Run the World. Het vermeende spanningsveld tussen feminisme en hedendaagse popmuziek

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Recently more and more female pop stars started to declare to be feminists. Singer Beyoncé Knowles-Carter is one of them. During her VMA performance in 2014 she made a significant feminist statement while performing her song ***Flawless, standing in front of a giant luminous FEMINIST sign. A lot of critique on this statement followed. Although Beyoncé is claiming to be a feminist, she has been putting a lot of emphasis on her body, looks and sexuality, in both her music and her videos. Therefore, the current study examines how Beyoncés feminist claim can be interpreted through theories about (modern) feminism and sexualization in pop culture, and thereby how these subjects intertwine and contradict. It analyses how core values in pop culture like authenticity, image, sexuality, tone of voice, context, commerciality, and personal autonomy are used in creating a personal message like Beyoncé does. The research focuses! on Beyon cé as an artist, her career, and her newest self-titled album including the song ***Flawless. Statements made by Beyoncé in her music and in the media are being examined to discover how they can be seen in the light of feminism. She claims a certain integrity, authenticity and sincerity in her message by focusing on a personal feel, independence and autonomy in her music and working life (by using documentaries and videos). These aspects make Beyoncé’s message supposedly valuable. Alongside other artists like Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande, Beyoncé popularizes a controversial subject within modern culture. The study reveals that Beyoncé’s feminism fits well within modern, third-wave feminism, even though her message is sometimes very contradicting. Focusing on subjects like personal experience, body image, self-acceptance, sexual freedom and approachability, Beyoncé brings feminism to the masses and re-evaluates common (sexual) standards.
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