pop.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 7:43 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


I feel she could do a lot more than a half-ass pose for a photograph

You mean like have every member of her backup musician and dance team be a woman on her last tour? That kind of thing? Please tell me, tell all of us, what this woman needs to do to earn your approval. I'm anxious to hear all about it.
posted by elizardbits at 7:43 AM on July 24 [57 favorites]


IMHO, a big part of the current debate is that nobody wants ownership of the status quo. Each side is pointing at the other and saying "This are the way they are because (other side) is in power."

One of them is lying, and the evidence of it is out in full view. And it's astonishing that you're making this argument in a thread about a symbol of women opposing the status quo being used by another woman as an alternate form of status quo being opposed.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:44 AM on July 24 [4 favorites]


(Also, it's saying: YEAH I'M A FEMINIST DEAL WITH IT but utilizing a hugely important symbolic American image. Fuck that's great!)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 7:45 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


I guess I'm an old (!!), but when I try to think of other big name female pop stars to compare to Beyonce, I think of Britney and Christina Aguilera, and maybe Mariah Carey. Beyonce is such a better feminist role model than these other women, it's not even a contest.
posted by gueneverey at 7:45 AM on July 24 [4 favorites]


And hello, Beyonce is claiming/reworking a WHITE image that speaks to WHITE women - I think she's uniting white women and black women in this image. IMHO.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 7:49 AM on July 24 [5 favorites]


> Please tell me, tell all of us, what this woman needs to do to earn your approval. I'm anxious to hear all about it.

The way you frame this makes it sound like, by default, I can't approve of her or don't already. Which is shitty of you.

I'm not going to lay out a 15-point plan to turn Beyoncé into my version of the ultimate feminist icon. That defeats the purpose. I just wish the picture were better and done by someone whose feminist credibility is not as easily questioned or attacked. Is it okay for me to engage in wishful thinking anymore? I don't doubt this is ultimately a good thing, which you might have picked up from paying attention to my language about being "disappointed" rather than angry or my "good is the enemy of the perfect" comment you jumped over for this attack.
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 7:55 AM on July 24


Black Folk Don't: do feminism
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 7:56 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


Considering that "feminist" was an actual slur (as in, people expected you to feel shame when you were called that) when I was a kid, I'm ok with it now being associated with one of the most wealthy and successful women in the world.
posted by emjaybee at 7:57 AM on July 24 [6 favorites]


As The Independent notes, Pink did a similar homage in her Raise Your Glass video last year. No one objected.
posted by zarq at 7:58 AM on July 24 [6 favorites]


Radical feminism is not "the most extreme kind of feminism." It is a strand of feminism, the way Marxist feminism is a strand of feminism. Marxist feminism locates capitalism as the root cause of the oppression of women; radical feminism locates patriarchy as the root cause of the oppression of women.

People can (and are) using it however they want, I guess, but should be aware that it is an Actual Thing that has meaning socially, politically, historically, and academically.
posted by rtha at 7:59 AM on July 24 [25 favorites]


Beyonce is such a better feminist role model than these other women, it's not even a contest.

To be fair, Christina Aguilera has an entire video where she and Lil Kim confront men who are harassing them on the street. The entire song is one of the more mainstream feminist pop songs I've heard.
posted by girlmightlive at 8:01 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


nobody wants ownership of the status quo

I think that explains the Women Against Feminism tumblr as much as anything. Everyone likes to be a rebel. It's a lot easier to get a bunch of young people to be against something than for something. It shouldn't be surprising that some women are, genuinely, "against feminism." Lots of people rely on government every day and are against it also. Some gays don't like talk of gay rights or gay marriage. We could probably come up with more examples of people who seem opposed to things which are apparently to their benefit. None of that necessarily invalidates the arguments for government or gay rights or same sex marriage.

If I was a social media-savvy member of say, the College Republicans or CWA or FOTF, it would be an easy way to discredit Big Government taking away Our Boy's Freedoms™ by having a bunch of mostly white, conventionally attractive, and occasionally sexualized young women "fight back" against bogeyman feminists.

I'd be surprised if that hasn't been done already, but it's a tumblr, who the hell knows? It could just as easily be a gag by someone who thought it was a riot to get a bunch of young women to post pictures of themselves saying "I hate feminism."

I will say that the arguments presented against "feminism" here sound a lot less like the kinds of arguments you might hear a woman make against feminism, i.e., that it's too compromising or too ineffective or too dominated by some particular class or group and more like the kinds of arguments you hear men make against feminism.

Anyway, there's very little argument presented by that tumblr, just an assertion of tribal identity against another tribe. It's sad, but seems mostly harmless.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:01 AM on July 24


I just wish the picture were better and done by someone whose feminist credibility is not as easily questioned or attacked.

No such person exists.
posted by ftm at 8:04 AM on July 24 [31 favorites]


Radical feminism is actually at this point (from what I can tell) the most mainstream theory in the feminist panopticon. So learn yer facts.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:05 AM on July 24


Radical feminism is actually at this point (from what I can tell) the most mainstream theory in the feminist panopticon. So learn yer facts.

...Claiming that radical feminism is "the most mainstream theory" at this point is using a definition of the word "fact" with which I must have been previously unaware.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:06 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


No such person exists.

Now, now, I am sure we could find a man to explain it. He'd get some respect!
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:06 AM on July 24 [9 favorites]


I just wish the picture were better and done by someone whose feminist credibility is not as easily questioned or attacked. Is it okay for me to engage in wishful thinking anymore?

You don't need my permission to do anything. And it was and remains a legitimate question which you have ignored in favour of saying that I'm a mean meanypants. What does Beyonce, or anyone else, have to do to be a good enough feminist to suit you? Who is it you would put on this pedestal of feminist credibility? Who would be good enough to pose in this iconic photo's place? Whose feminism is beyond reproach in your eyes, in the eyes of society?
posted by elizardbits at 8:06 AM on July 24 [14 favorites]


As The Independent notes, Pink did a similar homage in her Raise Your Glass video last year. No one objected.

Nobody noticed.

Okay, that's facetious and a slight exaggeration, but this is certainly the first time I've heard that referenced. Personally, it irks me whenever I see any millionaire try to lay claim to a 'dignity of hard toil' sort of image. As someone who is severely underpaid to do hard work, it rubs me the wrong way.
posted by Dysk at 8:06 AM on July 24


I just wish the picture were better and done by someone whose feminist credibility is not as easily questioned or attacked.

Not saying it's not good and important to continue to be critical of pop culture and its approach to feminism, but the internet has never met someone whose feminist credibility is not easily questioned or attacked.
posted by Think_Long at 8:07 AM on July 24 [3 favorites]


ftm: "No such person exists."

It's been a while since I've seen bell hooks be attacked for lacking sufficient feminist credibility. For the way she writes her name, perhaps, but not for her feminist credibility.

I would totally agree with "no such popular musician exists", though.
posted by Bugbread at 8:07 AM on July 24


Also, as an addendum: popular culture has painted feminism as the preference of lesbians who wear flannel and hate men and shaving their armpits. It is ridiculous but that's what a stupid number of young women think "feminism" means, even if you point out "feminism" is about allowing women to vote and preventing men from beating their wives and whatnot. If you talk to a very smart friend of mine (she's in grad school in the sciences!) you'll know immediately she's a feminist. She's passionate about promoting women in the sciences, she thinks men and women are equal, she hates gender roles, etc etc, but says she's "only a little bit feminist" because the word in her mind is associated with whatever crazy fantasies Rush Limbaugh perpetuated on the world twenty years ago.

Beyonce is public proof you can love your husband, your family, wearing dresses and makeup, all of that "girly" stuff and be a feminist. The feminist movement needs women like her to counteract the inane stereotypes coming from the Right.
posted by schroedinger at 8:09 AM on July 24 [45 favorites]


...Claiming that radical feminism is "the most mainstream theory" at this point is using a definition of the word "fact" with which I must have been previously unaware.

'Fact' as in 'radical feminism does not mean "the most extreme feminism."'
posted by shakespeherian at 8:12 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


'Fact' as in 'radical feminism does not mean "the most extreme feminism."'

Okay, if I'm wrong on that score then fair enough (I was unaware there was a specifically accepted definition for the term "radical feminism"). But it sounded like you were making the claim that that particular philosophy had become mainstream in feminism, and that's the bit that made me say "hold up".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:15 AM on July 24


elizardbits, you misunderstand. Beyoncé is a "good enough" feminist already. I just want her to be a better one because there's always room for improvement. She could always divorce Jay-Z and call out any bit of his misogynist history. She could spend every amount of her fortune (that doesn't threaten her livelihood) on progressing women's rights, but how practical does all of that sound?

