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Beyoncé's Feminist VMAs Performance Got People Talking About Gender Equality

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"Welcome to my world."

That's how Beyoncé introduced her 17-minute performance at last night's MTV Video Music Awards. That world involves broadcasting the word "feminist" to millions of viewers in in big, capital letters in arguably the most unambiguous pop culture pronouncement that, Yes, feminism is here.

Beyoncé has spoken at length about her feminist awakening. Through Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's words, she laid out a definition for the term in her late-2013 album. As one of the world's most successful people, she declared gender equality a "myth" in 2014. And she reenacted Rosie the Riveter's "We Can Do It" pose on Instagram in July.

Critics have demanded Beyoncé prove her feminist credentials over and over again.

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Last night, Beyoncé didn't just prove (re: remind us) that she's a feminist. She used a massive, multi-national platform to make sure we knew it matters. The moment represents a culmination of feminism's trickling from the edges into the pop culture mainstream -- a process Beyoncé, whether one agrees with her approach or not -- shot into overdrive.

Beyoncé's VMAs proclamation of feminism doesn't alleviate women's inequality, sexual assault, reproductive injustice or economic disparity, as HuffPost Entertainment's Lauren Duca pointed out. But it's a ringing endorsement for gender equality on a massive scale -- and at the very least, it got us talking.

Here's how women reacted to Beyoncé's celebration of feminism last night:

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