617,000. That's how many copies of her self-titled album Beyonce sold in three days last week, after she dropped it without warning. As fans and critics have dug in, debates about the messages and images within it are roiling. Is Beyonce, the sexy pop goddess who has performed at two inaugurations, also this generation's highest-profile feminist? I spoke to six people who identify as feminists — all of whom feel differently about Beyonce — to find out how a pop album no one was ready for is capping off a year of think pieces and Twitter skirmishes.
The night Beyonce unleashed her new songs and videos, filmmaker Tanya Steele watched her Twitter account explode. "When I saw black feminists on Twitter just going crazy, I thought, 'Wow, she must really have done something!' "
So Steele downloaded what her colleagues were calling Beyonce's Feminist Manifesto. "I saw her in pornographic poses," she says. "I couldn't understand what black feminists were looking at." She says for her it was just another tired example of a woman performing for men.
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