Recently, celebrated author and public figure Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie stated that, though she was featured in Beyoncé's "Flawless," she doesn't feel her feminist ideology completely lines up with Beyoncé's. Now, it's important to note that neither one of these incredible women is wrong in the ways they embrace, engage with or even discuss feminism — and that Adichie makes it clear that she supports Beyoncé's feminist ideology even though she feels her own views slightly differ. It seems that Adichie is merely artfully separating herself from another woman's own, valid definition of feminism, and that woman just so happens to be Beyoncé. The conflation came up during an interview Adichie gave with Dutch paper De Volkskrant, where she stated that she doesn't feel own feminist values are precisely aligned with Beyoncé's.
By virtue of the fact that Adichie's famous "We Should All Be Feminist's" TED talk was made into a soundbite for Beyoncé's "Flawless," it can be easy to mistake Adichie's inclusion in the song as proof their views are one in the same. Of course, both Beyoncé's and Adichie's messages are valid, inspiring, and important — they're both interpreting feminism in their own way, and so they're both doing it right. However, Adichie made clear in her interview with De Volkskrant that she feels her views do differ slightly from the "Formation" singer's:
Still, [Beyoncé's] type of feminism is not mine, as it is the kind that, at the same time, gives quite a lot of space to the necessity of men. I think men are lovely, but I don't think that women should relate everything they do to men: did he hurt me, do I forgive him, did he put a ring on my finger? We women are so conditioned to relate everything to men. Put a group of women together and the conversation will eventually be about men. Put a group of men together and they will not talk about women at all, they will just talk about their own stuff. We women should spend about 20 percent of our time on men, because it's fun, but otherwise we should also be talking about our own stuff.
While Adichie makes it clear she's not here to throw shade at Beyoncé, it's moments like these that serve as a reminder to us all that even feminism has various nuanced approaches. Adichie herself praised Beyoncé for taking a more visibly political stance in recent years, which is an admirable action. If anything, it shows that Adichie is keeping her support intact for another woman in a shared cause; an important action by any account.
But are Adichie and Beyoncé really so at odds that there is little overlap in their espoused feminist values? For different perspective, here are Beyoncé's own words on feminism:
"I put the definition of feminist in my song ['Flawless'] and on my tour, not for propaganda or to proclaim to the world that I'm a feminist, but to give clarity to the true meaning. I'm not really sure people know or understand what a feminist is, but it's very simple. It's someone who believes in equal rights for men and women. I don't understand the negative connotation of the word, or why it should exclude the opposite sex."
Beyoncé's own version of feminism is important — but it's also important to remember the Adichie's version of feminism is just as important, worthy, and should be noted as such.
That said, both women are actual feminist icons and regardless of how they shape their own feminist views, it's key that we take time to celebrate them.