Column: A word from a feminist: “I Woke Up Like This”

Samantha Middendorf, Entertainment Editor

Gwen Stefani explained it best: “This year, the ladies are taking over.”

Of the 18 awards presented Sunday at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards, 11 were given to female artists.  Out of the eight live performances, five were done by or featured female artists.

More importantly, Beyoncé was given the most prestigious award of the night — the MTV VMA Video Vanguard Award.

Prior to receiving the award, Beyoncé performed a medley of her visual self-titled album, and during that medley, stood in front of a screen with the word “FEMINIST” written across it.

The importance of this is because during the length of her career Beyoncé has been criticized for being anything but what most consider a feminist.

Most known for her lack of skin-covering clothing and sexualized lyrics, Beyoncé has faced the criticism of those that believe these qualities define the anti-feminist.  

However, I believe that Beyoncé standing in front of a screen, claiming she is a feminist, while the words of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie were played overhead, is just the beginning of a new wave of feminism.

“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 — a person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.”

When her performance was over, her husband Jay-Z and their daughter Blue Ivy walked onstage to present Beyoncé with her award and then stood back in the shadows while Beyoncé stood in the spotlight.

Beyoncé is proof to society that feminism doesn’t have a face.

A person can be introverted, soft-spoken and can consider him or herself a feminist.

A person can also be extroverted and loud while also considering him or herself a feminist.

A feminist can wear a sequined leotard or a suit and tie.

A woman can be a feminist.

A man can be a feminist.

A feminist’s gender is not what is important.  

What is important is that society recognizes that the belief and yearning of equality among the people on this Earth is more crucial to the well-being of humanity than what someone wears, says, believes in or chooses to do with their life.

Samantha Middendorf is a sophomore  journalism major.  She can be reached at 581-7912 or at [email protected].