In Response to bell hooks’ criticism of Beyonce’s album Lemonade

Once again certain feminists seek to OWN feminism, when the reality is that WE as women define what we want in our society and relationships with men. We don’t all want what bell hooks wants.

Excuse me, bell hooks, but I actually like the romantic and sensual attention I get from a man when I dress provocatively the way Beyonce does in Lemonade and videos like “Partition.” I enjoy my sexuality and to suggest that we limit our SAFE expression of that with a man that we love is absurd.

Choosing to enjoy your body and passion is NOT a perpetuation of the commodification of the black female body, or any female body. Beyonce OWNS her art and makes her own choices. She chose to delay the overt sexuality in her music until after marriage. She didn’t play into “industry” pressures the way Miley Cyrus has.

Other powerhouses who are using the power of choice are Rihanna, Pink, and even Janelle Monae for example, who express various parts of what it is to be a woman. They don’t only make sexual music or present a sexualized image. They DIVERSIFY and show pride in ALL that it means TO BE A WOMAN.

The power of CHOICE is what women need. Not more oppression in the reverse direction as you would suggest that we not enjoy our beauty or the sensual expressions and interactions with our lover, husband, or partner.

A lot of women respond to Beyonce’s form of feminism because it is more in line with our personal life choices and path. Perhaps we should come up with a different term then, since people like bell hooks think feminism can only come in one form and one direction.

What can we call this other form of equal rights for women and all oppressed groups? Because we don’t seek to demoralize and demote men in our efforts. We simply want equal pay and opportunity in the workforce and politics.

At home, I like my man to be the strong leader. And that’s my choice, just like some other household might make a different choice. But I like that men are the protectors most of the time as officers and military. They are physically stronger, and you know what, THAT’S TOTALLY OKAY.

I think romantic attraction and affection is beautiful. I think that HONEST music about emotions and the ways WE react to them is also okay. If Beyonce’s song is about a cheating man, and she reacts by smashing windows, she’s doing what artists have done throughout time: reflect the inner emotions that a lot of us share. Artists take something intangible and make it visual or auditory or both as this case.

The album goes on to discuss many more things in a very honest manner about how she wanted to speak on it.

Should she be less credible for expressing her beauty? Really?

That’s not “liberation.” What you suggest is just another form of oppression, and I cannot sign on for that.

In other words, while some of the album may not have been “original” enough for some, to suggest it sets women back or that it’s not “empowering” is a stretch, a really long stretch.

Thank you Beyonce, for the honesty in your art, for showing women the power of choosing how and when to express our beauty and sexuality, to enjoy our bodies and for showing us another example of the power of expression and action to empower and influence the world around us.

(Side Note: I wasn’t always a Beyonce fan. I just saw her as another pop-style type of artist who made fun dance songs. But since her album “Beyonce” in 2014 I’ve seen a change in her music and life that I respect.)

In response to bell hooks’ article about Beyonce’s video album Lemonade at: http://www.bellhooksinstitute.com/blog/2016/5/9/moving-beyond-pain

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