Annie Lennox has branded Beyoncé as 'feminist lite'. Speaking to PrideSource, she wasn't disparaging of Beyoncé as an artist but described her feminist stance, as 'tokenistic' and I have to say, I completely agree. Feminism is an important movement but modern feminism feels completely confused.
I don't brand myself a feminist, I don't like 'isms', I'm wary of them. don't like divisions; I don't divide people by gender, race, religion or sexuality. My stance is that I try and be fair to my fellow humans.
I respect the essence of feminism but some of the sub divisions and main advocators within the movement are contradictory. Artists like Beyoncé and Miley Cyrus use their sexuality to sell records yet herald themselves as modern day feminists, simply because they say that is their choice. Then there's respected actresses like Amy Poehler or Ellen Page who embrace the movement as one that is about empowering women in a patriarchal world. And finally, there's Caitlin Moran, journalist turned 'personality' and divider of opinion on Twitter who courts controversy over her polarising tweets and blasé use of language, seen as an insult to many of her own gender and other minority groups.
It's feminists like Caitlin Moran, Miley and Beyoncé who, in my opinion, are confusing the movement entirely. I'm not denying that, in their own way, they are fighting for women's rights and they are entitled to an opinion, everyone is. However, they're part of a growing movement of 'celebrity feminists' that are part of 'brand feminism' that's easy to digest and sellable.
As Annie Lennox said, it's 'L-I-T-E' and their words and actions are completely juxtaposed. Record labels, magazine editors, TV execs and book publishers know what sells and, right now, nothing sells better than someone saying or doing something 'controversial' and branding it as feminism.
I mentioned before, I don't count myself as a feminist. I suppose many feminists would be annoyed by this stance but they shouldn't. My reasons are simple - I've never received any criticism in my life because of my gender. The only time I've felt marginalized was as a youngster for being mixed race. Still, this hasn't made me over political about race because I realise, I'm still very lucky. I've put my life into context. I grew up, I got over it, I adopted a different attitude - don't stay down, get on top, use what you've got and live life. So, as a woman, to brand myself a feminist now would feel false.
White, middle class feminists have it good. They do, I can't lie, they don't experience the strife that other women do around the world, the women who are forced into marriages, who are beaten, raped and have only a modicum of rights we do in the western world. The people who fight for freedom, not just for these women but also for all women and all people are the real 'feminists'.
Feminism is not about being a brand, baring your bum for all to see, being 'controversial' on Twitter or merely being 'a strong woman'. A strong person is someone who is fair, who knows what they want, who rises above the nonsense, who lives their life in context and has many shades to their character - soft, hard, sensitive, steely - a strong person can access all of these traits.
I'm not a fan of any movement that polarize opinion or excludes any section of society but unfortunately this is what modern feminism is doing - eroding its own carefully placed foundations that have taken hundreds of years to build.
However, feminism is clearly a personal issue for those who brand themselves so. Yes, modern feminism is a deeply confused movement now but perhaps we should stop analyzing the little things and concentrate on being decent human beings and come together as one. A whimsical sentiment I know, but one can hope.