Annie Lennox, former member of the Eurythmics, has been doing plenty of interviews to promote her new album, Nostalgia. Lately, those conversations have often turned to a different topic: Beyonce. Lennox labeled Bey “feminist lite” in an interview at the end of September. Talking with NPR in a recent interview, Lennox attempted to clarify her stance.
NPR’s Steve Inskeep asked the singer, “What has made you comment on a lot of modern music today that is being put out by women as being over-sexualized?” “Well you’ve said it in the question,” Lennox replied. “The reason why I’ve commented is because I think that this overt sexuality thrust — literally — at particular audiences, when very often performers have a very, very young audience, like 7 years older, I find it disturbing and I think its exploitative. It’s troubling. I’m coming from a perspective of a woman that’s had children.”
The discussion then moved from over-sexualization more generally to focus on Beyonce. “Some people will know that you specifically criticized Beyonce for this the other day,” prompted Inskeep. “Well, I didn’t specifically criticize Beyonce,” noted Lennox. “I was being asked about Beyonce in the context of feminism, and I was thinking at the time about very impactful feminists that have dedicated their lives to the movement of liberating women and supporting women at the grass roots, and I was saying, ‘well that’s one end of the spectrum, and then you have the other end of the spectrum.'”
Inskeep pressed further: “It sounds like you feel that there was a phrase taken and that became the headline, but you were actually trying to deliver a more involved thought?”
“Listen,” said Lennox, “Twerking is not feminism. Thats what I’m referring to. It’s not — it’s not liberating, it’s not empowering. It’s a sexual thing that you’re doing on a stage; it doesn’t empower you. That’s my feeling about it.” Before returning to Nostalgia, Lennox suggested, “Maybe this is a good thing because it creates debate.”
Beyonce’s brand of feminism has been the subject of many think pieces in the past. In fact, after the release of her surprise album at the end of last year, NPR compiled a large number of essays on exactly that. You can peruse them here and listen to the full interview below.