At the start of the semester, I really believed myself to be a feminist. I wasn’t aware, nor did I really consider the thousands of facets behind what it meant to support a feminist message. It was a natural progression for me to choose feminism to focus on within the class. As an avid Tumblr user, I figured it would be good to try and combine both Tumblr and feminism into a project I could really learn from. That’s where my idea to write on Cyberfeminism was born. I was especially interested in the way that some of the general public seems to perceive cyberfeminists as misandrists who would rather see the world devoid of men. I was drawn to this because of the fact that this perception is grossly misguided, and yet, many people misunderstand what a cyberfeminist is trying to achieve.
The first phase in exploring the topic of cyberfeminism was to define the term feminist for the audience. It’s tough to do so, though, because so many define feminism in different ways. I was able to find a really insightful definition that allowed for feminism to be defined in several different ways, all still leading to the same conclusions that a feminist is someone who believes in the equality of the sexes. It became clear, however, that I was not one to truly determine whether or not anyone was or wasn’t a feminist, as everyone’s definitions may differ. And so, with that new knowledge in mind, I began my research on cyberfeminism.
However, as the semester progressed, I found myself truly stumped with what to write about. The problem was that feminism, and cyberfeminism have so many different aspects to them that I had a difficult time narrowing down exactly what I wanted to write about. After much thought and consultation with Collette, I was able to determine that it would be best for me to focus on something that has become increasingly prevalent in my life, which is the impact and legitimacy of many celebrities who have claimed to be feminists. What originally sparked my interest was, the one and only, Beyoncé. In my blog post: Beyoncé: An Examination, I discuss my fascination with Beyoncé and how much I believed her to be one of the most prominent feminists presently out there. It’s not until I educated myself more thoroughly on Beyoncé’s public image and her intentions that I came to realize that, to me, she may not really embody the feminist I thought she did. In her new album, “Beyoncé” which came out late last year, there’s a song titled “Drunk In Love” which, to the unsuspecting listener, is catchy and fun. It’s not until I came across a really interesting article calling out some of her lyrics that I began to really listen. There are a few lyrics that echo lines from the movie “What’s Love Got to Do With It” which is a film on the life of Tina and Ike Turner. The scene in question is one of physical violence with very damaging implications. The more I dug, the more I found that there are a lot of discrepancies with what the feminist movement is trying to achieve and what Beyoncé has intended for her audience. So I was left questioning whether or not Beyoncé could be considered a feminist. Can one wrong action undo all of the supposed good? I don’t really know if I could speak to her legitimacy on a large scale, but for me at least, Beyoncé isn’t really a feminist, because if she can so off-handedly mention a line from a scene where domestic abuse occurred and not worry about it, it makes me think she isn’t really considering what she puts out there and what that impact is.
I continued the year by also researching in-depth on Lily Allen. Similarly to Beyoncé, Lily Allen has been hailed as a feminist through her songs, and more recently, her music video for “Hard Out Here.” A lot of controversy surrounded her after the video was released. Controversy similarly to the controversy around Miley Cyrus, which is that Lily Allen was appropriating culture and treating women of color as props in her video. So when I asked myself the question, whether or not Lily Allen could be considered a feminist, I had to consider the fact that it appeared as though she was excluding race from the feminist agenda. Through our class reading of Cyberfeminism, I knew that that feminism was more than just equality of the sexes, but also equality within the sexes, which means considering race, sexuality, and many more facets. So through careful examination of Lily Allen and her actions, I don’t deem her a feminist.
To be quite frank, what I learned through this project is that a good portion of people who consider themselves feminists just really don’t understand what it means. People claim they can’t be feminists if they love men, but that is a completely false statement based on people who dislike feminists and would like for the word “feminist” to be tarnished.
Throughout this project, I explored these celebrities through different media platforms, such as Tumblr and many online forums. The internet is buzzing with a lot of theories on these celebrities. As the year comes to a close, I can say that this seminar has brought me a genuine drive to dig deeper in what I perceive to be the truth. Though I didn’t have to dig too deep to find out about Beyoncé or Lily Allen, the controversy around them was not very widely publicized. That makes me wonder just how much truth there is to any celebrities public persona. None of this would have been possible had it not been for the opportunity to blog and delve deeper into these topics of interest.
It’s truly been a pleasure. And as always, this is Serena, signing off for the last time.