What Kind of Feminist Are You: Miley, Beyonce, or Pharrell?

Time magazine just announced its list of the top 100 most influential people, declaring this to be “the year of pop feminism.” Their evidence? The lyrics, quotes, and attitude of Beyoncé, Pharrell (“Blurred Lines” notwithstanding)… and Miley Cyrus. “Beyoncé, Miley and Pharrell aren’t just accidental feminists,” according to Time. “They’ve actively promoted women’s empowerment through their songs, videos, and interviews, making feminism a explicit part of their respective public images.

The first person to agree with this assessment would be Miley Cyrus, who recently declared herself to be “one of the biggest feminists in the world.” Which would put her, presumably, in the same league as Betty Friedan, Bella Abzug, and Gloria Steinem. It’s not your mother’s feminism, though (assuming you were lucky enough to be raised by a woman who was comfortable with that F-word).

These three might be the new face of pop feminism, but they aren’t exactly working from the same feminist playbook. Read on to find out which kind of pop feminism you most closely identify with…


Miley Cyrus: Feminism Means I Can Be Funny, Raunchy, and Loud, Just Like a Guy, a.k.a. You Say Objectification, I Say Fearless

  •  “I’m one of the biggest feminists in the world because I tell women not to be scared of anything.”
  • “I’m a feminist in the way that I’m really empowering to women. I’m loud and funny and not typically beautiful.”
  • “Guys watch too much porn. Those girls don’t exist. They’re not real girls. And that’s like us watching romance movies. That’s girl porn, because, like, those guys do not exist.”
  • “For me, it’s not even that I’m a feminist. I’m for anybody. I’m for everybody, for everything. I don’t care what you wanna do in your life, or who you wanna be with, who you wanna love, who you wanna look like.”
  • “I told my mom, ‘I’m not buying another magazine until I can get past this thought of looking like the girl on the cover’. She said, “Miley, you are the girl on the cover,’ and I was, like, ‘I know, but I don’t feel like that girl every day.’ You can’t always feel perfect.”

Beyoncé: Feminism Means I Can Be Rich and Powerful and Simultaneously Imperfect and a Perfectionist, Just Like a Guy

  • “I guess I am a modern-day feminist. I do believe in equality. Why do you have to choose what type of woman you are? Why do you have to label yourself anything?”
  • “I’m over being a pop star. I don’t wanna be a hot girl. I wanna be iconic.”
  • “We need to reshape our own perception of how we view ourselves. We have to step up as women and take the lead.”
  • “Power’s not given to you. You have to take it.”
  • Finally, here’s the Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie quote Beyoncé sampled in her song “Flawless”: “We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, ‘You can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful. Otherwise you will threaten the man.’ Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. Now 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? We raise girls to see each other as competitors – not for jobs or for accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men. We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are. Feminist: the person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes.”

Pharrell: Feminism Means We’ve Still Got a Lot to Fight For,  But In the Meantime, Women Make Me Happy

  • “Women not being paid the same as men is completely unfair. In a world where every man, along with every woman benefits from … a [woman’s] agreement to give birth, something that we [men] cannot do, it doesn’t make sense to me at a time when we’ve had a space station that’s been orbiting the world for close to 20 years and we have a rover sending information back and forth on the surface of Mars, in 2014, we are trying to tell women what they can and can’t do with their bodies.”
  • “When you think about a night where there’s late-night talk-show hosts and it’s mostly women, that’s a different world. Right? A world where seventy-five percent of the prime ministers and the presidents were women: That’s a different world. That’s gonna happen, and it’s gonna happen when Hillary wins.”
  • “If women wanted to shut down this country, economically, they could just not go to work. If they wanted to kill off our species, they’d just decide not to have babies. And there’s going to be a huge shift, a huge shift. There will be a time when women get paid as much as men. There will be a time when, like, 75 percent of our world leaders will be women. All the presidents and prime ministers. There will come a time. And I’m going to be on the right side of that shift when it happens.”
  • “Slowly and surely we can eat away at that illusion, that hallucination the planet is under that this is a male-dominated world. It is not a male-dominated world but a male-dominated perception in this world.”
  • “I want to support women, but that doesn’t mean I won’t make another song where girls’ behinds are everywhere.”


One Comment

  1. None of the above, but the sampled Beyonce quotes are the least annoying.

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