> No such person exists.

That's what I'm afraid of. That the very nature of being a popular woman means your credibility is under attack. Dip Flash said something like this, and I agreed in one of my first posts in this thread. Fitting that it played out where my presumably legitimate criticism still got shaded into a defensive position.
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 8:17 AM on July 24


Wikipedia on radical feminism.

I guess it's a question of what you view to be mainstream. A feminism largely based in radical feminism was certainly the dominant school in many circles in the recent past.
posted by Dysk at 8:18 AM on July 24


God damn, Schroedinger, I can't favorite that comment enough at all, at all. It put into words something I have been trying to articulate about Beyonce and the Bey-cklash and couldn't quite get right. That is beautiful.
posted by like_a_friend at 8:20 AM on July 24 [2 favorites]


Random question: How is "Bey" pronounced? "Beyonce" is "Bee Yon Say", right? So is "Bey" like "Bee" or like "Bay"?
posted by Bugbread at 8:22 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


Like Bee.
posted by girlmightlive at 8:23 AM on July 24


But it sounded like you were making the claim that that particular philosophy had become mainstream in feminism, and that's the bit that made me say "hold up".

Radical feminism is the idea that the root struggle of feminism is against patriarchal culture rather than misogynist legal structures (liberal feminism) or class structures (Marxist feminism) or etc. In all of the conversations I've seen and been party to, that is certainly the dominant narrative.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:24 AM on July 24 [6 favorites]


In retrospect, I should just let schroedinger do the talking, because that's an aspect of the argument (e.g., that she actually loves Jay-Z and materialism and she should have the freedom to do so) I've admittedly ignored.

PS: I've heard "Bey" like "bay" when talking about the Beygency. But "Bey" like "bee" when talking about Queen Bey.
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 8:24 AM on July 24


But it sounded like you were making the claim that that particular philosophy had become mainstream in feminism, and that's the bit that made me say "hold up".

I think some parts of radical feminism are mainstream in current feminist thought (patriarchy as a primary cause of women's oppression), but other parts are nearly obsolete (lesbian separatism as a solution for heterosexual women and, to a lesser extent, the anti-porn movement), and intersectionality has helped expand feminist understanding of oppression beyond patriarchy.
posted by sallybrown at 8:26 AM on July 24 [4 favorites]


So is "Bey" like "Bee" or like "Bay"?

I say "Bey" like "Bay."
posted by sallybrown at 8:27 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


In retrospect, I should just let schroedinger do the talking, because that's an aspect of the argument (e.g., that she actually loves Jay-Z and materialism and she should have the freedom to do so) I've admittedly ignored.

I can't think of a less-charitable reading of what schroedinger said than that. And I've honestly tried!
posted by like_a_friend at 8:27 AM on July 24 [3 favorites]


So "Bey-cklash" would be "Beeclash"?

shakespeherian: "In all of the conversations I've seen and been party to, that is certainly the dominant narrative."

Looking through the Wikipedia article, it seemed like a close fit for MeFi, but then there were the bits about it being criticized for overlooking middle-class white privilege, which is not a characteristic I would assign to MeFi. What school would MeFi's general take (focus on patriarchy, privilege, and intersectionality) most closely align with?
posted by Bugbread at 8:27 AM on July 24


sallybrown: "I say "Bey" like "Bay.""

Oh, sorry, missed that on preview. So, since there are differences in how people are reading "Bey", I guess it's kinda like "Mefi", a word mostly seen online but not heard in actual speech, so pronunciation varies significantly from person to person?
posted by Bugbread at 8:29 AM on July 24


I just wish the picture were better and done by someone whose feminist credibility is not as easily questioned or attacked.

Ignoring the question of feminist credibility, I'd like to defend the picture on aesthetic grounds. I like the fact that it is not art directed within an inch of its life. We see enough images of Beyonce that have been manipulated beyond what is recognizably human, and those have the place, but this was an image sent out over Instagram. That's a format for vernacular photographs, and it's a format in which photographs are not merely objects in and of themselves, but part of a social conversation.

Her taking the image in a way that is consistent with vernacular photography is not only appropriate for the medium, it's also appropriate for the subject matter. Because it's imperfectness makes Beyonce just another person who is imperfectly taking a pose. She's not an art directed superstar here. She's an actual woman.
posted by maxsparber at 8:29 AM on July 24 [7 favorites]


I would probably largely describe mefi's feminism as an intersectional radical feminism, on a good day for mefi.
posted by Dysk at 8:30 AM on July 24 [5 favorites]


Nobody noticed.

Okay, that's facetious and a slight exaggeration, but this is certainly the first time I've heard that referenced.


She talked about it on Ellen Degeneres. There were stories about it on MTV and E!. I'm pretty sure I saw the reference mentioned in The Hollywood Reporter and Entertainment Weekly when they covered her video, which has ~93 million views on youtube.

At least some people noticed. They just didn't seem to have a problem with it.
posted by zarq at 8:30 AM on July 24 [2 favorites]


She could always divorce Jay-Z and call out any bit of his misogynist history.

Whoa, for real? You're suggesting Beyonce would be a better feminist if she divorced her husband? I guess because you think he's too misogynistic to be a good partner for her? Do you have a better spouse in mind for this woman you've never even met? I feel pretty secure stating that Ms. Knowles is the best judge of who makes a good partner for her in her own damn life, and this particular "a GOOD feminist would divorce this guy" suggestion sounds suspiciously like the folks who tell me I can't be a radical feminist because I'm straight.

And although apparently it still needs to be noted that you don't know Jay-Z, and I don't know Jay-Z, even assuming that you have verifiable knowledge that the dude is, outside of his songs' lyrical content, a noted IRL misogynist, it should be noted that misogynists are everywhere.

In my experience, most -- not a few, not some, most -- dudes are obliviously misogynistic on a regular basis. Even superlatively feminist men can step in it big time. It doesn't mean they're not good people, that they're not lovable, and that they can't make good partners for strong feminist women. I sort of can't believe this needs to be explained in 2014. Judging a woman's feminist credibility on the creative output of her partner is beyond the pale.

That's what I'm afraid of. That the very nature of being a popular woman means your credibility is under attack. Dip Flash said something like this, and I agreed in one of my first posts in this thread. Fitting that it played out where my presumably legitimate criticism still got shaded into a defensive position.

I'm going to hazard a guess that you're not a woman, because if you were a woman, you wouldn't be afraid, you'd already know that being a woman means your credibility will come under attack almost constantly, in situations you can neither expect nor predict. You don't need to be popular, talented, wealthy, or attractive to have your truth and experience regularly called into question by people you have to interact with every day. You just have to be a woman.

Fitting that it played out where my presumably legitimate criticism still got shaded into a defensive position.

That your position is sincerely held does not mean it is legitimate.
posted by divined by radio at 8:35 AM on July 24 [42 favorites]


I just want her to be a better one because there's always room for improvement.

I think it's shitty to focus so much on you own perception of a person's Movement Bona Fides rather than on the particular communicated message or image under discussion.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:36 AM on July 24 [3 favorites]


yeah for fucks sake she married Jay-Z not Norman Mailer.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:38 AM on July 24 [5 favorites]


> Ignoring the question of feminist credibility, I'd like to defend the picture on aesthetic grounds.

My original problem with the nature of the picture was about her facial expression, or lack thereof.

And yes, that was a disingenuous interpretation of schroedinger's comment. But they are absolutely right. I just have a habit of not bowing out of debates gracefully or without sarcasm and snark.

I can't (and won't) spend all day here, because it's just too hard to convey how I feel about everything before the next misinterpretation. Prime example, divined by radio just made a comment about something I've already conceded, but they make a good argument and provide useful information. My point about divorcing Jay-Z and giving up her money was that it was an unreasonable request. schroedinger just made the point that it should be unreasonable for a different reason, and I agree.

Really, I agree with a lot of what is being said here, but no one's going to go back and read all of my posts for a clearer understanding because of the nature of these "1 vs. 100" threads. I know I have no place saying what the perfect feminist icon should be. Because I actually said that exact thing upthread. I still believe in wishful thinking, though.

v That's why I said presumably. Come on, people. I'm trying to learn from this, so don't make it needlessly harder.
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 8:41 AM on July 24


my presumably legitimate criticism

Legitimately tone deaf, and consciously or unconsciously echoing all kinds of antifeminist critiques.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:44 AM on July 24 [3 favorites]


At least some people noticed. They just didn't seem to have a problem with it.

