05/12/2014 09:25 am ET Updated May 12, 2014

Beyoncé's Control Of Her Own Image Belies The bell hooks 'Slave' Critique

Clive Brunskill via Getty Images

Public intellectuals are often put in the position of having their words, no matter how off-the-cuff, treated as doctrine. Such was recently the case when, during a panel discussion about liberating the black female body, bell hooks referred to Beyoncé as a terrorist and anti-feminist. She said, "I see a part of Beyoncé that is in fact, anti-feminist, that is a terrorist ... especially in terms of the impact on young girls."

hooks was, essentially, calling out Beyoncé as a "bad feminist" – a popular feminist pastime during which we arbitrarily determine who is or isn't doing feminism right. The word "terrorist", too, is a strangely popular go-to in feminist discussions that are not so much "discussions" as they are provocations, lobbed indiscriminately.

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