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Beyoncé Discusses Conquering Activewear, Feminist Thought in Rare New Interview

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Queen Bey doesn’t do things by halves. Releasing a new line of athleisure wear  – Ivy Park – in partnership with Topshop is just one of her current projects. Beyoncé has also been working on a new music label, a stadium world tour and, you know, ruling the world.

Of the inspiration for her new clothing line, which aims to help “women to work with, not against, their bodies,” the one and only Ms. Knowles said in an interview with ELLE: “I realised that there wasn’t really an athletic brand for women like myself or my dancers or friends. Nothing aspirational for girls like my daughter. I thought of Ivy Park as an idyllic place for women like us.”

According to Beyoncé, the clothes are made to make women feel comfortable and beautiful while they dance, train or work out. “Everything lifts and sucks in your waist and enhances the female form. We mixed in some features found in men’s sportswear that I wished were interpreted into girls’ clothes. We worked on the straps, making them more durable for maximum support. But the foundation for me is the fit and the engineering of technically advanced, breathable fabrics.”

Even the way Beyoncé speaks about her clothing line makes her identification with feminism clear. She has garnered a lot of attention for being upfront about the fact, especially during her 2014 Mrs. Carter tour.

“I’m not really sure people know or understand what a feminist is, but it’s very simple,” she explained. “It’s someone who believes in equal rights for men and women.”

“I don’t understand the negative connotation of the word, or why it should exclude the opposite sex. If you are a man who believes your daughter should have the same opportunities and rights as your son, then you’re a feminist. We need men and women to understand the double standards that still exist in this world, and we need to have a real conversation so we can begin to make changes.”

“Ask anyone, man or woman, ‘Do you want your daughter to have 75 cents when she deserves $1?’ What do you think the answer would be?”

Beyonce said that her humanitarian work with Chime For Change and Global Citizen is also about feminism and many other things besides. “Working to make those inequalities go away is being a feminist, but more importantly, it makes me a humanist. I don’t like or embrace any label. I don’t want calling myself a feminist to make it feel like that’s my one priority, over racism or sexism or anything else.”

Bey destroyed the notion that being a feminist and a ‘feminine’ woman requires compromise. “We all know that’s not true. Choosing to be a feminist has nothing to do with your femininity — or, for that matter, your masculinity. We’re not all just one thing. Everyone who believes in equal rights for men and women doesn’t speak the same, or dress the same, or think the same. If a man can do it, a woman should be able to. It’s that simple.”

Beyoncé also addressed controversy surrounding her Formation video and Super Bowl halftime show performance, reiterating her stance against injustice and police brutality. “I’m an artist and I think the most powerful art is usually misunderstood,” she said. “But anyone who perceives my message as anti-police is completely mistaken. I have so much admiration and respect for officers and the families of the officers who sacrifice themselves to keeps us safe. But let’s be clear: I am against police brutality and injustice. Those are two separate things.”

“If celebrating my roots and culture during Black History Month made anyone uncomfortable, those feelings were there long before a video and long before me,” she added. “I’m proud of what we created and I’m proud to be part of a conversation that is pushing things forward in a positive way.”