In a Billboard magazine article published online on March 7, the day before International Women’s Day, “The Voice” coach and pop superstar Shakira spoke about her career, her personal life, and her recent music video with Rihanna. In the article, Shakira made a statement that had many women up in arms: her boyfriend, soccer player Gerard Pique, is so territorial that he doesn’t let her film music videos with other men, and Shakira is fine with it. She’s more than fine with it; the “Hips Don’t Lie” singer actually likes it. She said, “It’s more than implied in our relationship that I can’t do videos like I used to. It’s out of the question - which I like, by the way. I like that he protects his turf and he values me.”
Shakira voluntarily referred to herself as her territorial boyfriend’s turf, and of course, some claiming to operate in the name of feminism are unhappy about it. “Isn’t Shakira a strong, secure woman? Isn’t she supportive of equality for men and women? Isn’t she a role model for girls around the world? Why, then, would she allow herself to be controlled in this way?” ask the pseudo-feminists.
Shakira made the decision to consult her boyfriend before filming steamy music videos with other men, like those she has done in her past. The women criticizing her for this decision are not promoting feminism; they are promoting the degradation of women that choose to act according to their beliefs rather than according to proto-feminist ideals. Feminism is not the antithesis of misogyny; it is equality, and with equality comes the ability to act in accordance with one’s own beliefs. If Shakira desires to view herself as belonging to the father of her child, then so be it. If both a husband and wife prefer that the woman stay at home with children, that is by no means turning back the feminist clock. Rather than attempting to advance an anti-housewife agenda, true feminists embrace whatever role a woman wishes to adopt.
Beyonce recently came under fire for what some deemed to be questionable lyrics in her latest album. Beyonce has referred to herself as a feminist, which is why her female empowerment efforts are questioned when she occasionally uses “b——” to refer to women as an entity, and in the song “Partition,” she says to her husband, “I just wanna be the kind of girl you like.” She called her world tour the “Mrs. Carter Tour” instead of the “Beyonce Knowles Tour,” and critics denounce this decision because it raises her new husband’s name over her own.
Her overtly sexual lyrics are seen as demeaning towards women, but why are they not instead seen empowering? Men have been expressing their overt sexuality for years, so much so that it would never be referred to as “expressing male sexuality” in a normal conversation. It’s just music. But when Beyonce does it, it’s degrading? Because she wants to please her husband, she’s suddenly anti-feminist. If she had no desire to please her husband, I’m fairly certain their marriage would be Kim Kardashian-length. And contrarily, if Jay-Z had no desire to please Beyonce, Queen B would certainly not stick around.
Beyonce and Shakira are strong, secure women; so much so that they can be open in their desires to do what makes their men happy. This is not a regression of feminism. It’s an advancement. Stop putting down women that operate within the typicality of a domestic gender role and stop elevating women that shun the housewives of the world. Feminism is gender equality, between and within all sexes. Whatever gender you identify with, let’s support each other.