Ask Bossy

Graphic by Juliette Baxter

Taylor Swift and Beyoncé are both self-confessed feminists. One has shamed women through her music. The other took her husband back after he cheated on her (also she got Solange to kick Jay in the elevator). So are these women giving feminism a bad name? Or is flawed feminism the norm and we should all accept it?

Hi anon! That’s a great question – there are a lot of self-confessed feminists out there who do things that most of us would not be proud of. Lena Dunham, Amy Schumer, Joss Whedon, and Aziz Ansari are just a few from a long list of well-known feminists. The commonality between the people we’ve both named is that they all have been involved in publically racist, sexist or homophobic incidents.

The thing is, I’ve said problematic things before and I’ve also done problematic things. There are very few of us who have upheld feminist values every day. At the end of the day, the reaction of these people to criticism is what we should really focus on. Those who accept culpability, consequences, and then change are reflecting what feminism is at its core – respecting other people and understanding that disadvantage and privilege are highly nuanced concepts that almost all of us are both victims and beneficiaries of.

Feminism is a concept that is independent of the people who align with it. To compromise its core tenants because individuals don’t always make the right choices would be to conflate feminism with populism.

So anon, though I think that these people need to be more careful about how they present feminism to society, the feminism that we have been developing since the 1800s can never be discredited by a select few misinformed people.

Love, Tay