Beyonce makes her mark in “Time”

Each year, Time Magazine releases their “100 Most Influential” issue, a list comprised of the world’s most significant men and women. This year’s list included entertainers, inventors, CEOs and activists, among others, chosen by Time editors and online polls. When issues hit the stand April 23, it was entertainer and businesswoman Beyoncé Knowles Carter on the cover.

‘Influential’ is a very broad term, so it is no surprise that with each “Most Influential” list Time releases, debate arises over who is on the cover and deemed most influential on a global scale.

An aspiring engineer may consider Tony Fadell, who redesigned the thermostat to conserve energy the most influential, while a little boy or girl learning to play tennis may think Serena Williams is the biggest superstar there is.

“Being a scholar, I’d rather be influenced by a fantastic inventor or brilliant scientist, but those people don’t get into the limelight. Part of the battle is just being heard,” said Seth Wagerman, a professor at California Lutheran University with a doctorate in psychology.

Those who do not agree with Time’s opinion of Beyoncé have numerous guesses as to how she made it on the cover: she’s marketable, she’ll sell issues and she’s in people’s faces, so readers are guaranteed to know who she is.

“She’s married to someone influential, she sells a ton of records, she’s got endorsements with Pepsi, makeup endorsements and in that regard, she’s very influential because she’s seen in a lot of venues and she’s got legions of fans,” said Robert Wonser, an adjunct sociology professor at CLU.

Yes, Beyoncé is extremely marketable and famous across the globe but, her “Most Influential” title cannot be reduced to simply that. She has exceeded her role in pop culture and has used her fame to broadcast an empowering message that is incredibly important for women today.

In the past year, Beyoncé has grabbed the world’s attention more than once. She sold out the Mrs. Carter Show World Tour while being a full-time mother and in December, she shattered music-industry rules by releasing a self-titled album complete with videos and announcing it through social media.

“***Flawless,” one of the songs on her newest album, features novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi in which she says, “Why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same? We raise girls to see each other as competitors…for the attention of men. We teach girls they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are.”

Beyoncé is, first and foremost, a pop singer, and even if the masses only follow the music she releases, she ensures that her stance on independence, confidence and equality is heard.

“After just seeing her documentary on HBO, she’s such an inspiration for females and males who are trying to break into the music world because not only is she a musician, but she’s a businesswoman and now a mother, so she does it all,” said senior and communication major Abigail Sturgeon.

Not only does she prove by example that it is possible for women do it all, but she also joined the Banbossy.com project, a social media driven campaign aimed to remove the stigma that high-profile women are considered bossy and to encourage girls to be leaders.

“I think if you’re giving a message that nobody wants to hear you’re not going to be influential, but because she represents a group of people today who want to see more diversity and hear messages of empowerment, she’s giving that message and that’s why she’s influential,” Wagerman said.

Although Time magazine naming Beyoncé most influential was justified and well-supported, their lack of recognition for transgender icon Laverne Cox and Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o was unnerving.

Both placed in the top 10 of the public polls with Cox receiving almost 92 percent of the vote in favor of her being on the list, according to the magazine’s website.

Although Time was right to include Beyoncé on the “Most Influential” list, their are additional women in the world who should receive equal acknowledgement for the roles in their community.

 

Monica Linares
Staff Writer
Published May 7, 2014