If a popular musician calls back to the "We Can Do It" poster, and no one posts an FPP, has it really happened?
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:44 AM on July 24 [4 favorites]


My point about divorcing Jay-Z and giving up her money was that it was an unreasonable request.

It might be helpful in threads that are about women dealing with real issues not to advance unreasonable, hypothetical suggestions.
posted by maxsparber at 8:46 AM on July 24 [7 favorites]


Her appropriation of Rosie the Riveter is particularly despicable marketing.

Again: fucking please.
posted by Pudhoho at 8:47 AM on July 24 [3 favorites]


you also called her a 'fucking poser' and said she looked like a prop. I mean those arent nice things
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:48 AM on July 24 [4 favorites]


> It might be helpful in threads that are about women dealing with real issues not to advance unreasonable, hypothetical suggestions.

You're really going to quote that and not my next sentence about learning my lesson? Case in point.

I stand by my statement that she's a fucking poser. That isn't mutually exclusive from a good feminist, but she's not any kind of "whisper of perfection." For all the good this image does, she still looks half-asleep and not as serious as the issue surrounding the nature of the image.
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 8:54 AM on July 24


Beyoncé is a level or two of popular and ubiquitous beyond Pink. I don't listen to radio except what plays at work, but I've somehow managed to not escape Beyoncé periodically. I didn't know Pink was still going, not having heard anything since Get This Party Started.
posted by Dysk at 8:57 AM on July 24


fyi this was an instagram not a photo shoot.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:57 AM on July 24 [4 favorites]


It even makes me forgive Rockwell some of his grotesque general sentimentality.

That sentimentality is a trap. You get all comfortable with the status quo, as lovingly depicted by Rockwell, and then bam - he reminds you he's showing you an ideal, not the actual status quo, and here's an ideal you may not have thought of before. (Note the huge hands ready, but not yet clenched into fists, and the perfectly shined shoes. The full dignity and force of society protecting the rights of the most helpless and innocent - not showing the faces invites the viewer to imagine themselves in the role, "The Problem We All Live With")

It's kind of a trite and maudlin sentiment now, but it was explosive at the time, and he broke his contract with his long-time patron in order to create and publish it.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:58 AM on July 24 [11 favorites]


I know I have no place saying what the perfect feminist icon should be.

Look, feel free to imagine the perfect feminist icon. Knock yourself out. But be cognizant that you are imagining a fictional character. And be cognizant that if you pose your perfect feminist icon against a real woman and then tell people that you find the real woman wanting, people will find you risible (especially if you are a man) and you will get rised.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:59 AM on July 24 [26 favorites]


You're really going to quote that and not my next sentence about learning my lesson? Case in point.

I'm literally unable to pinpoint where you say you learned a lesson, or what that lesson is.

I have to say, part of the problem is that I am having an awful lot of trouble following what you're trying to say, because you seem to be saying several things at once. It's coming across as "Beyonce is awful but nobody is perfect but I can wish for perfection because I am a dreamer but I'm not the one who should be wishing for that."

I'd say if it seems like people are minsunderstanding you, there's a real possibility that it is not because they are choosing to read you uncharitably, but because you aren't communicating super clearly. And when somebody states something and the opposite in the same sentence, we don't have to respond to everything they said. We can choose the part of it that we have something to say about.

I mean, I don't think you're doing this deliberately, but I have to say that this is a tactic that somebody in the future might choose, and it could make conversations here, especially about difficult subjects, especially hard. "I didn't say that! I said it and then later its exact opposite!"

Well, you said the first thing too, and people can have a reaction to that.
posted by maxsparber at 9:07 AM on July 24 [7 favorites]


It might be helpful in threads that are about women dealing with real issues not to advance unreasonable, hypothetical suggestions.

We're all dealing with Beyonce, she's not a burden that women are bearing alone.
posted by yonega at 9:08 AM on July 24


It might be helpful in threads that are about Beyonce dealing with real issues not to advance unreasonable, hypothetical suggestions.
posted by maxsparber at 9:10 AM on July 24 [2 favorites]


The discussion appears to be beyond this, but:

Ok, I'll bite: not knowing that much about various pop stars, what makes her so much more heteronormative, cis-favoring, etc. than Taylor Swift or Ariana Grande or Shakira or whatnot?

She's not, but none of those other artists are trumpeted as being somehow empowering or feminist for their equally culturally mundane songs.

She may be getting more credit than she possibly deserves, but what exactly is wrong with those attributes that diminishes her voice?

If you're talking about her actual voice, it doesn't diminish it. I also don't understand what's supposed to be special about her voice (she can hit notes, but has zero character), but being a shill for the status quo doesn't diminish that.

If you're talking about her reach, then it diminishes it considerably because it makes her a money-grubbing hypocrite, riding her manufactured representation as an empowering representative of women to the top.
posted by cmoj at 9:12 AM on July 24


It might be helpful in threads that are about Beyonce dealing with real issues not to advance unreasonable, hypothetical suggestions.

Nothing that she's done, in my eyes, outweighs her providing aid and comfort to Jay-Z.
Even if she did divorce him, she's incredibly rich without him.

She could just stop putting him on her songs.
posted by yonega at 9:16 AM on July 24 [2 favorites]


i wonder if Beyonce and Jay-Z ever talk about his song lyrics and misogyny.

i'm not really familiar with much he's done except for 99 problems and new york state of mind (i like Alicia Keys' version better tho).
posted by sio42 at 9:17 AM on July 24


I must be a poor "eye" because I loved the photo, did not see it as poorly composed, except, as someone mentioned upthread, that her hand seems to be covering a bit of the speech bubble. Also, the colors (yellow and blue) really make it pop.

My problem is that the specific image she's mimicking is from a particular place and time, and she doesn't look like she belongs to that place and time at all, which dilutes the message for me. I've see another takes on that poster which do this successfully.

No biggie, it looks like she was goofing around in the backyard for a minute. Fine, but it looks like she was goofing around in the backyard for a minute, which cheapens and dulls the message.

Now, a contemporary outfit with those colors and similar pose are more Beyonce's speed.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:18 AM on July 24


If you're talking about her reach, then it diminishes it considerably because it makes her a money-grubbing hypocrite, riding her manufactured representation as an empowering representative of women to the top.

I suspect if I look hard enough, I can find this exact argument leveled against every influential disco artist who ever had the temerity to become a pop music sensation.

And, much like those disco artists, Beyonce will be remembered for her music and the strides she made for women, and the detractors-on-principle will have about as much cultural cachet as the Disco Sucks! jackasses.
posted by griphus at 9:19 AM on July 24 [4 favorites]


What's Disco?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:23 AM on July 24


providing aid and comfort to Jay-Z

We have always been at war with Jay Z
posted by elizardbits at 9:26 AM on July 24 [35 favorites]


when will beyonce be brought to justice for these wartime atrocities
posted by elizardbits at 9:28 AM on July 24 [20 favorites]


What's Disco?

To my surprise it's one hundred stories high. People getting loose, Brandon, getting down on the roof. Folks are screaming, out of control.

It was so entertaining when the boogie started to explode.
posted by maxsparber at 9:29 AM on July 24 [12 favorites]


If you're talking about her reach, then it diminishes it considerably because it makes her a money-grubbing hypocrite, riding her manufactured representation as an empowering representative of women to the top.

It isn't exactly clear to me what makes Beyoncé a money-grubbing hypocrite—or any more of a money-grubbing hypocrite than any other performer at her level of success—but I think your problem with Beyoncé is that she exists at all, not what kind of feminist she may or may not be.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:29 AM on July 24 [3 favorites]


when does finally does get brought to justice she better look 100% or people will say she's half asleep or lazy or disheveled
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:29 AM on July 24 [6 favorites]


So let me get this straight.

There are people who are evaluating the quality of Beyonce's feminism....based on things her husband said?

Dudes, I think Alanis Morrisette just called and asked me to thank you for coming up with new lyrics for one of her songs.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:29 AM on July 24 [32 favorites]


Now, a contemporary outfit with those colors and similar pose are more Beyonce's speed.

I think what you meant to say was, "more MY speed" because Beyonce is the only one who gets to determine what her speed is.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:30 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


I think we can safely say what her speed is not and that is Speed 2: Cruise Control.
posted by maxsparber at 9:32 AM on July 24


Now, a contemporary outfit with those colors and similar pose are more Beyonce's speed.

I think what you meant to say was, "more MY speed" because Beyonce is the only one who gets to determine what her speed is.


