This is What Happens When You Take Femininity Out of Feminism

I used to love awards shows like the VMAs or the Emmys. Then I turned 12.

Today, I was reminded why I don’t watch anymore—why awards shows are probably the worst form of reality television: they are a microcosm of everything that’s wrong with society.

Take the idea of feminism, for which the mega-international-superstar Beyoncé was the curious spokesperson on Sunday evening’s showcase of slop. She stood before the world with “Feminist” shining behind her, implying that she was the epitome of the word.

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The root of feminism, naturally, is feminine and when you ask someone what feminine means, you might get an answer like effeminate, nurturing, beautiful, or dainty. Some may answer like dictionary.com: “sensitivity or gentleness.”

But Sunday, Beyoncé didn’t display those qualities. She sang about performing oral sex in the back of a limo and having a guy “tear that cherry out.” She had a song that tells women who don’t respect her sufficiently to “Bow Down Bitches.” And of course, how could a self-professed feminist perform in front of a national audience of tweens without gratuitous dry-humping and S&M themes?

It was almost as if her idea of feminism was strictly sexual in nature and an adolescent mysogynistic version of sexuality at that. To most keen observers, there was a distinct lack of femininity in Beyoncés feminism. As one blogger wrote, it was utterly hilarious that Beyoncé claimed feminism between the strip club vignette and the ‘Bow Down’ song. And, as a friend of mine pointed out, Beyoncé was saying that sexual violence is okay and makes you stronger. Instead of “I am woman; hear me roar,” Sunday night we got, “I am woman; hear me sexually objectify myself and call it feminism.” That’s not feminism; it’s the opposite of feminism.

But that’s the point, isn’t it? Beyoncé wants to separate the idea of feminism with femininity. She wants to act like a barbaric male and pretend that since she has breasts that it is somehow feminism. She and her handlers want to change what it means to be feminine.

Of course, you can’t do that. Femininity is not a cultural construct. Yes, fashions change; trends come and go; but the core nature of woman is written in a woman’s genes and no amount of testosterone supplements or MTV can change that.

I’m not trying to put women in a box and say that women don’t have a place in a man’s world. I’m saying that there is an innate complementarity between men and women—a specialization of each sex by nature—that benefits everyone and the species as a whole. Trying to blur those lines or act like they don’t exist is detrimental to our species and in this case in particular is sadly self-defeating misogyny.

So, what happens when you try to take the feminine out of feminism?

You end up getting this:

feminism

Now, for those of you who still have your lunch…

I’m not the most observant person in the world, but I don’t know who would call Conan the Barbarian on crack feminine. On the contrary, it’s precisely what happens when you try to take femininity out of feminism.

If you’re interested in reading about true femininity, my friend wrote a great article on that: So what does it really mean to be feminine.