Is the “Queen Bee” a Feminist?

By Taylor Kent

SC Contributing Writer

In honor of National Women’s Month and on behalf of East Stroudsburg University’s Office of Multicultural Affairs, Yianna Hernandez and Efia King held a discussion entitled “Beyonce: Feminist?” on March 18 in the University Center.

Hernandez, sister of Chi Upsilan Sigma National Latin Sorority, and King, Vice President of Student Senate, based the discussion around the talented recording artist Beyonce Knowles, and asked, “Is Beyonce a feminist?”

Hernandez began the discussion with a presentation. She asked the audience to elaborate on the definition of the word feminist. Looking around, it seemed as though the nine girls present for the event did not know the formal definition.

Before anyone could answer, a slide with the definition appeared on the screen, “Feminist: the person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.”

King then went into a brief overview of the history of the Women’s Rights Movement and the key women who were involved.

The remainder of the presentation was dedicated to the “Queen Bee” and her role as a feminist.

Beyonce’s 2014 Grammy performance “Flawless” then appeared on the screen. Beyonce made a huge statement with her performance, as she remained on stage with the word feminist in bold print illuminated on the screen behind her, with a quote from feminist author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie playing in the background.

“We teach girls to shrink themselves.  To make themselves smaller. We say to girls, ‘You can have ambition but not too much, you should aim to be successful but not too successful otherwise you will threaten the man.’ […] Feminist: the person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes,” said Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s quote.

In addition to Beyonce’s efforts in supporting equal rights and women empowerment, videos of Beyonce as well as several other celebrities’ videos were shown supporting the “Ban Bossy” campaign. Having combined the dreaded word, feminist, with one of the most famous women of our generation, Hernandez and King joined the audience and opened the floor for discussion.

A sense of hesitation filled the room, but shortly vanished as Hernandez and King again asked the main question “Is Beyonce a feminist?” Queen Bee held the topic of interest until the discussion turned into an intriguing conversation regarding what the nine girls surrounding the conference table thought about feminism.

Ideas, opinions, and questions such as: “Where did the rules of being a feminist come from and if you call yourself a feminist, then your words should follow your actions.”

“There’s nothing wrong with being sexual. Can I be a feminist if …?” dominated the conference room.

Kathleen Rzucidlo, a junior at ESU who has taken numerous women’s studies courses, helped to inform the girls on the different waves of feminism and how they have made an impact on how others define and view feminists.

Hernandez and King ended the discussion by asking the same question they had presented in the beginning of the presentation, “Is Beyonce a feminist?” After listening to the views/opinions of others and being informed on what a feminist is, the unanimous answer “Yes, Beyonce is a feminist,” was agreed upon.

Feminism is a topic that girls in our generation generally stray away from because of the stereotypical characteristics the world has placed on feminists.

The world views feminists as bra burning, men hating, spinster women, when in reality feminists are simply individuals who believe in social, political, and economical equality between sexes.

Hernandez and King’s brilliant idea to combine an empowering icon that many look up to with the dreaded topic of feminism served its purpose to inform young women on a college campus to stand up for their rights as women.

Although there is a feminist alliance on campus, Hernandez and King gave the rest of the female body at ESU the opportunity to be informed and educated on an important movement.

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