Beyoncé's No-Pants "Most Influential" Cover: Calm Down, PeopleJennifer Still

Beyoncé is, without a doubt, one of the world’s biggest superstars. She’s talented, beautiful, intelligent and makes damn good songs – what’s not to love? Well, nothing, if you agree with TIME magazine, who named her the most influential person of 2014 and placed her on the cover of the special edition issue. Get it, Mrs. Carter!

Of course, not everyone saw the honor as a positive thing and so, those unhappy with Beyoncé’s cover story did what everyone in the 21st century does when they don’t like something: take to the Internet to complain about it. The biggest gripe seems to be with the “provocative” outfit Queen Bey donned for her photo: a white, rather modestly cut two piece bathing suit covered by a sheer top. Many feel that her “influence” was based solely on her sexuality and that, were it not for her highly suggestive (and sometimes rather explicit) songs and on-stage persona, she wouldn’t be there at all.

While that’s clearly not at all true, there’s one question I would ask even if it were: So what? I feel like I’m telling a tale as old as time in the feminist world, but how does what she’s wearing at all affect her talents and accomplishments as an artist, a businesswoman, a mother or a human being? It doesn’t. Beyoncé feels comfortable with her body and the clothes she chooses to put on it. She obviously feels empowered when embracing not only her remarkable talent and business savvy, but when also embracing her physical self – and there’s not a damn thing wrong with it.

beyonce time

Is Beyoncé, as an entertainer and influential woman, selling sex? Not particularly. Rather, she sells the alternative idea to that which is pushed on women in society every day – that sex is natural, especially for men, but the women folk need to keep it quiet and ladylike. Bey’s message is basically one big “hell no!” to anyone that would try to stifle her – and women in general – in any way, and instead tells us that we CAN be it all. We can be wives, mothers, career women… and still be sexy and enjoy our sexuality without compromising the rest.

It would be a disservice to discredit the role Beyoncé’s candidness about her sexuality has played in her popularity as a public figure. Most pop stars have attempted to adapt to the “sexy” persona required in the music industry, but none have embraced it and expressed it so naturally as Beyoncé, who not only sings rather bluntly about her bedroom exploits but also has no problems discussing her views on sexuality in interviews. Basically, she puts her money where her mouth is.

If I had a daughter, I would be happy to have her look up to someone like Beyoncé – a strong woman who won’t be told what she can and can’t do. After all, as Sheryl Sandburg wrote in her TIME profile, “Beyoncé doesn’t just sit at the table. She builds a better one.” I, for one, am happy to grab a seat beside her.

Images via TIME

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