If she had worn some contemporary stage-costume type thing like she usually does then everyone would talk about how she took a feminist icon and made it all slutty.
posted by like_a_friend at 9:32 AM on July 24 [8 favorites]


I'm not really bothered by a rebranding that makes being feminist stop being a dirty word to a large number of people who are otherwise used to the idea that it's a weird think for rich white women with non-culturally typical body grooming standards. The reality is that I live in a world where coming out as a feminist occasionally shocks people- they were not expecting 'someone like me' to buy into it precisely because I'm a cis-presenting woman who likes men.

And I mean, Christ, we're debating who she married, as if his artistic work erased her identity. The fact that she's cis-straight is somehow relevant to the conversation and that smacks of a turf war, as if the gender bending demolishing stuff was the only thing we were allowed to do.

If you make feminism not mean anything but a very narrow definition of it, you make it all too easy to detach everything from the fact that navigating social systems and power relationships constructed on a gender binary is hard, and start making it about a very small bubble of stuff- in other word you give more credence to the "I'm not a feminist but..." brigade.

And I feel like if you're going to look for icons representative of the cis-straight side of things, her public persona is not a bad shorthand for trying to navigate the whole male gaze/ patriarchy misogyny zoo while you also want to partner with one or more of the class of people who may be accidentally or deliberately upholding a system that causes you challenges, while making the compromises you can with the desire to be feminine while not have to put up with ridiculous gender baggage, when you've been indoctrinated since birth by people who loved you.

And we keep bringing "Single Ladies" into it, a song about how "If you are not in a monogamous committed relationship with me, I do not value your input on my sexual self expression". As if wanting to get married was the worst sin ever. And then little old feminist me has to tell people oh no, we don't actually think marrying and being feminine is bad! It's about freedom of personal choice.

Meanwhile a lot of her other pop songs deal with things like the economic implications of being an autonomous unit navigating relationships with lingering implications of dependency or double standards- often emphasized by music videos- If I Were A Boy, Run the World, Irreplaceable spring to mind. This doesn't make her entire body of work above reproach, but frankly if we're all going to do feminist club purity tests, including deciding who you get to have sex with, I sincerely fail to see how this helps anyone.
posted by Phalene at 9:34 AM on July 24 [24 favorites]


There are people who are evaluating the quality of Beyonce's feminism....based on things her husband said?

He's horrible. Every track is about how much money he has, how much things he can buy, how many women he has, his diamonds, how much better he is than everyone.. all first-person screeds about his greatness and did I mention his money?

So.. she has songs about being just as good(horrible) as he is.. that makes her a positive icon? If I were a woman would I magically like her more because she is also a woman and speaks from a (singular) woman's perspective?

Jay-Z and I are both black men and I think he's the devil terrible. They're married, they're on the same team, they have an alliance. I can't not see her as horrible by association.

When I'm feeling disenfranchised I wouldn't turn to him for empowerment. And she KEEPS PUTTING HIM ON HER SONGS, so it's not like I could go running to her either.
posted by yonega at 9:39 AM on July 24 [2 favorites]


People getting loose, Brandon, getting down on the roof. Folks are screaming, out of control.

Quiet! You'll start a panic at the disco!
posted by octobersurprise at 9:39 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


I think what you meant to say was, "more MY speed" because Beyonce is the only one who gets to determine what her speed is.

No, what I wrote is what I meant.

If you're seriously saying that it's not obvious that my statement was my opinion and that I'm somehow trying to tell Beyoncé what to wear, then it doesn't sound like we're going to have interesting discussion.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:43 AM on July 24 [2 favorites]


that I'm somehow trying to tell Beyoncé what to wear

Come to think of it, how do we know you aren't Jay-Z?
posted by octobersurprise at 9:46 AM on July 24


He's horrible. Every track is about how much money he has, how much things he can buy, how many women he has, his diamonds, how much better he is than everyone.. all first-person screeds about his greatness and did I mention his money?

I'm a former New Orleanean and, with P. Diddy, he donated $1 million in relief after Katrina. His documentary, Diary of Jay-Z: Water for Life, is largely about his efforts to inform the public about global water shortage.

I mean, he's far from perfect, but if that's the devil, I have mixed feelings about the devil.
posted by maxsparber at 9:48 AM on July 24 [8 favorites]


providing aid and comfort to Jay-Z

It's already been brilliantly skewered but I'd like to point out the horned dilemma upon which this view impales all women.

If you DO associate with men, you're dismissed based on their behavior.

If you DON'T associate with men, you're dismissed as a man hater.

The great (where great is defined as crappy and pointless) thing about being a woman is that it's impossible to make a life choice that will not permit your attitudes and opinions to be deemed irrelevant.
posted by winna at 9:57 AM on July 24 [36 favorites]


Also she could be on a dedicated anti-jay z mission. Two years from now he dies from heavy metal poisoning and we're like what? Didn't see that coming

Don't judge by appearances is all I'm saying
posted by the young rope-rider at 10:07 AM on July 24 [12 favorites]


Winna, this view impales all people.

If you associate with horrible people, you're judged according to their behavior.. why? Because you're endorsing it by associating with them.

Who you hang out with, who you decide to start a life with, these are all indicators of a person's values.

If you saw me at an MRA rally, you might be disinclined to associate with me. Everyone is judged by the choices they make and rightly so. In fact, it's an expression of privilege to be able to hang out with terrible people when their terribleness doesn't affect you personally.

I agreed with elizardbit's parody of my views as fact, so while brilliant it was hardly a takedown.


If you don't care about the values of the people you associate with, or the values of your second-order associates.. that's your business.

Beyonce being a woman doesn't enhance my opinion of the Beyonce/Jay-Z Materialistic Propaganda Mill, though--whatever it might do for yours.
posted by yonega at 10:08 AM on July 24 [2 favorites]


My problem is that the specific image she's mimicking is from a particular place and time, and she doesn't look like she belongs to that place and time at all, which dilutes the message for me. I've see another takes on that poster which do this successfully.

No biggie, it looks like she was goofing around in the backyard for a minute. Fine, but it looks like she was goofing around in the backyard for a minute, which cheapens and dulls the message.


I don't mean to pick on you specifically, Brandon Blatcher, but this kind of thing is so tired and tiresome and tiring.

A popular woman makes a statement -- verbal, political, visual, whatever -- that could be read as feminist, and that could 'advance the cause' by getting people otherwise not inclined to go "Huh. That's pretty cool. If that's feminism, maybe I don't have a problem with feminism after all!" I mean, that's a good thing. That's a net good.

But no matter what, there are going to be men -- or *a* man, with a platform -- who loudly minimize it by saying, "Well, I get what she was going for, but it would have made more of an impact on me if she'd done it this other way instead. Points for trying though."

And you know what? Who fucking cares what would have made it more effective for them? Why is that the point? Why does it always come back to that? That is just so fucking representative of the things that feminism tries to address and change. My god, it's tiring.
posted by mudpuppie at 10:11 AM on July 24 [13 favorites]


I really have a hard time viewing Jay-Z as a 'horrible person'. What am I missing?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:12 AM on July 24 [2 favorites]


I understand that Japan was developing a perfect feminist robo. One that met Johan and Uonaga's criteria for what a woman in public should be: completely on message and flawless.

They abandoned the project when the Men in the project complained that she was "plastic".
posted by happyroach at 10:13 AM on July 24 [3 favorites]


He's horrible. Every track is about how much money he has, how much things he can buy, how many women he has, his diamonds, how much better he is than everyone.. all first-person screeds about his greatness and did I mention his money?

So you've listened to like zero of his songs I guess

That's cool
posted by shakespeherian at 10:13 AM on July 24 [10 favorites]


yonega, my name isn't capitalized.

And I disagree that it affects all people to the same degree. Are people dismissing Jay-Z because of Beyoncé? No, they aren't. But somehow his views are relevant to hers to such an extent that people can dismiss her opinions entirely based on his artistic output.

Although nice sneer at the end implying that I somehow have an enhanced view of a Beyoncé/Jay-Z Materialistic Propaganda Mill (whatever that is) because she is female. Five star!
posted by winna at 10:13 AM on July 24 [4 favorites]


If you saw me at an MRA rally, you might be disinclined to associate with me.

I might hang out with your wife, though.
posted by maxsparber at 10:15 AM on July 24 [9 favorites]


A nice thing about being a man is that nobody will ever criticize you for not being feminist enough.
posted by chrchr at 10:15 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


He's horrible. Every track is about how much money he has, how much things he can buy, how many women he has, his diamonds, how much better he is than everyone.. all first-person screeds about his greatness and did I mention his money?

