Could Twerking = Modern Feminism?

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Annie Lennox Slams Beyonce AGAIN—Twerking Is Not Feminism!

Annie Lennox Slams Beyonce AGAIN—Twerking Is Not Feminism!

Popdust  reported, Annie Lennox finds the way Beyonce has co-opted feminism troublesome and inauthentic. “I would call that ‘feminist lite.’ L-I-T-E. I’m sorry. It’s tokenistic to me,” she told PrideSource.

Recently, Lennox was asked about the sexualisation of young girls in the industry and elaborated further on what she meant by “feminist lite”.

“Well, I didn’t specifically criticize Beyoncé,” Annie said. “I was being asked about Beyoncé in the context of feminism, and I was thinking at the time about very impactful feminists that have dedicated their lives to the movement of liberating women and supporting women at the grass roots, and I was saying, ‘Well, that’s one end of the spectrum, and then you have the other end of the spectrum.’”

Gugu’s Opinion

I LOVE Beyonce but I totally understand and support Lennox’s point of view. Let’s all just crank back to the early days of feminism, The Second Wave, when women were just starting to make themselves heard about their oppression. During those early protests, women had what was called Freedom Trash Cans. In these cans, women discarded and burned all things symbolic of the the oppression of women. In these piles were make-up sets, high heels, hair curlers, bras, Playboy magazines even mops, pots and pans…all things that women had put themselves through to satisfy men’s perceptions of beauty and a “good wife”.

braburning_atlcty_1968 bra-burning_freedomtrashcan-289x300

Now of course these protests would not have as much impact today because many women will say, “I wear heels for me. I look good because I want to, not for any man. I love cooking and cleaning.” Which is fantastic. Back then, those protests were so much more powerful because that was the struggle of women- looking pretty at home and and doing  domestic work was an expectation which was imposed on them and that was just about what they were confined to.

Today however, we are presented with a slightly different dichotomy in the face of feminism. We have now come to the point where the Trash Can feminists are being confronted by the Playboy/ MTV/Pop culture feminists, as they declare that they are empowered by their work and no, they don’t want to be symbols of oppression by misogyny anymore. They believe that they are empowered enough, thank you very much. If you disagree, take a look at their pay checks.

But maybe the booty-shorts and bra-less feminist isn’t wrong because she proves that she does not needs to abide by men’s orders to be respectable.

Maybe she’s wrong for feeding a culture of woman-objectification while claiming to be “embracing her sexuality”, knowing well that she gets a big fat pay check from it while she fuels the patriarchal society in which the desires of men dominate media hence the prevalence of the “Sex Sells” slogan.

Either way, she’s capitalising on her sexuality, whether she’s doing so in defiance of moral expectations or in affirmation of her autonomy.

The reason here may matter to some degree but mostly not and here’s why. Men disrespect women and their right to autonomy because the message put out by the media is that celebrities are willing to feed the male market’s desire to see ‘a little more skin and a little more jiggling” isn’t that right, Chingy? and as a result, they expect the same from women in society. They expect all other women to capitalise on their sexuality. They think all women ,because of their ‘autonomy’, are willing or should be willing to use their sexuality to their advantage in life.

If you disagree with this, think of older men “sugar daddies” who are unsparing in showering young girls with gifts because they’re so beautiful. Of course, these things come with a price-which often violates that autonomy over one’s body.
Think of bosses who think female employees who dress elegantly or ‘revealingly’, are out seeking unfair promotion. Some of which are quite willing to consider giving this promotion, except the woman is expected to capitalise on her sexuality-again- to ‘earn’ it or express her appreciation.

I’m not saying that hyper-sexualised celebrities are the reason that some men cannot control their urges and abuse their power, but indirectly, they are fuelling a spillover effect which, by virtue of their work, does endorse the abuse of men’s power. Whether they are asserting their independence or giving in to the pressure, society is set up in a way so as to benefit the man either way. R Kelly and Juicy J are still seeing more booty, except this time, they don’t even have to ask.

The feminism I believe in is the one which shakes the basis of this set-up society in which the man is given an unfair advantage over women. Note- not just any advantage (otherwise I might have to wrestle with nature), but unfair advantage created by stereotypical, cultural, legal and institutionalised norms.

