Annie Lennox on Beyoncé’s Feminism: ‘I Think It’s a Cheap Shot’

Bey's VMAs
Watch Beyoncé's iconic 2014 VMAs performance.
Ever since the surprise release of her self-titled album last December, Beyoncé has received nearly unanimous praise for highlighting feminist issues in songs like “***Flawless” and in her live performances. But not everyone is a fan of Beyoncé’s brand of feminism.

Annie Lennox, who rose to prominence in the 1980s as the lead singer of Eurythmics, and who has, throughout her career, been an outspoken advocate for feminist and LGBT issues, says she thinks Beyoncé’s version feminism is problematic.

In an interview with Pride Source, Lennox was asked what she made of an artist like Beyoncé, who famously projected the word “feminist” on the screen while performing at last month’s Video Music Awards.

“I would call that ‘feminist lite.’ L-I-T-E. I’m sorry. It’s tokenistic to me,” Lennox answered. “I mean, I think she’s a phenomenal artist – I just love her performances – but I’d like to sit down (with her). I think I’d like to sit down with quite a few artists and talk to them. I’d like to listen to them; I’d like to hear what they truly think.”

Lennox then continued:

“I see a lot of it as them taking the word hostage and using it to promote themselves, but I don’t think they necessarily represent wholeheartedly the depths of feminism – no, I don’t. I think for many it’s very convenient and it looks great and it looks radical, but I have some issues with it. I have issues with it. Of course I do. I think it’s a cheap shot. I think what they do with it is cheap and … yeah. What can I tell you? Sex always sell. And there’s nothing wrong with sex selling, but it depends on your audience. If they’re 7-year-old kids, I have issues with it.”

Lennox’s credentials on the issues at hand are bonafide, to be sure, though one could argue that even feminism-as-marketing, in this day and age, and from an icon such as Beyoncé, is still absolutely vital and, in its way, radical. There’s nothing wrong with baby steps.

What do you think? Tell us in the comments below.