Last week, I happened to catch a segment of New York Live and Wendy Williams was their guest. Their discussion piqued my interest so I left it on. Wendy and the show’s hosts were talking about Beyoncé being called out for her new album and live performances of its songs. I was in full agreement with what the hosts and Wendy Williams had to say, they supported her freedom of expression. It’s been gross to see people come for Beyoncé.
For starters, Beyoncé is a grown woman. She can wear what she wants, sing songs about whatever she wants, and never deserves to be dragged for it. Don’t like the lyrics? Turn the song off. Her performance makes you uncomfortable? Change the channel. Simple. The day after the VMA’s, I debated with other women who were appalled by Bey’s performance. How dare a woman, let alone a mother, embrace her sexuality? One woman in particular said her young son called Beyoncé “disgusting” and she agreed with him. There was much talk directed at her on how inappropriate it is to encourage any young man to label a woman as “disgusting.” I’m pretty sure this woman, nor any of the other slut-shamers understand that. The rest of us would have had a frank conversation with our son explaining why what he said is wrong. Or, you know, we could’ve changed the channel once we became uncomfortable… People also brought up Pink in their arguments against those who were slut-shaming Beyoncé. Often, I heard that Pink’s performance was “art,” Beyoncé’s wasn’t (insert my reaction: something like this). Their outfits were nearly identical. In this particular head to head of who is raunchy and who is artistic, it’s safe to say racism is at play. Beyoncé isn’t just a woman expressing herself sexually, she is a black woman doing so.
I’m tired of all the shaming, but find it most hurtful when a fellow woman engages in it. I was glad to see these ladies discuss and defend Beyoncé. But then, cue the record scratch, Wendy Williams dove right into slut-shaming. The next story was about Lindsay Lohan. Apparently a list was found of Lindsay’s sexual partners in her hotel room and naturally, hotel staff sold it to a tabloid. The talk shifted to petty cackling over Lindsay and how long the list was, who was on it, and why she even wrote the list in the first place, etc. Who cares? Lindsay Lohan can sleep with as many people as she wants. She can sleep with everyone in Hollywood, and guess what? It’s her choice and she would never deserve to be slut-shamed for it. When do we talk about all the people celebrity men are sleeping with? List or not, there is always speculation about who and how many people a female celebrity is sleeping with or dating. See: Taylor Swift, Rihanna, and Kim Kardashian. Yes, I’ll even speak up for a Kardashian.
There were no jokes coming from Wendy Williams, she was serious when she explained why LiLo is a disgrace. To make her point, as to why this list, and even the idea of a list, was awful, Wendy Williams explained that Beyoncé is not a bad role model because she’s “having fun with her husband…” (Okay, I’m 100% with you there, it’s awesome to see a wife expressing herself sexually!) but then follows up with:
“I don’t recall Beyoncé running through men the way some of these girls do, these celebrity girls.” – Wendy Williams
— Lauren (@4lala) March 13, 2014
These are all grown women (not girls!) making their own decisions and doing their own thing. Enough already. If one celebrity chooses not to sleep with multiple people or is more discreet about it, fine. But they don’t get some award for it. I love Beyoncé. Any criticism of her album or videos is just as much a part of rape culture as slut-shaming Lindsay Lohan is. I won’t stand for either. Slut-shaming is slut-shaming. The minute you say a woman can only be sexual if she is married or she is good because you assume she never “slept around,” you are abiding by the patriarchy. You cannot justify that to me, ever. I don’t see how Wendy or anyone else can go to bat for Beyoncé and not for Lindsay. Even if I don’t like someone or agree with their life choices, if you slut-shame them, I’m absolutely going to stand up for them. If we want to end rape culture, we need to be aware of our own words and our own slut-shaming. Women who have a platform, do better. We need you on our side, the patriarchy is doing just fine on its own.