The truth is: that the female body is commodified and exploited by patriarchy everywhere. Making money out of it anyway and being influential in the process is what I deem false glory. Sell-out-ism. You may have acquired a significant amount of wealth from your sexuality, as do many men, no doubt, but for the cause of empowering yourself and other women living under oppressive patriarchy, it has been at the cost of the purpose and essence of the feminist cause.

Annie’s got a point – Beyonce’s version of feminism seems to involve naming her tour after her husband and a lot of ass shaking. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

Annie’s got a point – Beyonce’s version of feminism seems to involve naming her tour after her husband and a lot of ass shaking. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

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8 thoughts on “Could Twerking = Modern Feminism?

  1. Aztec

    This article is so yesterday apart from a few “tweeks” not twerks its all been published before and appears to be written by an uneducated sleazy misogynist. that is if you could get halfway though without dozing off. Also what is with all the personal detail needed to write a comment? Guguthesleaze perhaps?
    ?

    Like

    • Thanks for taking the time to read my blog, Aztec. I’m always open to an opposing opinion because my blog is created to get people thinking and talking.
      I’m afraid, however, I cannot engage further with your vague (and rather untactful) response.
      If you could rather articulate your views and what you disagree with, perhaps we could discuss it further.
      I am at heart, in thought, word and deed, a feminist by my own definition, not by that of the Cosmopolitan or the media- check the rest of the blog if you may.
      Basically, I’m willing to talk about this with you given you are a) more clear in expressing your views and b) respectful at all times.Thanks Moctezuma (:

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Interesting. Booty shaking or twerking has always been and parcel of African dance long before the word feminism was coined. It was never about satisfying misogynists. Therefore, how does booty shaking enter the feminist equation?

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    • My observation has been that for pop stars (and other entertainers) the fight against misogyny has become one in which their profession plays a huge role-regardless of whether they want it to or not. As ‘feminists’ in the music industry, the Mileys, Beyonces and the like are hailed for not being subdued to the so-called modesty which is imposed on women by males (re slut-shaming Miley for her good-girl-gone-bad transformation). In their booty-shaking, they refuse the dictating of what’s ‘fitting for a woman of class and respect’ by men. On the other hand, we have the entertainment industry which has for decades and continues to say, “Sex sells and if you want to be half as successful as the rest…shed the clothes and shake some more”.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Isn’t that an assumption that pop stars are “fighting against misogyny? Pop has not really stood for anything much. Pop is really a fad and follows fashion. Twerking is one such fashion. Twerking on stage doesn’t make a woman or a pop star a “feminist”. They merely appropriate what is trending to look “cool” and streetwise. There have been many white stars like Miley who have appropriated black culture to gain credit as being authentic, cool, hip, etc. these stars range from Mick Jagger, Elvis Presley, Piccaso, Justin Timberlake, Vanilla Ice, Eminem, Christina Aguilera, Iggy Azelia, etc. the list is too long. Do we conclude that by Mick Jagger imitating James Brown he was trying to make a stand or statement against racism, civil rights, etc? I think you are over complicating and overthinking and misinterpreting stars who appropriate trending fashions to increase their sales and trying to make them more than they are. I don’t buy into all those narratives written positing some moral stance on stars and making them symbols of things they don’t represent. Do you think Germain Greer and other feminists would agree that booty shaking or twerking fits into some feminist dialogue? What Beyoncé and Mylie are doing now is what black (African) woman have been doing for decades and centuries. Do we conclude then that African women booty shaking at traditional events were fighting a feminist battle against misogyny? I doubt it.

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      • I think you’re miscontextualising this. I wrote this article with knowledge of the rise of self-proclaimed ‘feminist’ pop musicians. I, too, think it’s unfair to burden someone with ideals for which they never chose to advocate but in this sense, it is all in the context of stars who have come right out to associate themselves with the movement re: Beyonce ft Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie on “Flawless”.
        As it stands, a large number of people are justifying not just pop stars’ booty shaking but video vixens too because they insist “choosing to do something which is frowned upon, is empowering to them as it asserts their autonomy and liberalism”. My problem with that is: is it really autonomy if the only way to get into the industry or make an impactful comeback is to bare the flesh (re JLO’s never ending big-booty-hailing tales)?
        I think context plays a huge role in this argument and may be the reason you see flaws in assuming that this is a generic analysis for all booty-shakers, which I think is a legitimate argument too.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. radical redhead

    This is one of the best articles I’ve read about this issue of ‘fake feminism’ displayed by celebrities. It shows that blogs are sometimes better quality than conventional news media articles.

    Like

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