Women’s Rights According to Beyoncé
Undoubtedly Beyoncé is a powerhouse, given her performance at the 2013 inauguration Monday, but as the Grammy-award winning performer highlighted in an interview featured in the February 2013 issue of GQ Magazine her trajectory of success is the exception, and not the rule. For most women, just finding equal footing at the starting line for economic security and independence is an uphill battle.
“Equality is a myth, and for some reason, everyone accepts the fact that women don’t make as much money as men do," said Beyoncé in an interview , "I don’t understand that. Why do we have to take the backseat?”
"Money gives men the power to run the show," the larger-than-life pop star—who was named “the hottest woman of the past 13 years” by the magazine—continued,"It gives men the power to define value. They define what's sexy. They define what's feminine. It's ridiculous."
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Beyonce has gotten quite a bit of heat for her comments. After all, it seems easy for a woman who Forbes ranked 14th on their World's Most Powerful Women list to comment about rising above it all to become a strong, financially independent woman.
But regardless of whether or not you approve of Beyoncé as a performer, it's impossible to argue against the point that she conveyed in the interview: For all intents and purposes, women really are not equal to men—in the eyes of the law that is.
We make less money than men, even when we've shored up the same credentials prescribed by society to equal the playing field. Our right to control our own bodies is constantly in flux within state legislatures. Congressional leaders don't even view legislation to protect the safety and privacy rights of victim's of sexual and domestic violence a priority. Within this political climate, how are we supposed to argue that things are equal between men and women?
Sure, we have come very far in the push for equality, but Beyonce's point was that we are absolutely not there yet. Women all over the world have shown that we can truly become leaders in our chosen fields of work, but being able to do whatever we want does not mean that we are being treated equally while we do it. We get paid less than men to do the same jobs and, oftentimes, we are better at it. We can still get fired for being "too attractive". When we do hold leadership positions, we have to contend with charges of weakness if we cry, get sick, or take a day off.
Young people are continuing the push towards real equality for women, the LGBT community, the undocumented immigrant community, and other marginalized communities. However, I look forward to seeing the day when we no longer have to battle for equality and we are able to recognize the benefit of a society that provides all of its citizens with equal protection under the law.
Molly Miller is a reporter for Campus Progress.