So.. she has songs about being just as good(horrible) as he is.. that makes her a positive icon? If I were a woman would I magically like her more because she is also a woman and speaks from a (singular) woman's perspective?

Jay-Z and I are both black men and I think he's the devil terrible.



Forgive me, and I know that as a white person my perspective on Jay-Z is not necessarily informed by the same perspective as yours, but ... this thread is about Beyonce as a feminist. We live in a world where people seem to routinely imprison women, sometimes for decades, to rape and abuse them (just to isolate one single type of hideous misogynist atrocity that seems to be super-duper common).

In this light, in this thread, calling Beyonce horrible because her husband is "the devil" because he raps about money... seems just a little bit, and by little bit I mean approximately 1000 miles, away from the point. People do a lot worse in this world, and a lot worse specifically to women, than be rich, materialistic, and somewhat thoughtless.
posted by like_a_friend at 10:16 AM on July 24 [2 favorites]


And if Jay-Z rapping about having money and babes makes him a horrible person, the my personal hero, Glenn Danzig, must be Beelzebub himself.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:18 AM on July 24 [3 favorites]


Glenn Danzig, must be Beelzebub himself.

He seems pretty convincing in the role, I must say.
posted by winna at 10:20 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


He's horrible. Every track is about how much money he has, how much things he can buy, how many women he has, his diamonds, how much better he is than everyone.. all first-person screeds about his greatness and did I mention his money?

....I'm reading this and I'm trying to figure out what this has to do with things Beyonce says. You're judging the quality of a woman's opinions based on things her husband said. That sounds awfully like you're ignoring what she says, and what she says strikes me as the most primary source for finding out what she thinks.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:22 AM on July 24 [9 favorites]


He seems pretty convincing in the role, I must say.

Tell your children not to walk his way.
posted by mr. digits at 10:22 AM on July 24 [3 favorites]


Wait hang on so is the Beyonce/Jay-Z Materialistic Propaganda Mill going to be unionized or not?
posted by griphus at 10:24 AM on July 24 [6 favorites]


I am just still sitting here trying to figure out how feminism and being rich are at odds with each other, Gloria Steinem has hella cash.
posted by like_a_friend at 10:26 AM on July 24 [4 favorites]


providing aid and comfort to Jay-Z.

This is seriously the funniest thing I've seen on mefi in like a week
posted by Greg Nog at 10:32 AM on July 24 [14 favorites]


Forgive me, and I know that as a white person my perspective on Jay-Z is not necessarily informed by the same perspective as yours, but ... this thread is about Beyonce as a feminist. We live in a world where people seem to routinely imprison women, sometimes for decades, to rape and abuse them (just to isolate one single type of hideous misogynist atrocity that seems to be super-duper common).

In this light, in this thread, calling Beyonce horrible because her husband is "the devil" because he raps about money... seems just a little bit, and by little bit I mean approximately 1000 miles, away from the point. People do a lot worse in this world, and a lot worse specifically to women, than be rich, materialistic, and somewhat thoughtless.


I might have some .. strong feelings .. about the things this music as been the soundtrack to and the contexts in which it has come up and the outcomes of people I know personally who idolized Jay-Z back when he was musically relevant to anything. I don't criticize him for being these things but for promoting them.

I don't think it's that far out of the park when the subject is working-class feminist imagery. But if the subject is not the art/music/propaganda featured in and related to the linked article.. and is actually about routine imprisonment, rape, and abuse of women.. then this would all be pretty irrelevant.

Anyway, I'm stopping now. I apologize if my ideological hatred of Jay-Z and all of his works has spilled over onto anyone else(except Beyonce).
posted by yonega at 10:33 AM on July 24 [2 favorites]


I am just still sitting here trying to figure out how feminism and being rich are at odds with each other,

Look it was the first thing I thought of, I know I hate Beyonce I just don't know why
posted by shakespeherian at 10:33 AM on July 24


here is the morningstar himself fetching mysterious items for his dark rituals
posted by elizardbits at 10:33 AM on July 24 [16 favorites]


Wait hang on so is the Beyonce/Jay-Z Materialistic Propaganda Mill going to be unionized or not?

It will look like this, spreading the Materialistic Propaganda far and wide with the power of the wind.
posted by winna at 10:34 AM on July 24


Two years from now he dies from heavy metal poisoning and we're like what?

Yes, the classic plot from everyone's old-timey favourite film, Arsenic and Booty Shorts.
posted by elizardbits at 10:36 AM on July 24 [14 favorites]


that seems to be super-duper common

It's horrific, awful and nightmarish. The fact that they happen at all is a complete tragedy. But those incidents are not 'super-duper common.' I say this not to be obliviously pedantic, but because these really are isolated happenings, and are front-page news when brought to light precisely because they're so infrequent and disgusting.
posted by zarq at 10:37 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


I've heard the internet burbles about Beyoncé now being a feminist but because I don't really follow her, had to google it. Quote from a CNN article:

The word feminist "can be very extreme," she told Vogue. "But I guess I am a modern-day feminist. I do believe in equality. Why do you have to choose what type of woman you are? Why do you have to label yourself anything? I'm just a woman and I love being a woman.". and this:

The "average working woman earns only 77 percent of what the average working man makes. But unless women and men both say this is unacceptable, things will not change."

So I don't personally like her (her HBO "documentary" about herself, created/produced by herself, etc., just made me cringe), and of course she's in the famous/rich bubble, but if she wants to use the enormous bullhorn of her mouth to "come out" as a feminist, awesome. That will have real impact on young girls.
posted by sfkiddo at 10:37 AM on July 24 [2 favorites]


providing aid and comfort to Jay-Z.

This is seriously the funniest thing I've seen on mefi in like a week


I'd say two weeks. Maybe three. JulyByWomen you are KILLIN IT!
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:38 AM on July 24 [6 favorites]


But no matter what, there are going to be men -- or *a* man, with a platform -- who loudly minimize it by saying, "Well, I get what she was going for, but it would have made more of an impact on me if she'd done it this other way instead. Points for trying though."

Well, yeah. there's always going to be someone with a opinion or someone viewing it from a different angle. And some people are always going to find that viewpoint annoying or tiring or frustrating. That's just life.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:40 AM on July 24


I don't think "women, they have it just as bad as anyone else" is a productive way to talk about people whose views are being minimized.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:48 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


But those incidents are not 'super-duper common.'

Yeah I suppose "common" was the wrong word, I probably should have said "super-duper visible" or "commonly recognizable."

But my point remains: in a thread specifically about feminism and a woman's individual position within the axes of feminism, you better have something more than "has money, likes to talk about it" if you're going to 1) call someone the devil, and 2) claim that their devil-ness is so extraordinarily vicious and pervasive that it invalidates the unrelated social philosophies of someone who isn't even them.

Not when it is so trivially easy to find examples of actual devils.
posted by like_a_friend at 10:50 AM on July 24 [3 favorites]


Yes, the classic plot from everyone's old-timey favourite film, Arsenic and Booty Shorts.

This sounds like the perfect film.
posted by Mister_A at 10:52 AM on July 24 [2 favorites]


mods I am not going to name names but can you confirm or deny that one of the people posting in this thread is actually Nas
posted by Greg Nog at 10:53 AM on July 24 [39 favorites]


my ideological hatred of Jay-Z and all of his works

Hey btw I really liked your album Illmatic, it was a real game-changer.
posted by elizardbits at 10:54 AM on July 24 [21 favorites]


curse you nog
posted by elizardbits at 10:54 AM on July 24 [14 favorites]


Arsenic and Booty Shorts.

Unless you're Randolph Scott, you've never seen Cary Grant like this!
posted by maxsparber at 10:54 AM on July 24 [3 favorites]


here is the morningstar himself fetching mysterious items for his dark rituals

Do you think at some point he just has a ton of unsold Misfits/Samhain/Danzig merch laying around and went "fuck it" and stopped buying clothes?
posted by griphus at 10:54 AM on July 24 [3 favorites]


The Jay Z thing is relevant and interesting insofar as Beyonce's work and messaging really did seem to change kind of a lot after she met Jay, at least for a while. A lot of her Independent Women themed stuff was pre-Jay, which is kind of interesting. To think that Beyonce is a particularly outspoken feminist based solely on her artistic output ignores a lot of her oeuvre (c.f. Cater 2 U etc).

But she is a fantastic R&B artist and has that duende thing about her, which will cause a lot of people to bring their own meanings to her and her work, which is part of what makes any great artist great. And what people bring to Beyonce has generally been this very positive, feminist-centric thing, which cannot be ignored and which is generally cool.

