Notable for embracing her cultural identities and revolutionizing the entertainment industry with each project, Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter is a singer, songwriter, actress, fashion designer and more.
Queen Bey, or Bey, as she is affectionately called, is loved by many but also hated by others. Of course, this likely doesn’t matter to her.
Anytime Beyoncé makes the headlines or social media, comments about her overrated-ness inevitably follow. Her fans are compared to religious worshippers, something even she has set straight.
What makes Beyoncé so overrated? Is it her talent, something she has spent decades perfecting, which shows every time a note leaves her mouth? Is it her work ethic, where she invests months to years into every project? Is it her philanthropy, which she doesn’t broadcast but still gives plentifully? Is it her personal life, which isn’t our business anyway? Is it her womanhood? Is it her blackness? It’s very likely both.
Unfortunately, Beyoncé is just susceptible to one of the many issues that plagues women everywhere: the minimizing of achievements. Even in this day and age, the success of women makes people uncomfortable. Beyoncé herself isn’t the problem; it’s what she represents. It’s hard for those uncomfortable with female success, to see a black woman like Beyonce reach success of her caliber.
Truth be told, this phenomenon is everywhere. And one might think it’s just men who do this, but it’s not. I’ve encountered several women who rather than correcting their internalized misogyny would prefer to belittle other women and their accomplishments. I once talked to a woman who reduced one woman and all of her accomplishments to being someone’s wife. Even though said “wife” was so much more than that, it was easier for her to ignore that in an effort to insult her.
Another example is Michelle Obama, former first lady of the United States. I’ve only been alive for four presidencies, but I can’t help but think Obama was the victim of more criticism than any other First Lady, not to mention a brand of criticism completely different from other presidencies. She was one of the most educated and eloquent First Ladies we’ve ever had. Critics constantly reduced her to attacks against her appearance, or even more vilely, her race.
Female accomplishments are constantly diminished, even when they’re for the glory of the country.
The U.S. Women’s Soccer Team, four-time winners of the World Cup, were subject to the most disgusting hate, even after they won the tournament this year. When fighting for equal pay, they were constantly compared to their male counterparts, who have won their World Cup a total of zero times. It was more important that these female athletes who have brought home several trophies were attacked for having fun, drinking and standing up in the face of hate. Those things were easier to focus on than them getting something done that men couldn’t.
Women everywhere are faced with this kind of problem. It’s even more difficult when one of their other identities intersects with the reduction of their achievements. We see it everywhere, in the office when we do our job twice as well as the male across the hall, but he still gets a promotion first. We see it in our families, where male family members are praised for doing the bare minimum. We even see it in ourselves, when we suppress any pride, because a woman is supposed to be humble.
Maya Stevenson is a 20-year-old English and Philosophy major from Baton Rouge, Louisiana.