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Beyoncé and the History of Female Rivalry

The Internet exploded on Saturday night when Beyoncé released her much anticipated visual album in the only way Bey can do it: on HBO. One of her songs seemed to reveal the truth behind the rumors that Jay Z had cheated on Beyoncé with designer Rachel Roy. I wasn’t familiar with the scandal, as what these three do with their sexual lives is none of my business. But, the Internet’s response to the revelation shocked me, as it exposed a nasty reality of our society.

Rachel Roy was forced to make her Instagram account private after Beyoncé’s fans started bombarding her with threats. Jay Z was not made accountable in the media’s eyes. Beyoncé came out as the triumphant ex-victim who has capitalized on making her relationship a symbol of #CoupleGoals.

It’s surprising to see such rivalry emerge surrounding an artist that has made herself an icon of 21st century feminism, which makes me question what type of feminism Beyoncé stands for and how much her fans have become part of it.

There is a long history of women pitted against each other when it comes to infidelity. It’s a gross game in which the man becomes the ultimate prize, the wife a victim and the mistress a whore. Why isn’t anyone lashing at Jay Z? Simply because they have become a symbol of power couples, a living proof that two individuals can indeed create an empire and capitalize on their love for each other. But, when one steps out to play with another, the fantasy is broken and we all know how well we deal with broken dreams. Instead, the beehive has decided to make Rachel Roy an enemy of the kingdom, the demonized Anne Boleyn. 

I don’t know if Jay Z actually had an affair with Rachel, if Beyoncé’s references on her song were directed to Rachel, or if Solange Knowles’ infamous elevator fight was about said affair. What I do know is that a true feminist beehive shouldn’t respond by bashing on the other woman. Instead, they would turn to Jay Z as the perpetrator of a public mess who has escaped all criticism and managed to come out on top, while his alleged mistress is attacked. They would use those two middle fingers in ‘Formation’ to defend both women against bullying, to prevent a rivalry caused by a third party. 

Young women don’t need another celebrity female feud to look up to. What they need is a true feminist to teach them that the other woman is not an enemy and that female empowerment begins when women support each other, no matter who they have fucked.

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