When it comes to entertainers, Beyoncé is a one woman show. From her vocals, to her choreography, to her costumes, everything Mrs. Carter does is pitch and picture perfect.
The 37-year-old former Destiny’s Child star recently performed at the Global Citizen Festival in Johannesburg, South Africa alongside husband Jay Z. She also performed a duet with special guest Ed Sheeran on his hit ballad “Perfect.”
Although fans were dazzled by their rendition, many felt as though the contrast between the two artist’s styles encapsulated a double-standard for men and women when it comes to clothing.
During her performance, the “Drunk in Love” singer changed outfits six times, opting for colourful ensembles that included a custom Mary Katrantzou that featured a map of all 54 African countries, with embroidery detailing to represent each country’s unique culture. Beyoncé also paid tribute to Africa by wearing a beaded dress by Esteban Cortezar and accessorized her look with traditional Ndebele neck rings. Sheeran, however, wore jeans and a T-shirt with sneakers for his time on stage.
A debate was sparked online after Shon Faye, a U.K.-based writer noted the contrast, writing, “Ed Sheeran is a 27 year old man. The fact that we’ve enabled him to feel it’s ok to dress like this at all, let alone next to Beyoncé really boils my piss. ”
I don’t think wanting someone to put in a tiny bit more effort than ‘picked up whatever was on the floor of a teenage boy’s bedroom’ is expecting people to be ‘fancy’
— Cathy (@catherinebouris) December 4, 2018
“I think that’s sad,” one person weighed in. “Just because society pressures women to dress up, doesn’t mean we should pressure men, too. In my opinion she can dress however she wants. I like their music, I don’t care about their clothes.”
This photo is v v v v representative of what we expect from men and women at the top of their game, isn't it? https://t.co/cfeLw8n1aI
— Daniel (@sillyolddaniel) December 4, 2018
A female user noted the double standard writing, “If Beyoncé made no effort she would be ripped apart. But Ed can do it”
“Why is everyone angry with Ed when you should be thinking about why it is ok to make women feel more pressure to look perfect?” another tweeted.
See, my issue is the reverse? I have no problem with people being comfortable. Why is we've forced women into dressing up? Maybe Bey is totally comfortable, and that's A-OK! BUT you know if she dressed like him, she'd be dragged.
— JeanneSager (@JeanneSager) December 4, 2018
As the debate continues to go on, the Sheeran defenders are treading into dangerous territory by threatening to incite the wrath of the notoriously lethal Bey Hive. Still, the general consensus online seems to be to let the “Thinking Out Loud” singer wear whichever hoodie he wants – so long as it’s clean.
Gender politics or artist’s preference? Let us know your take in the comments below.