Trending Topics

5 Reasons Beyonce and Michelle Obama Irritate White Feminists

For Appearing to Play a Subordinate Role to Their Husbands


At the end of her epic Super Bowl halftime 2013 performance, Beyonce announced her “Mrs. Carter Show World Tour.” The tour was named after Beyonce’s surname by marriage to hip-hop mogul Shawn “Jay Z” Carter.

The move enraged feminists, as Sarah Walters of Manchester Evening News noted that critics questioned “How could a woman as empowered and influential as Beyoncé compromise her identity and be known as the bride of some other celebrity?”

Grace Dent of was none to pleased by the name-change, blaming Beyonce’s decision on having “too much gas and air [while] giving birth to [her daughter] Blue Ivy.”

Jane Martinson in The Guardian wrote: “There is almost something subversive about waiting until the strongest moment of your career, which is where Beyoncé finds herself now, to do away with the infamous glossy mononym in favor of a second name your own husband doesn’t even use.”

fem soft topics

Michelle Obama

First lady Michelle Obama is considered the most accomplished first lady to take residence in the White House with two degrees from Ivy League schools and an established career. When she became first lady, Obama gave hope to feminist women who longed for a first lady who did more than bake cookies or spend their days debating “soft” topics like the welfare of children.

Washington reporter Michelle Cottle recognizes the role of the first lady could be a tricky one that comes with the “all of the scrutiny but none of the power of the presidency,” as she noted in her controversial piece for Politico: “Leaning Out: How Michelle Obama became feminist nightmare.”

Author Linda Hirshman adds that Michelle Obama managed to stay out of the way for nearly six years, but “the way she did that was to give, for all intents and purposes, an almost music-hall-level imitation of a warm-and-fuzzy, unthreatening, bucolic female from some imaginary era from the past.”

Even as Michelle Obama took on a “tougher” issues like education, it didn’t come without snipes to her previous choices. Cottle states: “[The higher education gap], finally, was an issue worthy of the Ivy-educated, blue-chip law firm-trained first lady, a departure from the safely, soothingly domestic causes she had previously embraced. Gardening? Tending wounded soldiers? Reading to children?”

What people are saying

17 thoughts on “5 Reasons Beyonce and Michelle Obama Irritate White Feminists

  1. Jess Nelson says:

    Why can't Michelle like clothes and talk about it? Just because she is a strong woman, doesn't mean she has to do away with notable feminine interests-like fashion. Enough is enough. Beyoncé and First Lady Obama are both positive figures in a world that mocks and jeer Black women.

  2. Montely Wilson-Bey says:

    It seems to me that mainstream media believes there own hype. First and most importantly, Michelle Obama and Beyonce don't control what is printed. Mainstream media controls that. I would seem that rather than post the positive aspect of these gorgeous and highly success back women they print only the stuff that feeds the stereotype of black women that mainstream media created and seeks to maintain. The fact of the matter is feminist are upset that the first lady isn't championing the causes. Why should she? Beyonce is in the music industry, in which, the objectification of women started long before Beyonce arrived on the seen. Where is the consistent and demonstrative outcry to what has been a well established and long practiced music industry construct? Furthermore, I look at 2013 and I see cultural assimilation on the behalf of white mainstream society, which, is always hell bent on casting stereotypes, yet steal iconic cultural creations at the same time. So, I look below the surface and I see white people upset that these two black women are nationally and internationally adored, and they would love nothing more than to put these two black women in their stereotypical place. Nice try, but we gotcha ya!

  3. I think the one issue Beyoncé should be criticized for is reinforcement of Eurocentric beauty standards for Black women (i.e. L'Oreal ad) – she'll never critique/comment on that because she profits from it. So, I don't see her as completely empowering for Black women – that's certainly debatable. But I think she has obviously accomplished a lot as a Black women in entertainment – but the colorism issue turns me off. I think her songs speak more to women's sexual empowerment – in general. That's my interpretation of Beyoncé in regards to the issues of feminism, Black feminism, and/or womanism.

    As for Michelle Obama, she is clearly judged based on stereotypes and Eurocentric attitudes of mainstream (read: white) feminism that fails to be inclusive and marginalizes women of color in general.

  4. Robert RA Anderson says:

    As I read the goals and objectives from an assignment I gave my majority 9th grade classes, I have read several times that a goal high on the list of my female students, is to have children and to provide for their future families, and to be great mothers. I say that to ask; what's wrong with that? I don't think these 9th grade girls feel forced to assure anyone about their desires to be mothers. So if 9th Grade girls feel this way, can we also say that First Lady Obama didn't feel forced by Americans to say that she is a mother, first? I think it's a very natural desire for women to be great mothers.

  5. Sandra S. Brinkley says:

    Maybe Michelle Obama is like a lot of working women once they become mothers, enjoying the idea of staying at home and raising their children while they are still young. As far as Beyonce goes, she sings whatever going to make her money. If feminism makes her money, she'll sing about. If bowing down to her man makes her money, she'll sing about that too.

  6. Rebecca Howard says:

    It's saying something that both women are pressured more bc they are both black and female–all under the guise of equality of the sexes. If racial inequality isn't accounted for them it's just words that don't apply to us.

  7. Tamara Ellis says:

    It should be titled: "8 Reasons Why Women Reject The Term Feminist: The Main Reason Being Feminists Telling You You're Not Feminist Enough, Blah*

  8. Shereen Hart says:

    Yeah, well who dahayell has got time to be a "feminist" when the entire point of what they do is tied into their husbands? That's a feminist movement NOBODY needs. Only single women and married women with slacker trifling husbands need feminism.

  9. Anonymous says:

    white women are envious haters

  10. Anonymous says:

    Some women need to go get a butt fix and some t/a

  11. Anonymous says:

    Michelle was never trapped by assumptioms about race White women are LOL

  12. Anonymous says:

    And what makes you think they care about radical inequality They are millionaires

  13. Anonymous says:


  14. Phoebe King says:

    As a biracial feminist, I really don't give a shit what "white" feminists think about our beautiful First Lady. I think she's fulfilling her role with tremendous grace and aplomb. Frankly, after what former Sect'y of State Clinton was put through when she tried assert herself and reformulate the role back in the '90s, I give Mrs. Obama all the props in the world for working within the confines of the more traditional aspects of her position to raise awareness and effect change about a number of issues–organic gardening as a way to address childhood obesity AND the environment not being the least of which–without having to battle against the status quo.

    Too bad other feminists are disappointed Mrs. Obama has not pushed the boundaries. I personally think she has complemented her husband perfectly and been a constant support to him. As hard as President Obama has been knocked around by Congress and in the media, I don't think he could ask for a better partner to help navigate these uncharted waters, feminism be damned.

  15. Spoken by a true king :3 I love our men! Your queen must be proud.

  16. :3 You are beautiful

  17. read what Montely said.

Leave a Reply

Back to top