The Beyoncé Brand Of Feminism

Sex, power and Beyoncé’s feminism. The message to young women.

Beyoncé performs at the 2014 MTV Music Video Awards on Sunday, August 24, 2014 in Inglewood, California. (Getty)

Beyoncé performs at the 2014 MTV Music Video Awards on Sunday, August 24, 2014 in Inglewood, California. (Getty)

Pop superstar, icon, powerhouse Beyoncé dominated at the MTV Video Music Awards Sunday night.  A bring-the-house-down performance, a big award, and in the thick of it a big moment where Beyoncé stood dramatically, backlit, bold against giant letters spelling out the word “feminist.”  You don’t see that everyday in pop music.  Beyoncé is huge.  She’s powerful.  Is she a huge feminist?  There’s a hot debate.  This hour On Point:  Beyoncé’s feminisim.

— Tom Ashbrook


Roxane Gay, English professor at Purdue University and columnist for Salon. Author of the new book, “Bad Feminist.” Also author of “An Untamed State” and “Ayiti.” (@rgay)

Jessica Valenti, columnist for the Guardian US. Founder of Author of “Full Frontal Feminism,” “He’s a Stud, She’s a Slut and 49 Other Double Standards Every Woman Should Know,” “The Purity Myth” and ‘Why Have Kids?” (@JessicaValenti)

Tanya Steele, filmmaker and cultural critic. Writer at IndieWire. (@digtanya)

From Tom’s Reading List

Washington Post: Beyoncé proves she’s flawless — and a feminist — at the MTV VMAs — “Beyoncé took no prisoners as she seamlessly transitioned between soulful ballads and gyration-heavy anthems that ordered fellow females to ‘bow down.’ But the most poignant moment came from a part with no words. As Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s speech, sampled in ‘***Flawless,’ played with lyrics plastered largely in the background, Queen Bey posed in front of one word that spoke volumes.”

The Guardian US: Beyoncé’s ‘Flawless’ feminist act at the VMAs leads the way for other women — “Obviously, feminism can’t hang its hat on celebrity endorsements – it’s a movement for social and political change, not a popularity contest. But successful movements need support, be it in the grassroots or in Hollywood. And there is no debating the hugely powerful cultural message sent last night as Beyoncé sang about feminism, while her husband looked on lovingly, holding their daughter.”

IndieWire: ‘Beyonce’ Serenades Teenage Boys & Black Feminists — “These days, I am acutely aware of the degraded images of Black women in the media. I understand the power of colorful and enchanting visuals. I understand the need for women to feel powerful, attractive and sexy. I even understand the importance of asserting ‘personal agency’ with respect to one’s body. However, the conversation about Beyonce and Feminism has me confused. I write this to seek understanding.”


*Note: many of the songs from Beyoncé’s 2013 video concept album, “Beyoncé,” are not available on Spotify. As such, this playlist is partially incomplete. We sincerely apologize for the lack of full Beyoncé .

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