Also like, Jay's lyrics are also part of the hip-hop game, you know? I don't think it makes sense to take either of their lyrics as some literal reflection of who they are and what they believe about the world. And besides, Beyonce's lyrics are not even all her own.

I think it's nice they're in marriage counseling though. They are role models for a lot of folks, and maybe it'll help change some of the stigma about getting help for your relationship for some.

In conclusion, Jay and Bey are a land of contrasts.
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:56 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


Yes, the classic plot from everyone's old-timey favourite film, Arsenic and Booty Shorts.

This needs to happen.
posted by schroedinger at 11:02 AM on July 24


I know a lot of women who are anti-feminism, who aren't college girls (although they're mostly white). And on the whole, there are 2 common denominators among them: 1) some kind of feeling that if you're feminist, you're anti-femininity. As, you're fighting for "equality" so that woman HAVE to go in the boardroom, HAVE to be firefighters, HAVE to dress a certain way because they're fighting objectification, etc. 2) I've noticed about these women how much of their self-identity - particular the femininity - is related to religion. A lot see feminism as anti-faith, or as something they're being asked to recognize before their faith.

I don't have to imagine how Beyoncé scares the hell out of them for these reasons because I've heard it. (A lot of these same kind of women embraced Sarah Palin as some kind of feminist icon, too, before it got lost in the craziness.) And, for right or wrong, this is a powerful group of women in terms of influence.

I consider myself a feminist in an every day kind of way - I'm not "out there" so speak, but I do what I can when I can - and I have real, every day access to these kind of women, so I want to influence them. Yet I'm not real knowledgeable in any way about schools of feminism or movement and history. To build cohesive arguments with these women requires knowledge of the rhetoric and vocabulary that people who are familiar with it have, and while I do my best, it's difficult. I suspect I'm more representative of the average in knowledge and every-day-ness. (While I'd love to learn more, and it physically hurts that I don't because of the troubling implications that it's wrong to go about it this way, I have my own, exhausting every day fight - i.e., the guy who just walked into my lab and said, "So this is where the kitchen is!")

Like any field of knowledge, just interacting with that realm can be extremely intimidating. But here is an idea about which every one feels entitled to an opinion - I'm an X, therefore I know something about it - so for those of us who are uncomfortably aware of our lack of knowledge, but also aware there that we have our own thoughts and feelings, watching the kind of argument playing out here is kind of horrible. Half of me wants to scream: If Beyoncé is a feminist icon to me, a white girl from rural Wyoming who doesn't even listen to her music, how can you argue with that kind of reach? (She's also an icon to me as a woman precisely because she is successful, so back off the hypocrisy claims because what, women have to not be successful to be taken seriously?) The other half wants to go, wow, some of you have some interesting points I've never considered before, and that might need to be talked about, but.... this isn't helping me convince those who need convincing about the subject as a whole rather than this particular article.

So for those of us who have trouble with the conversation, the idea of a role model is very powerful. A role model can overcome those feelings of femininity and faith far better than any rhetoric the average person like me can build. A good example is Ellen - I know a number of women who love Ellen Degeneres, and their attitude towards gay marriage did a complete 180 due to Ellen.

Beyoncé troubles them, for many of the reasons schroedinger outlined above, but at least she's out there. She's stepped up. The idea we need a white, middle class role model infuriates me, however. Ideas of perfection and purity also piss me off, because it approaches that same kind of religious association many of the anti-feminism women (and men) use as a tool. And so left floundering and intimidated, I'm left wondering if arguments about Beyoncé could be bad for average people who don't have access to the true academic discussions but considers themselves feminists and look to role models to help us with those who aren't. That is not to say they shouldn't be had, it's more of a roundabout way of pondering how these discussions affect the general discourse in the streets rather than in the classroom.

I realize this all sounds very naive - if this were a discussion about my own fields of knowledge I know exactly how I'd respond to my comments, and it wouldn't be pretty - but it seems worth putting out there as a potentially common viewpoint - that there are feminists out there doing their quiet best and discussions like this leave them feeling confused and disoriented and unsure of what to do.
posted by barchan at 11:03 AM on July 24 [18 favorites]


Some interesting comments here.

My original take on the photo was that she really boo-booed by having her hair down. Obviously no factory work in that girl's background! The ring is the other dead giveaway. The second thought was that she's got absolutely no arm muscle--My 12 yo granddaughter has developed hella muskles by shoveling compost this summer. So factory worker representative, she's not.

She's a very beautiful woman, though.
posted by BlueHorse at 11:03 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


For as much gnashing of teeth as is going on in this thread I have not seen so many hilarious comments (intentional or otherwise) in one place in a while.
posted by schroedinger at 11:04 AM on July 24 [7 favorites]


oh holy shitsnacks wall of text one day I will not have diarrhea of the keyboard posting but it is not this day sorry
posted by barchan at 11:05 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


I hate references to pimping with a furious passion so, yeah, I get hating jayz. I don't extend that to Beyonce because I understand what it's like to deal with the ways men are socialized. If you're attracted to them you will deal with them being sexist. That's pretty much a given. Hence the appeal of political lesbianism and separatist movements.
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:05 AM on July 24 [9 favorites]


zarq: It's horrific, awful and nightmarish. The fact that they happen at all is a complete tragedy. But those incidents are not 'super-duper common.' I say this not to be obliviously pedantic, but because these really are isolated happenings, and are front-page news when brought to light precisely because they're so infrequent and disgusting.

Disagree. There's millions of women in situations they can't get out of all over the world who aren't going to make front-page news when they either escape or die in them. Most of these big huge front page news about these stories involve white women and/or women in places where women have it kind of a little bit better than all that. There's lots of situations that don't need to play out in a deep dark basement to prevent someone from being able to leave. Especially if the surrounding society is uncaring and no help can be reasonably expected even if you do walk out.

like_a_friend: But my point remains: in a thread specifically about feminism and a woman's individual position within the axes of feminism, you better have something more than "has money, likes to talk about it" if you're going to 1) call someone the devil, and 2) claim that their devil-ness is so extraordinarily vicious and pervasive that it invalidates the unrelated social philosophies of someone who isn't even them.

I thought it was a thread about a photograph of a singer. I'm not going to compare my opinion of an artist's output to my reaction to literal crimes. I mean, yes.. there are a few things that I hate more than Jay-Z and if you see Beyonce as standing in opposition to those things and her existence and her output as defying those things.. well, I guess that's more good than it is bad.
posted by yonega at 11:06 AM on July 24


Idk if yonega and I are referencing the same things but if you watch the documentary Very Young Girls your perspective about this stuff will likely change and jolly references to pimping will seem sociopathic.
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:10 AM on July 24 [7 favorites]


Yeah I suppose "common" was the wrong word, I probably should have said "super-duper visible" or "commonly recognizable."

*nod*

Also, I have to apologize. I sort of knee-jerk responded to the way you worded your comment because I felt it was too hyperbolic. But let's face it, just because women aren't frequently being imprisoned in houses and assaulted, abused or worse for decades at a time doesn't mean they're not very frequently oppressed or abused, and far, far more often than men. They are. I shouldn't be nit-picking over a matter of degree here. It's insensitive of me and I'm sorry.

But my point remains: in a thread specifically about feminism and a woman's individual position within the axes of feminism, you better have something more than "has money, likes to talk about it" if you're going to 1) call someone the devil, and 2) claim that their devil-ness is so extraordinarily vicious and pervasive that it invalidates the unrelated social philosophies of someone who isn't even them.

Not when it is so trivially easy to find examples of actual devils.


Completely agree.
posted by zarq at 11:15 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


Idk if yonega and I are referencing the same things but if you watch the documentary Very Young Girls your perspective about this stuff will likely change and jolly references to pimping will seem sociopathic.


I have seen Very Young Girls and agree that pimping is sociopathic, however I fail to see how this train of thought ends with Beyonce being unfeminist, for the exact reasons you listed in the comment before this.
posted by like_a_friend at 11:16 AM on July 24 [2 favorites]


and if you see Beyonce as standing in opposition to those things and her existence and her output as defying those things.. well, I guess that's more good than it is bad.

I guess I actually just see Beyonce as her own individual human being and not fundamentally just an extension of the person she's married to?

(p.s. thanks zarq!)
posted by like_a_friend at 11:20 AM on July 24 [5 favorites]


I guess I actually just see Beyonce as her own individual human being and not fundamentally just an extension of the person she's married to?

