When white liberal feminists label Beyoncé as anti-feminist, they are simply perpetuating the same racist partiarchy they’re supposed to be combating.
Beyoncé is at the center of her own media empire, no small feat for a woman of color in a racist, patriarchal society. Equally important, she embodies empowered sexuality. When she dances, the passion and commitment exudes in her every step. Her body is her own; she owns it and uses it as she sees fit. When she wears a unitard or “skimpy” outfit, something many dancers wear, mind you, she is showing off her impeccable body, her temple, her source of strength, and all that it can do. She is forcing those of us who are clinging to our puritanical notions of propriety to sit down, shut up, and watch raw, unbridled talent and skill. And yes, she is a feminist while doing it.
When white women get to decide who is “feminist enough,” particularly around women of color, they are perpetuating racism. They are policing the boundaries of who is acceptable and who isn’t. This is nothing more than a tool of racist patriarchy wrapped in feminist rhetoric. Yes, racist. It is decidedly racist the way white mainstream feminist organizations police women of color’s feminist credentials, the way white liberal feminists reduce Beyoncé to a gyrating slut with a potty mouth.
If white feminists want to be seen as inclusive, as truly revolutionary, as working to end alloppressive power systems, they must stop perpetuating those oppressions themselves. Exclusionary boundaries of who is an acceptable feminist and who isn’t does nothing for feminism except perpetuate racism, heterosexism, cissexism, classism, and other forms of bigotry and oppression. The incessant questioning of Beyoncé’s character and choices is simply a reflection of the latent bigotry that exists in feminist spaces.
Until white feminists stop policing women of color’s feminist credentials, they are doomed to repeat the same racist patriarchy we are supposed to be combating.
love this! recommend reading the whole thing at the source.