Whether you enjoy Beyoncé's music or not, it's safe to say that we were all "bowing down" to the Queen B when she released her self-titled surprise visual album over the break.
Feminist Beyoncé definitely strove to make a statement in this new album, especially through her song "Flawless" which featured a TED talk speech by Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
For those unfamiliar, here is a quote from Adichie's speech, "We Should all be Feminists," which is included in the song: "Marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support. But why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don't teach boys the same?"
This quote has spread across social media as women take a stand and join in the feminist movement. HBO "Girls" writer Lena Dunham's tweet, "There is no bad feminism," won the record for most retweets I've witnessed in my short Twitter life. However, contrary to Lena and her followers, I do think there is bad feminism, and I believe I've found a flaw in Beyoncé's flawless feminist movement.
In my opinion, the definition of feminism sets the movement up for failure, and before you begin to smolder with rage, allow me to explain.
The internet (read: Wikipedia, because where else do college kids start their research?) defines feminism as a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing and defending equal political, economic and social rights for women.
Let me put emphasis on the "for women." If feminists strive for equal rights for women – a goal I share – should they not also seek to maintain those rights for men?
Here in America, women have been taught to view men not as equals but as medieval villains who sit around conjuring up schemes to further subjugate women.
We women have gone from climbing the ladder of equality to outright misandry, man-hating our way to the top. Women rage against men, claiming that they no longer want to live in man's patriarchal society. But when filtered through a feminist screen, this claim is blind to the inequalities shown toward men.
For example, most men never decide to undergo circumcision; it is decided for them at birth. The religious practice has successfully transitioned to a necessary social custom that arguably poses little medical benefit. What if it were commonplace to submit women to female circumcision? In many African countries it is, but what we consider commonplace to boys is an atrocity for women.
Then there's this fact; according to a University of Michigan study, men face a 63 percent higher prison sentence than women convicted of the same crime; women are twice as likely to escape incarceration.
Though there are no statistics, also consider the untold stories of men who would rather not have drunken sex with someone they don't know. If you scoffed, you prove my point; a man is considered weak and feminine if he isn't trying to get laid every time he goes out.
Feminism isn't really about girls or boys, or at least it shouldn't be. It should be focused against the gender roles society has built for girls and boys. Women are judged by their outward appearance and are told, as Adichie said, to "aspire to marriage."
Men are judged by the equally unfair criteria of their apparent masculinity and the number of zeros on their paycheck.
Last semester I may have joined the rally of man-haters, blaming all of them for all of the injustices that face women. However, I soon came to find that I was being irrational. When we point fingers at men for their wrongs, such as the favorite scapegoat crime of cheating, we hardly ever consider the wily temptress who first led him astray.
To truly reach equality, we do not need to put men down. We need to put gender roles down, and allow equality to flourish for both sexes.
Maybe if we make it less about hating men and more about working with them, the feminist system can be as flawless as Beyoncé.
Kaila Curry is a freshman in English. She can be reached at email@example.com.