When it was announced by Lord Hain that Philip Green, the head of Topshop, was being investigated for sexual harassment, the world looked to Beyoncé. Given the pop superstar co-owned the brand Ivy Park with Green, many rightly felt she needed to cut ties with the disgraced businessman. Beyoncé has sold over 100 million albums as a solo artist and a further 60 million more as a member of Destiny’s Child. Over the course of her career, she has regularly been hailed as one of the most influential people in the entertainment industry. She is nicknamed “Queen Bey” by her fans, proving their respect for her.
Beyoncé has routinely used her large platform to speak out on her support for the feminist movement, publicly identifying as a feminist, and using her platform to elevate women and women-of-colour such as her use of an all-female band. This was evident in her Miss Carter World Tour and the 2014 MTV VMA performances where she performed the song “***Flawless” with the word “FEMINIST” written in bold in large lights behind her and sampled a speech by feminist writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
Given Beyoncé has so publicly announced her desire for gender equality it only seems right that she takes a stand against the actions of Philip Green. If she continued to work with him it may serve to be some sort of endorsement of his actions. Her inaction would lead to his actions being seen as less significant. For Beyoncé to not do anything would ruin her feminist credentials. Someone who stands for equality between men and women should not be working with someone who clearly doesn’t respect the woman’s right to consent and has proven themselves to be misogynistic in the past. However this week it would seem Beyoncé proved that she means what she says. Her company Parkwood announced it was buying out Green’s 50% share of the Ivy Park brand meaning it is now one of the biggest brands owned solely by a black woman. This action some argue shows that Beyoncé is a true feminist and she doesn’t just appropriate the term as a label. She acts on her beliefs.
However, none of the statements released to the public have mentioned the sexual harassment claims. If Beyoncé wanted to truly make a feminist impact, she could denounce Philip Green’s actions. By staying silent over his alleged actions, she is not challenging his behavior. Furthermore, the rumor in the trades is that this buyout has been discussed for the past year although of course, the timing of the buyout is hard to ignore. While cutting ties with Green’s company Arcadia is a very significant and important move, we must ask whether the singer could have done more?
Nevertheless, this action shows that Beyoncé is a true feminist and she doesn’t just appropriate the term as a label. She acts on her beliefs. Therefore for her to cut ties with Philip Green following the accusations sends a powerful message to the world. She is adding significantly to the criticism of his actions. Given that she is such an influential figure in society, she doesn’t need to be explicit with her reasoning and her actions are enough. Her break with Philip Green sends a powerful message to her fanbase that women will not stand for harassment.
Naturally, people will always argue that she could do more but Beyoncé’s action this week proves she will not associate herself with the disgusting behaviour of Philip Green. She has shown to the world that she is not afraid to stand for her beliefs even when it might not be the most profitable move. Furthermore, her decision will influence millions of people. This week Beyoncé proved feminists should not stand for sexist behaviour and sexual harassment.
(Main Image Credit: IvyPark.Com)