Fuck Empowerment

Cross-posted from All Woman Show

orig. pub. on 11.3.15

This is one of the most brilliant music videos I’ve ever seen!

It goes beyond everything, these women own everything in this video, they own how we look at them, they own the narrative, they own the lyrics, they own the production, they own their personality, they own FUCKING EVERYTHING! This is revolution!

A week ago I had a long discussion about empowerment.. I said that I think it’s a trick to make us think that we are getting somewhere.. I think the industry is fooling us and not letting women find different kind of expressions than sexiness, but they have just found a way to justify objectification …

I hate the world empowerment for many reasons, first because it gives us a feeling that oppression is not structural and that society is build the way that it’s meant to be built. Second of all, it makes us believe that it’s not a structural problem that we are oppressed, the system is fine, we just have to feel powerful within society. If you can’t be powerful, well, maybe it’s your own fault… Sigh… This is of course ideas that comes from neo-liberalism’s ideas about the strong individual, a thought that is lacking any kind of solidarity or collectiveness. It leaves the individual hanging, saying; it’s up to you to feel empowered.

Next problem is of course in what context we use the word empowering, together with Beyoncé, Rhianna, Mylie Cyrus and Nicki Minaj, they are all great artists and performers but they come with the same imagery, sexy female, with not much clothes on, dancing sexy… but of course for herself… not for anyone else. Sad then that the world is built on patriarchy.. because patriarchy makes us think that they are doing all this for themselves and not for the male gaze, I would rather say that coining the word Empowering have given patriarchy a valid answer to why that can still objectify women, “She is doing it for herself, I’m just watching”.

So, if I would ever use the term Empowerment in a positive manner I would like it to be more than just being sexy and owning your body. ‘Empowered’ women should be able stand on the streets screaming or be dressed in a black turtle neck and smashing a guitar in to a wall and be as popular as Beyoncé, the same kind of role model as she is. But the businesses knows how to sell, and they use ‘Empowerment’ as a tool to make us think: ‘Oh there are big women artists, this world must be so much more equal because these women are earning so much money’, but we are actually working with in the same patriarchal structures as before, the female artists have just been conformed into the structure, fitting capitalism like a hand in a perfectly sized glow. The word ‘Empowering’ will not lead to revolution, I’m sorry…

Watch this movie if you want to learn more: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDcTt0emXhE

Tina Fey says it so well – I don’t want to be sexy, I want to be cool, kick-ass, smart, juno, loud, annoying, messy, fun, cleaver and brilliant and the word Empowerment does not confine any of those things.. THIS VIDEO DOES, ROXY FARHAT and GNUCCI’s video on the other hand confines all of those things, it makes me feel like I can fucking rule the world! Because who run the world?



All Women Show: A blog about my favorite thing, feminism and all-women-shows. I’m writing my MA thesis on all-women-shows and women in arts. This blog is for me, and for you, to remember my thoughts but also to keep my inspiration and discuss what I’ve read. What is all-women-shows? and what is women separatism? What’s feminism in art and how can we make art more feminist? On this blog you will find my own collages, presented artists and theories, all women, no men, and only feminism. My goal is to work with representation, feminism and equality within art and culture.

One thought on “Fuck Empowerment”

  1. Well basically empowerment is a sop for people who must not be allowed to aspire to real power, isn’t it? Power-lite to shut us up. The real power stays where it belongs – with men.

    No-one ever tells men to seek empowerment. They wouldn’t insult people who have the right to power, by fobbing them off with its poor relation.

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