Ms. magazine is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, feminist magazines in America. The mag has occasionally featured celebrities on the cover; Wonder Woman was its very first cover girl, while other cover stars include Meryl Streep, Cher, Cecily Tyson, Ani DiFranco and Pam Grier.
But the mag’s latest cover girl, Beyoncé, is causing controversy for all kinds of reasons.
A quote about author Janell Hobson’s piece posted on Ms.’s Facebook page garnered nearly 100 comments:
“Hobson sparks a discussion among other pop culture critics about female empowerment, combining feminism and ‘traditional’ roles, and the ‘politics of respectability’ for black women. At the end of the piece, it’s up to the reader to decide: Has Beyoncé ‘earned’ her feminist credentials? Why do we even question her feminism at all?”
In the use of the term “respectability politics,” Hobson is referring to the concept that to be taken seriously in a white supremacist society, black people — in this case, black women — need to adopt the behaviors and values of the dominant culture. You can read a comprehensive piece about respectability politics by Tamara Winfrey Harris in Bitch Magazine here.
Chief amongst the critiques about Beyonce on the cover of Ms. are, one, whether Bey qualifies as a feminist and two, whether a black woman who dresses/performs in a sexually suggestive manner is an ideal representation of black women. A lot of comments seemed to conflate the two ideas: that Beyonce can’t be feminist because she’s setting a bad example for young (black) girls by dressing provocatively. Still, others objected to Ms.‘s cover line questioning whether Beyonce had “earned her feminist credentials.”( read moreCollapse )Source