College lecturer: Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj are reclaiming the word 'slut'

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Bowling Green, KY — The college lecture was entitled “Flawless, Bootylicious or No Angel?: Debating Beyoncé Feminism.”

On Tuesday night lecturer, Kristi Branham, addressed students at Western Kentucky University on the topic of a newer wave of feminism, spearheaded by R&B artists like Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj. The “fourth wave,” as Branham calls it, focuses on reclaiming terms like “slut.” Branham is the assistant professor of gender and women’s studies at Western Kentucky University.

From the BG Daily News:

“I’m not saying Beyoncé is a slut,” Branham said. A collective gasp went up, as if the audience were defending the honor of their “Queen Bey.” “I don’t want that to be misinterpreted.”

“I really believe that there is a fourth wave of feminists that is coming up behind us. I’m not sure what they’re going to do or where they’re going, but feminist scholars may mark Dec. 17, 2013, the release of Beyoncé’s ‘Beyoncé’ as the beginning of the fourth wave,” Branham said

Branham also addressed the success of the superstar in relation to her husband, rapper Jay Z. “She was already a superstar before they started dating. She released two solo albums before they got married and she has sold significantly more music than he has. I mean, personally, I worry for him,” Branham said to the students’ laughter.

 Branham went on to explain, “We see Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston, that didn’t go over very well with Whitney Houston being much more powerful and having much stronger star power than Bobby Brown ever did. And it kind of destroyed Whitney because she tried to hide it … and not overshadow him because of these heterosexual ideals about marriage and how the man is the provider. We lost a wonderful star because of that. I would be more concerned about Jay-Z because I think Beyoncé’s fine.”

The discussion also turned to feminist movements like Slutwalk London. The movement, beginning in Toronto, Ontario in 2011, saw protests and marches around the world in response to rape culture. Protesters wore fish nets and bras with the slogan, “My dress is not a yes.”

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