TFW’s Heidi R. Lewis Discusses Beyonce’s Feminism on NPR – The Feminist Wire

TFW’s Heidi R. Lewis Discusses Beyonce’s Feminism on NPR

Beyonce Time Cover

Beyoncé was recently on the cover of Time as one of the 100 most influential people. In response, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg writes, “She raises her voice both on- and offstage to urge women to be independent and lead.”

However, Bill O’Reilly of Fox News said last month that for young girls, what Beyoncé does could have a negative impact. “This woman knows that young girls getting pregnant in the African-American community […] She knows and doesn’t seem to care.”

TFW’s Heidi R. Lewis, also an Assistant Professor of Feminist & Gender Studies at Colorado College, recently spoke with Robin Young on NPR‘s Here & Now to discuss Beyonce’s feminism. Click here for the clip.


  1. Dr Zoe Spencer

    May 16, 2014 at 9:43 pm

    To all of the “so called” feminist who celebrate and promote either Beyonce and/or her image as an example of feminism, feminist liberation, independence or taking sexual agency, STOP IT! Anyone who understands feminism and feminist ideology knows that the struggle has been about women liberating themselves from the patriarchal dominance, exploitation and oppression of the female body and being, be it her sexual, economic, physical being etc. To argue that Beyonce is a feminist icon would be to deny the fact that her image is and has been controlled by men from her father, to her husband to the patriarchally dominated record label executives that dominate the music industry and shape the images of all artist that are “signed” the their labels.
    Further to argue that she is an example of independence and leadership to young girls , especially young Black and Brown girls who are limited to her image and those like hers would be to deny how “real life” leadership and independence is achieved by the masses of girls and women who will not become successful entertainers. So, the assertion by professionals is an assault to our community and those of us who are active in it.
    To argue that her on and off stage persona encourages leadership and independence is a greater flaw. Offstage Beyonce has a limited education (I am not sure that she even finished high school) which is a core problem in urban communities. On stage and on record, her lyrical content and her visual imagery has become nothing short of pornographic in ways that have historically been resisted by feminist scholars and activists alike, especially LEADING black feminists such as hooks, Collins, and Rose. The socially constructed route to true independence and leadership rests in educating oneself, gaining knowledge, and resisting commodified and objectified roles in relation to patriarchal systems.
    Beyonce is nothing short of DETRIMENTAL to the psyche, growth, actualization, and understanding of young Black girls. She gives no message that would lead to idependence.
    To see the influence Beyonce has on our young girls, one need only go to youtube and search the way in which young girls receive and emulate her image. As bell hooks stated, Beyonce is a “terrorist” to our young. Here is just one of MANY examples why. I hope that you will all revisit feminism, talk to and respect the analysis of real feminists, especially Black feminist, and keep your love for Beyonce as an artist in a separte place from placing her as a feminist icon or any type of role model for anyone.

    • Heidi R. Lewis

      May 17, 2014 at 4:17 pm

      Dr. Zoe Spencer, you wrote, “To argue that Beyonce is a feminist icon,” but I have to wonder if you listened to my interview (only 15 minutes), because I never made that argument.

      • Dr Zoe Spencer

        June 6, 2014 at 10:53 pm

        I did- and YOU ARE MY HERO!!!!! My rant was not about your interview but rather the consistent insinuations that Beyonce is such. I had read several articles before this and was on a roll. I think you handled your interview magnificently!!!!!!

  2. Pingback: Is Beyonce a terrorist? | Double Standard

  3. janie jenkins

    June 4, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    I agree, with the person who says, Beyonce should not be considered a symbol of feminism. Her world is filled with too much influence from patriarchal structures that continue to re-ify women’s roles as domestic, and physically objectified.