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On Beyonce, Being “Cute” and Feminism

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"SHE THINK SHE CUTE!"

It’s 1991. I’m on the bus and I am getting it from a neighborhood girl and her friend. From name calling to ugly looks and sneers. Finally, ol’ girl decides to step. She was about 2 years older, with a woman’s body and at least 10 pounds on me. I didn’t know her name or where she lived, all I knew is that I was outnumbered and terrified. 

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So, What IS This About?

A few months ago, as I was flipping through an issue of Harpers Bazaar UK with King Bey (I call her that) on the cover, I read a snippet where she was asked if she was a feminist. Beyonce replied:

"‘I don’t really feel that it’s necessary to define it. It’s just something that’s kind of natural for me, and I feel like…you know…it’s, like, what I live for.

‘I need to find a catchy new word for feminism, right? Like Bootylicious.’”

What’s so wrong with ‘feminist’ Bey?

For many women of color, especially young women, the word ‘feminist’ provokes an image that is antiquated, overtly-aggressive, anti-male and white. In some cases, feminism can also be seen as divisive as demonstrated in the recent SlutWalk demonstrations (see here) that led to some women justifying the use of the word “nigger” as a term of solidarity. But I thought we were all sisters? 

Given this divisiveness and a long history of miscommunication and misunderstanding over feminist thought and practice in our own communities, it is no wonder that the basic, simple tenets of feminism are lost on many young black and brown women.

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