Beyoncé has been criticized lately for her ideas on feminism, both positively and negatively. She quotes Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED talk about feminism in the track “Flawless” off her new self-titled album. In her latest endeavor on her journey to becoming the face of another feminist wave, Beyoncé has written an essay entitled “Gender Equality Is a Myth!” for Maria Shriver’s new ebook “The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink,” which can be downloaded for free on Amazon. Her essay is short and to the point.
“We need to stop buying into the myth about gender equality. It isn’t a reality yet. Today, women make up half of the U.S. workforce, but the average working woman earns only 77 percent of what the average working man makes. But unless women and men both say this is unacceptable, things will not change. Men have to demand that their wives, daughters, mothers, and sisters earn more—commensurate with their qualifications and not their gender. Equality will be achieved when men and women are granted equal pay and equal respect.
Humanity requires both men and women, and we are equally important and need one another. So why are we viewed as less than equal? These old attitudes are drilled into us from the very beginning. We have to teach our boys the rules of equality and respect, so that as they grow up, gender equality becomes a natural way of life. And we have to teach our girls that they can reach as high as humanly possible.
We have a lot of work to do, but we can get there if we work together. Women are more than 50 percent of the population and more than 50 percent of voters. We must demand that we all receive 100 percent of the opportunities.”
Beyoncé isn’t necessarily changing the game with her comments; it’s a statement that’s been made many times before. The only difference is that most women of her status have never said it outright: Men need to be outspoken feminists, too.
Working together toward gender equality is an aspect of the mainstream feminist movement that is grossly overlooked. I can’t speak for all feminists, but I believe in what Beyoncé says in her essay. One of my favorite writers, Joss Whedon (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Firefly,” “Marvel’s The Avengers”), believes in these same values. He is an outspoken male feminist who writes strong female characters, and we need more of the Whedons and Beyoncés in this world to achieve gender equality and overturn its myth to make a new reality.