That's reductive. It's not about her being not an "individual human being" or about her being "fundamentally just an extension of the person she's married to".

She associates with him by choice. She endorses him. She puts him on her songs. He references Ike freaking Turner on one of her tracks. His views are a part of her output. Beyonce (featuring Jay-Z). It's her song, from her album, she owns it, she chose for that to go out the way it did. She's way bigger than he is, both commercially and culturally, right now and she's sharing that with him. That's exactly the kind of thing that--for me--a photograph does not outweigh.

I never said she's "unfeminist", that's not my determination to make and I don't think in those terms.
posted by yonega at 11:30 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


On non-preview, yes, yonega. I agree.

the young rope-rider, I've never seen Very Young Girls. Watched the trailer and found it too disturbing.
posted by zarq at 11:30 AM on July 24


I freaking hate how whenever Beyoncé makes some kind of splash in the news, everyone (including metafilter) loves to pony out how she's not real, or just faking it, or not representing all women or just something.

But then there was lady gaga who could do no wrong on metafilter. And people saw her as the next coming of christ.

Whatevs, bey. You got staying power. See you at the rock and roll hall of fame in a few decades.
posted by hal_c_on at 11:31 AM on July 24 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I am more responding to people who aren't getting why someone might find jayz repulsive and immoral. I personally don't have that reaction to him for whatever reason but I don't think it's totally out of left field, either.
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:33 AM on July 24 [2 favorites]


barchan: " oh holy shitsnacks wall of text one day I will not have diarrhea of the keyboard posting but it is not this day sorry"

Please don't apologize. I found your comment eloquent and impassioned.

A+++++ would read again!
posted by misha at 11:43 AM on July 24 [6 favorites]


I love the look of the Beyonce photo and the message I interpret as "women can do anything". That's empowering.

I'm surprised this post didn't give any of the background about the timing for the Beyonce photo and the whole Women Against Feminism foolishness that may have inspired it, though. I didn't know about that tumblr myself until it was mentioned in the thread about street harassment, and I think it would have helped to lay down some context.
posted by misha at 11:52 AM on July 24 [2 favorites]


Thank-you misha, I'd just like to be respectful of everyone's time.

What I really wanted to do was quote one of my bookmarks from someone's tumblr but I couldn't. *looks side-eyed at elizardbits, cries*
posted by barchan at 12:04 PM on July 24 [2 favorites]


I just saw the trailer for 50 Shades and it "features an exclusive version of Crazy in Love" and I am torn. TORN. WHY BEYONCE. I understand I do but still.
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:53 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


barchan, the only thing I didn't like about your comment was how often you talked about not knowing what you're talking about. If that's an example of you wading into unfamiliar territory, please remind me not to ever disagree with you about anything to which you admit a speck of expertise.
posted by Errant at 12:59 PM on July 24 [4 favorites]


I'm not getting the criticisms about how she doesn't look "factory authentic" enough with a ring on and her hair down and omg her arms aren't muscled. The Rosie meme isn't about manual labor anymore. Plus no actually she seems quite strong to me.
posted by pajamazon at 12:59 PM on July 24 [5 favorites]


every time someone calls her Bey in a politically relevant thread, I want to make a Temporary Autonomous Zone joke but I can never get it quite there
posted by threeants at 1:14 PM on July 24 [3 favorites]


Some critics of feminism have the same amount of discerning that some critics of Islam/Christianity have.

Why do people need to associate an ideological position with a particular attitude?
posted by halifix at 1:30 PM on July 24


But then there was lady gaga who could do no wrong on metafilter.

Where have you gone Lovecraft In Brooklyn our weblog turns its lonely eyes to you.

there are a few things that I hate more than Jay-Z

If your point is that you hate Jay-Z and by extension hate everything Jay-Z is associated with, well, ok. Hate who you like; it's the American Way. If your point is that Jay-Z is such a moral monster that Beyoncé shouldn't be taken seriously as a—feminist—artist—a human being—it isn't clear to me—until she denounces him, then I don't think the evidence is here that he is such a monster. The being rich and arriviste and writing songs that toy with offensiveness wouldn't be enough to make him a monster, just a garden variety asshole. And if a woman had to get rid of the asshole in her life just to be judged on her own merits, then where would we be?

Re: the photo in particular, while I tend to agree with Brandon that it simply looks like a snapshot of a clever idea, I don't think that's a bad thing. It's Instagram, of course it's a snapshot (or supposed to look like a snapshot). Relatedly, I did LOL at the Lana Del Ray (whose shtick I actually dig, a bit) quote linked beneath the Beyoncé pic:
"For me, the issue of feminism is just not an interesting concept. I'm more interested in, you know, SpaceX and Tesla, what's going to happen with our intergalactic possibilities. Whenever people bring up feminism, I'm like, god. I'm just not really that interested…My idea of a true feminist is a woman who feels free enough to do whatever she wants."
OMG, I'm, like, what have the Romans ever done for us?
posted by octobersurprise at 1:31 PM on July 24 [9 favorites]


I'm not getting the criticisms about how she doesn't look "factory authentic" enough with a ring on and her hair down and omg her arms aren't muscled. The Rosie meme isn't about manual labor anymore. Plus no actually she seems quite strong to me.

Beyoncé is obviously a talented performer who can usually project strength in any number of ways. There's no doubt that she works hard at her job as an entertainer. However, the idea and image that she worked in a factory is just laughable and comes off as incredibly amateurish in this particular image. I know, I know, it's a symbol, she's symbol. Still falls flat.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:31 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


Thanks Errant, but every time there's an "ism" thread on MeFi I'm reminded all over again that there are people here who have devoted tremendous amounts of time, even their careers, to thinking about and studying these "isms" and I'm always humbled by it. (Especially when one of my carelessly thought out opinions gets burned to the ground exposed for the thoughtlessness that went into it by a mere side remark about something.) This thread is a great example.
posted by barchan at 1:55 PM on July 24


ugly cackling at this thread. some of y'all are (unintentionally) hilarious motherfuckers. others of you have been blessed by beysus - go on and let your light shine.
posted by nadawi at 2:06 PM on July 24 [7 favorites]


Beyoncé is obviously a talented performer who can usually project strength in any number of ways. There's no doubt that she works hard at her job as an entertainer. However, the idea and image that she worked in a factory is just laughable and comes off as incredibly amateurish in this particular image. I know, I know, it's a symbol, she's symbol. Still falls flat.

There's a donut shop in my old neighborhood with an eight-foot-high mural of the Rosie meme where she's saying WE CAN DONUT

I don't think most people care whether this particular symbolic image is always deployed as authentic to blue collar labor.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:07 PM on July 24 [12 favorites]


There's a donut shop in my old neighborhood with an eight-foot-high mural of the Rosie meme where she's saying WE CAN DONUT

I don't think most people care whether this particular symbolic image is always deployed as authentic to blue collar labor.


those particular donuts are kind of amateurish and do fall flat though.
posted by like_a_friend at 2:11 PM on July 24 [3 favorites]


I don't think most people care whether this particular symbolic image is always deployed as authentic to blue collar labor.

Then why are you caring where someone thinks about this image when there's a nice donut shop?

And you don't know what those donuts are thinking
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:20 PM on July 24


Beyonce worked in a factory?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 2:30 PM on July 24


Yes, a groove factory.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:33 PM on July 24 [3 favorites]


She worked really hard before she had a successful solo career. She had to pay her bills, bills, bills somehow.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:33 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


It's not about her being not an "individual human being" or about her being "fundamentally just an extension of the person she's married to".

Really. I thought it was all about how you wanted to take a thread about a woman, and make it all about a man.

"What about the Menz" doesn't always have to be positive.
posted by happyroach at 2:44 PM on July 24 [6 favorites]


But what about the manatees? I'd like to make this thread all about a manatee.
posted by grumpybear69 at 2:53 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


Oh the huge manatee.
posted by octobersurprise at 2:55 PM on July 24 [3 favorites]


I would say that for someone who performs as many dance-heavy shows as she does per year, in heels might I add, eventually Beyonce will likely have comparable physical wear and tear that someone would from working heavy manual labor for the same amount of time. The fact that she will be able to afford topnotch medical treatment for injuries throughout the rest of her life does not render this fact invalid.

