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In a song titled “Flawless“, Beyoncé sampled the award- winning Nigerian author, Chimamanda Adichie’s work “We should all be feminists”. This was the sampled line:

“We teach girls to shrink themselves

To make themselves smaller

We say to girls

“You can have ambition

But not too much

You should aim to be successful

But not too successful

Otherwise you will threaten the man

Because I am female

I am expected to aspire to marriage

I am expected to make my life choices

Always keeping in mind that

Marriage is the most important

Now marriage can be a source of

Joy and love and mutual support

But why do we teach to aspire to marriage

And we don’t teach boys the same?

We raise girls to each other as competitors

Not for jobs or for accomplishments

Which I think can be a good thing

But for the attention of men

We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings

In the way that boys are”




However, the acclaimed literature writer recently said Beyonce’s type of feminism is not hers. According to Adichie, “It is the kind that gives quite a lot of space to the necessity of men”.

She told Dutch publication ‘de Volkskrant’:

Her style is not my style, but I do find it interesting that she takes a stand in political and social issues, since a few years. She portrays a woman who is in charge of her own destiny, who does her own thing, and she has girl power. I am very taken with that.

Still, her type of feminism is not mine, as it is the kind that, at the same time, gives quite a lot of space to the necessity of men. I think men are lovely, but I don’t think that women should relate everything they do to men: did he hurt me, do I forgive him, did he put a ring on my finger? We women are so conditioned to relate everything to men. Put a group of women together and the conversation will eventually be about men. Put a group of men together and they will not talk about women at all, they will just talk about their own stuff. We women should spend about 20 per cent of our time on men, because it’s fun, but otherwise we should also be talking about our own stuff.

On Beyonce being lovely,

In the first place: Of course Beyoncé asked permission to use my texts, and I did give her permission. I think she’s lovely and I am convinced that she has nothing but the best intentions. In addition, Beyoncé is a celebrity of the first order and with this song she has reached many people who would otherwise probably never have heard the word feminism, let alone gone out and buy my essay.

On media attention she’s being getting after the song’s release,

I was shocked about how many requests for an interview I received when that song was released. Literally every major newspaper in the world wanted to speak with me about Beyoncé. I felt such a resentment (laughs loudly). I thought: are books really that unimportant to you? Another thing I hated was that I read everywhere: now people finally know her, thanks to Beyoncé, or: she must be very grateful. I found that disappointing. I thought: I am a writer and I have been for some time and I refuse to perform in this charade that is now apparently expected of me: “Thanks to Beyoncé, my life will never be the same again.” That’s why I didn’t speak about it much.

Still, the hit song is amazing and the message is clear.


Written by Clement Oluwasegun

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