The 2014 MTV VMAs aired on Sunday and the moment that stole the show wasn't the usual kind of shocking stunt. It was a social statement made by Beyoncé at the end of her performance. The pop star performed her empowering ballad “Flawless” and at the end of the song the word “Feminist” was emblazoned behind her in bright lights. Fox News was one of the first networks to weigh in on the statement by saying “Beyoncé's feminist VMA message prompts some eye rolls.” The Fox News article goes on to talk about how the pop star can't really be a feminist because she's scantily dressed, thus proving to everyone that no one at Fox News bothered to look up what a feminist actually is before publishing an article about it.
What Fox News doesn't seem to understand is that a woman being in charge of her own choices and agency is about as feminist as it gets. A lot of people claim that the way a woman dresses or behaves is directly indicative of her self-respect or her worth and that is exactly what feminism is aiming to eliminate. What Beyoncé did at the VMAs was prove to everyone that a woman can be invested in her physical appearance if she wants to be, a woman can embrace her sexuality, settle down, get married, have kids and still be a feminist. She told the world that you can be anything you want and be a feminist regardless of gender. She reminded us all of what feminism really means. Best of all, countless young women and young men received that message.
An unfortunate and widespread misconception about feminism is that it's based on female superiority and misandry, and even more unfortunate is that there are people who call themselves feminists while adopting a misandrist attitude. But it's important to remember that those people make up only a minority of the feminist movement. Beyoncé using her platform on the world stage to promote the idea of social, political and economic equality between the sexes at the VMAs is perhaps one of the most important and positive things that have happened this summer.