I realize this is not what BB's comment was addressing, yes. It's more a statement to point out that anyone in this thread who thinks that what she does is not physically difficult and exhausting work? You are wrong and bad.
posted by elizardbits at 3:13 PM on July 24 [18 favorites]


Echoing elizardbits above (and O GOD WHY DID YOU TAKE YOUR TUMBLR AWAY I HAVE ALL THE DISTRESSES), I have met professional back-up dancers for big names like Bey and believe me, their knees, legs, and hips are seriously messed up. That kind of choreography looks great but is murder on the body.
posted by Kitteh at 4:03 PM on July 24 [4 favorites]


I know many women who need to wear flats or sneakers all the time because in their 20s thru 40s they had to wear heels to work because that's women did. All day. And they have permanent foot and back damage now.

Heels are hard and then do dancing in them like that, yikes. Yes it is indeed work and incredibly hard on the body.
posted by sio42 at 5:01 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


this seems like the right time to link to yanis marshall, the fabulous and fantastic high heeled man dancer.
posted by nadawi at 5:23 PM on July 24


Really. I thought it was all about how you wanted to take a thread about a woman, and make it all about a man.

They have names.
posted by yonega at 5:38 PM on July 24


They have names.

I don't even know where to go with this. I've snerked soda all over my keyboard.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:51 PM on July 24 [14 favorites]


oh great, now time magazine writers are scrambling to define snerk.
posted by nadawi at 6:44 PM on July 24 [3 favorites]


Barchan -- re Beyonce's potential power to reach anti-feminists.

As far as I'm aware -- this doesn't cover a whole lot of ground in pop culture, at the moment, to be fair -- little of what Beyonce's demonstrated in her career so far (other than that recent statement about the wage gap etc.) has opposed anti-feminists' core beliefs (from what I can tell about them). One of their key messages is that they don't want to be thought of as victims. They see themselves as agents, they're all in with just-world thinking, they believe, absolutely, in meritocracy. It's why they resent and reject sociological analyses, like feminism(s). Beyonce is a vision of the kind of personal power they already admire.
posted by cotton dress sock at 7:44 PM on July 24


I mean I think she certainly changes ideas about who's allowed to partake in the kind of power they like.
posted by cotton dress sock at 7:46 PM on July 24


Just wanted to say I saw Beyonce and Jay-Z last week and it was the best concert of my life. I think it's really awesome to have a pop star out there speaking so proudly about feminism. ***Flawless is my favorite song in a long time.
posted by SarahElizaP at 8:58 PM on July 24 [2 favorites]


Oh, so many things:

1) Beyonce does not look sleepy in that photo -- she is daring you not to like it, and some of you have foolishly taken up this dare.

But seriously, there's something about visual literacy, or cultural literacy, going on here -- that is a straight-up maddog as far as I can tell.

2) Bey is STRONG. She dances like whoa. For hours at a time, weeks on end. She didn't catch a lot of biceps in this photo, which was a lark. Let it go.

3) Bey might be married to Jay-Z because she really loves him ... love does make you do the wacky, does it not? (I here make no representation about whether Jay-Z is evil or whatevs; I don't care.)

4) On balance, how is this image not a good thing (for pro-feminists)?
posted by allthinky at 9:22 PM on July 24 [4 favorites]


Beyonce does not look sleepy in that photo

Ok, she looks high.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:28 AM on July 25


the whole thread was worth the Greg Nog Nas diss.
posted by Bookhouse at 7:04 AM on July 25 [2 favorites]


People who look at that expression on her face and don't see fierce live in a different world than the one I inhabit here in Oakland.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 7:52 AM on July 25 [3 favorites]


This thread made me laugh, seriously, so much that I want it sidebarred now.
posted by misha at 7:54 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


The discussion about her facial expression has lead to a tangential thought:

I've read that there's some World War II museum that has a denim work shirt, bandana, and "We Can Do It" backdrop on hand so women can take their own Rosie-selfies if they want (this may be where Beyonce took this photo, in fact).

And I just had the horrifying thought - I wonder how many of the people who indulge in Rosie-selfies have used duckface.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:59 AM on July 25


Did Beyonce Steal Kelly Rowland’s ‘Rosie the Riveter’ Pose? There's a lot of hyperbolic ranting at the link, but I do think Kelly pulled of the image much better than Bey did.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:06 AM on July 25


From Brandon's link:

"The 33-year-old single mother does not have an original, creative bone in her body. When you have no creative talent it becomes necessary to steal the creativity of others. Shame on Beyonce!"

Oh damn that's harsh!

Is this where I get to say, Haters gonna hate?
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 8:21 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


(Also: I totally want a blog post about "Magic Johnson's effeminate son" cause he is bending the gender rules like nobody's business.)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 8:24 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


If Did Beyonce Steal Kelly Rowland’s ‘Rosie the Riveter’ Pose?

Kelly is clearly the second lead riveter in the group.
posted by sallybrown at 8:48 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


(Also: I totally want a blog post about "Magic Johnson's effeminate son" cause he is bending the gender rules like nobody's business.)

I need his lipstick. It's that perfect shade between red and berry-colored.
posted by sallybrown at 8:49 AM on July 25 [2 favorites]


> some asshole defend their use of the word "negro"

Please remember that for a couple of decades, the word "negro" was the desirable and polite word for what we now would call black or African-American. Nor was there ever a time when "negro" was the prime hate speech term for African-Americans.

Yes, it would be wrong to use it today. I was going to say that I hadn't used the word in 40 years, but I realize that isn't true at all, I've used it in a historical context - I've talked about "the Negro Leagues" in baseball for example.

If someone told me that a person was "a negro" and left it at that, I'd be astonished, but it would seem like some crazy anachronism to me, not hate speech. (Of course, a phrase like "Obama the Magic Negro" is obvious racism...)

I grew up when people were trying hard to consistently use "negro" as a good thing, so I just want to put the word into perspective.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:16 AM on July 25


Please remember that for a couple of decades, the word "negro" was the desirable and polite word for what we now would call black or African-American. Nor was there ever a time when "negro" was the prime hate speech term for African-Americans.

*nods* There's a clip from the documentary When We Were Kings which shows Muhammed Ali in a charter plane, and he's marvelling at the fact that the pilot and co-pilot are both African; as he's remarking on it, he says something like "this is a strange thing to see for an American Negro." It sounds weird today, but in the 70's, it was indeed an accepted term.

Although, to be fair, it did fall out of favor during the mid-70's, if I remember correctly.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:26 AM on July 25


... the word "negro" was the desirable and polite word for what we now would call black or African-American

I've always been a fan of "Greek God(ess) Bronze)" or "A foundling carved out of onyx". Whatever works for the individual.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:37 AM on July 25 [2 favorites]


Contemporary Jay-Z, for all the negativity he may still represent to some of you, has criticized his own lyrics about pimping. He's stopped writing those lyrics and has expressed regret about how he treated the subject in the past.

Maybe his wife had something to do with helping him to grow? Maybe she deserves credit for that?

It's a pretty narrow reading to cast her as complicit in a song that was written by her husband years before she even knew him.
posted by chrchr at 9:56 AM on July 25 [5 favorites]


I've never read him talking about that stuff, but I did notice a subjective improvement in his stuff after they got together. I'd be interested in reading it if you have it handy, chrchr.
posted by the young rope-rider at 1:03 PM on July 25


lupus_yonderboy: "Please remember that for a couple of decades, the word "negro" was the desirable and polite word for what we now would call black or African-American. Nor was there ever a time when "negro" was the prime hate speech term for African-Americans."

Yes, that was exactly my point. That's why I picked "negro" and "bitch" instead of "n****r" or "c**t".
posted by Bugbread at 4:20 PM on July 25


How many people do you think had heard of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie before "Flawless"? How many afterwards?
posted by KathrynT at 5:44 PM on July 25 [3 favorites]


feminist panopticon

I'm not sure what a feminist panopticon is, but I'm pretty sure I want one! Sounds diabolical.

"Better Watch Out: Feminism Is Watching You..."
posted by nacho fries at 7:43 PM on July 25


"What kind of an animal would say this sort of thing?" -- Jay-Z on "Big Pimpin'"
posted by chrchr at 8:22 PM on July 25 [2 favorites]


May be disingenuous, but Jay Z claims the bitch in 99 problems is a police dog
posted by rainydayfilms at 4:27 AM on July 26


we actually had a couple huge conversations about that but they're hard to find - here is a pretty good comment about it (in a fairly difficult thread) and in that same thread, here is a quote from jay-z.

the bitch is 3 different things in the song - rap critics, the k9 unit, and weak men who run to the cops. it's not unproblematic, but one has to really not listen to the song to come away thinking he's talking about women being bitches.
posted by nadawi at 5:54 AM on July 26 [1 favorite]


« Older There were a number of notable firsts for women el...  |  In 1964, less than 7% of Missi... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments