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Beyoncé Is Just a ‘Lite Feminist’ According to Legendary Singer Annie Lennox

BellaNaija.com

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Beyonce - BN Music - April 2014 - BellaNaija.com

2014 has been the year of feminism in the entertainment industry, right after Beyoncé dropped an album that was all about feminine power, embracing sexuality and gender equality in December 2013.

With each concert, each ‘Flawless’ remix, and each Beyoncé stan the word ‘Feminist’ has been resounded in our ears. Well according to legendary singer Annie Lennox, Beyoncé is nothing but a ‘lite feminist’.

What does that mean?

59-year-old Annie Lennox who is a Scottish singer-songwriter, political activist and philanthropist explains to PrideSource.com that quite a few artists are simply taking advantage of the word and using it as a cheap shot for boosting their image. You can read her full interview with Pride Source here. 

She states about Beyonce’s recent 2014 MTV VMA performance: “I would call that “feminist lite.” L-I-T-E. I’m sorry. It’s tokenistic to me. I mean, I think she’s a phenomenal artist – I just love her performances – but I’d like to sit down (with her). I think I’d like to sit down with quite a few artists and talk to them. I’d like to listen to them; I’d like to hear what they truly think. I see a lot of it as them taking the word hostage and using it to promote themselves, but I don’t think they necessarily represent wholeheartedly the depths of feminism – no, I don’t. I think for many it’s very convenient and it looks great and it looks radical, but I have some issues with it. I have issues with it. Of course I do. I think it’s a cheap shot. I think what they do with it is cheap and … yeah. What can I tell you? Sex always sell. And there’s nothing wrong with sex selling, but it depends on your audience. If they’re 7-year-old kids, I have issues with it.”

There is no doubt that 33-year-old Beyoncé has been going hard on the idea of feminism lately, but to be called a lite feminist?

What do you think of Annie Lennox and her opinion on Beyoncé’s feminism?

20 Comments

  1. bruno

    October 10, 2014 at 10:39 am

    I love annie lennox,sweet dreams by Eurythmics is one of my favourite throwback songs. She is right, beyonce attaches feminist to her name just so she can look cool and edgy, I mean, let’s face it, beyonce is not very bright, she can’t speak or talk well, even the title “gay activist” is another title celebrities (lady gaga, madonna,james franco, and even beyonce) like to attach to their name just so they can look edgy and forward thinking and so they can get more fans and sell more records, I adore beyonce, she can sing she can dance, she can perform, she acts in movies (her acting in terrible tho, I wanted to die when I saw her in dream girls, so wooden) but she is not a feminist. She doesn’t know what a real feminist is.its the truth #beyhive #beygency.

    • jj

      October 11, 2014 at 5:12 am

      Madonna was supportive of gay rights and a cure for AIDS in the 80s when it wasn’t mainstream or popular- I really don’t think she’s in the same category with Franco, Beyonce or Gaga which I agree with you are artists that are using activism for their appearances.

  2. Africhic

    October 10, 2014 at 10:39 am

    Annie Lennox knows what she’s talking about. i dont understand Beyonce’s brand of feminism, using your body as a tool.

  3. alex

    October 10, 2014 at 11:16 am

    really? Isn’t annie Lennox using Beyonce now to be relevant? What has she ever done for feminism. She should take a D list seat!!!

    • bruno

      October 10, 2014 at 11:28 am

      @alex, you are clearly RAZ, and don’t know nothing about music. annie lenox is an oscar winner, 4 time grammy winner and her music defined the sound of 80’s.

    • Amie

      October 10, 2014 at 2:38 pm

      @bruno, but what has this Lennox done for us now? The new generation that knows nothing of the old generation unless they were truly relevant. She’s clearly no longer relevant thats why she’s using Beyonce. Even as a feminist, I haven’t heard of her!

    • bruno

      October 10, 2014 at 3:10 pm

      @amie, just because she isn’t at the MTV VMA’s twerking like miley cyrus, that doesn’t mean she’s irrelevant to this generation, she performed at this last olympics in london, her music has influenced this new generation, she goes on tour etc, foreign musicians are not like naija musicians, after one hit,they become irrelevant and go into politics. Just because you don’t know her that doesn’t mean she’s irrelevant.

    • Femme de l'Avenir

      October 10, 2014 at 12:39 pm

      Bro, do you even know who Annie Lennox is?

    • NippyXtina

      October 11, 2014 at 9:45 am

      Someone has obviously never heard of the song “Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves” which she co-wrote… Take a seat, love.

  4. looters

    October 10, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    Can’t we all just get along. A problem I have with the conservative feminist is that they only believe in one extreme (or one spectrum of a way of life of a feminist) which is theirs. You can be sexy, dowdy, boring, ugly, pretty, intellectual, whatever and still believe in equality of the sexes. Thats pretty much what feminism is, equality of the sexes. Stop blowing smoke where there isn’t fire. Beyonce cannot control a 7yr old listening to her song, that’s the parents job.

  5. chichia

    October 10, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    One thing that kind of irks is people who identify as feminist and want to dictate to other women how they should exercise their right to the feminist identity like its an exclusive club, forgetting that the most pivotal aspect of the ideology is freedom of choice

  6. bianca

    October 10, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    According to Wikipedia Feminism is a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, cultural, and social rights for women.[1][2] This includes seeking to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment. A feminist advocates or supports the rights and equality of women.

    In conclusion Annie Lenox is totally correct, Beyonce is not a feminist, but may play a very small role in feminism. According to Wikipedia for feminists, a woman’s right to control her own sexuality is a key issue.

  7. Daisy

    October 10, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    Annie Lennox is so right! And the most annoying part of this Bet’s whole feminism stunt is her voltrons! When you say Bey ain’t all that they go hard on you. Like how on earth do u call yourself an Independent woman and can’t be brave hearted enough to let your fans know when they’ve gone too far. She claims to be fearless. I only hear it, I don’t see it. Don’t get me wrong, I like Bey alot but nah…the feminism card isn’t for her.

  8. halia

    October 12, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    Quite the contrary I actually disagree with Annie and as it seems my fellow Bellas above. I would LOVE to delve into this layered subject because I enjoy such debates, but I’ll try to refrain. I believe that Beyonce is not a “lite feminist” or Tokenistic at the very least, but is in fact a full on bonified feminist woman of color of our generation. I think feminists like Annie and other cultural critics that are fascinated with the dissection of Beyonce’s Feminism,fail to remember in their observations that Beyonce is a HUMAN, a woman, and one of color; which is complex enough! On top of that, being a very public figure and one that continues to evolve not only in her brand, but also evolve in her personal life. From the talented baby girl, to a driven teen (destiny’s child), a young adult (beygonesolo), that met her love at the age 18 over a decade ago, and finally to Mrs. Knowles-Carter mother of Blue. Her success as one of the greatest singers and performers of all time should seem to make many feminists cheer. She is universally record breaking, a woman of Color that has broken through a white mainstream industry, cultural barrier breaker, her talent manifested into hard work right from childhood has created a multimillion dollar empire (previously under father, and which she now controls), she employs an all woman band of musicians (a motivation for girls to look up to for musical role models), and through her lyrics and interviews, speaks passionately about the power of female relationships. Contrarily, Beyonce is the last person in need of an “image boost.” A popular star like Beyoncé that willingly speaks the language of feminism so publicly and talks openly about her belief in gender inequity is very notable. Particularly in a still male dominated entertainment climate where other female entertainers who act like ‘mum’s the word’ when asked if they are a feminist, or are not even engaging in such conversations of substance at all. For example Katy Perry who announced while receiving a woman of the year award flat out said she is not a feminist but “believes in the power of women” or Taylor swift who answered , “I don’t really think about things as guys versus girls. I never have. I was raised by parents who brought me up to think if you work as hard as guys, you can go far in life.” Beyonce’s voice is truly commendable and such is depressingly rare in that environment. Feminism is about challenging structural inequalities in society. Part of feminist ideology is that women own their bodies. How Beyoncé expresses her womanhood, both personally and through her slick, pop-princess brand can make it challenging to navigate the mainstream packaging that avails limited choices to women in the entertainment industry , particularly amidst subversion of conventional and sexist views of gender and sexuality. Beyonce’s mainstream pop princess sexy persona is one of the keys to her success and her versatile evolving platform; there by giving an eye catching voice to these deeper issues ! Presently, and I say presently, You don’t see BLACK VERSIONS of lady Gaga or Madona or even JLos reaching the Levels of success Beyonce has. Let’s look at it really, You see the likes of solange with her eclectic boho approach, Erykah Badus, the Janelle Monaes, Shungai Shoniwas , all VERY talented, but somewhat eccentric zany black women and truth is, they aren’t selling as much, performing in the super bowls, winning 16 Grammys, massive international stardom, singing for the president of the 1st world, or starring in and not just getting roles in hollywood films. “Black artists rarely have the same privilege of not conforming to dominant image expectation ” (Dr. Jackson). Madonnas career has been characterized by a book devoted to sex 1992, crotch-grabbing, nudity, BDSM, Marilyn Monroe fetishizing and she is viewed by cultural critics and feminists as a feminist provocateur pushing boundaries of “acceptable feminism.” However Beyonce’s use of her sexy persona in her performances is picked apart and deemed as thoughtless, contradicting of her feminist voice, subsumed as “lip service to female fans and fan service to guys”, without value and credibility of a bonfied (not “lite” ) feminist; juxtaposed on the racist notion black animalistic sexuality against the “ideal” controlled, intentional, and “civilized” white sexuality. This demonstrates the unique pressures and conflicts faced by women of color and the policing of their bodies, their voice, and what we chose to stand for. Indeed being a celeb, a woman of color, and a VERY successful one that, brings scrutiny; comes with the territory. However Beyonce is human and is not immune to the influences of gender, race, and other identities that have played a role in the professional and personal decisions she has made based on these variables. The hypercritical assessment and dogged criticism of Beyoncé as a feminist figure and how she chooses to live out her feminism as a feminist role model is not only dishonest but is not entitled to strip a woman otherwise committed to gender equality. Such at its worst is”hating the player and ignoring the game.” Again, Feminism is about challenging structural inequalities in society, ideology of “equality of the sexes”, gender politics, and inequity. Women, even super stars and self-professed feminists, must be allowed their humanity, and the multiple complexities that come with it. #nofilter #methoughts

  9. halia

    October 12, 2014 at 11:46 pm

    C’est Moi Aussi ^^^^ lol :0)

  10. Madge

    October 13, 2014 at 7:07 am

    Really…you need to read, read, read

  11. Maurizio

    October 15, 2014 at 3:54 am

    I wholeheartedly agree that Beyoncé has a talent, a sexuality and with this comes great respect and power. I think what Annie ( who equally in her past has been talented, provocative and sexual) was trying to convey in her interview was that modern pop culture conveys sex as something to be sold, a commodity. Being a leading artist in this industry, it is difficult to be successful as a brand and be a true feminist. If an artist can convey a song and sell it without overly sexualising their image, this is great, to sell an image based purely on men’s ideal of sexuality is not feminism. I appreciate that Beyoncé is venerated for her achievements as a black woman, however this is not feminism. She most definitely is extremely talented and strong and has broken racial and gender boundaries, but with this strength comes power, but also the need to use this power wisely. I know little of beyonces charity work or work outside of the industry and couldn’t really comment on these achievements. To pit these two very different women against each other is wrong. What one has, one had, I think Annie’s wisdom that comes with age and experience should be respected as should her opinions. Is emblazoning “feminist” in lights behind you whilst wearing very little could be called “lite” feminism. Being a successsful artist, whilst being a woman who has brought new life into the world, had a loving family and a strong fan base is probably the best achievement, more than most men can claim. So perhaps Beyoncé and Annie have the same in common. Strong opinionated women. Each with a different view, aspect or agenda, but both very strong women, independant of men and surely this is what true feminism is?

  12. Alex

    October 15, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    @bruno you are clearly uneducated and misinformed. Allow yourself to be instructed. @halia I completely concur with you. The whole idea of feminism is to have freedoms as a woman in the way our lives are lived. What does Annie Lennox know about it? Rich white woman living comfortably in her palace. What does she know about real issues that real women face? She certainly has not earned the right to call Beyonce a lite -feminist. I do not see anything Annie has done that makes her a better feminist than Beyonce. She is a great singer granted but what has that got to do with feminism. She has a few charities and helps women but how has that changed the unequal pay or the sexism women are faced with. Annie has been married 3 times, that could make her a lite feminist too. Doesn’t that make a bad role model as well? Teaching girls that divorce is okay. These are the things that could be said about her if we judged her as shallowly as she judge Beyonce. Now lets talk about real feminist, Alice Paul and Lucy Burns – these are women who put their lives on the line for a cause that has changed the lives of millions of American women today. Lets talk about Beyonce, a young from Houston, Texas who defied the odds, instead of being just about girl down the way, broke barriers through music. Is one of the richest entertains black or white. Who is proving to black women everywhere that they can be everything they dream or hope to be. Showing women that they can earn more than their counterpart men, they can be themselves, they can dress how they feel like dressing. You can dictate who you want to be and chart the course of your own destiny. If she is not a feminist, I don’t know what is. Now, what major difference has Annie made that has had the same impact Beyonce has had?

    • halia

      October 18, 2014 at 8:43 pm

      Great points alex!

  13. Nyah

    November 15, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    The first time I head of Annie Lennox was in a documentary she did in Africa on HIV. Families of people who died of HIV were stigmatised, children left out in the cold. She was there to help and inform, share their sorrows, and joys when they tested negative, there was nothing diva about her. She looked like an ordinary aid worker. She fascinated me. Went to google her and………she is truly a force to be reckoned with.

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