There was a lot of outrage on Twitter last night, even more than usual. Some were up in arms about PETA’s list of animal-friendly idioms designed to avoid 'speciesism' – according to them we should be saying ‘feed two birds with one scone’ instead of ‘kill two birds with one stone’. Chip-lovers were defending their fries habit after a Harvard Professor recommended that people limit themselves to a portion size of just six french fries in order to avoid health problems.
And in the midst of all this vitriol, an image of Beyoncé and Ed Sheeran sparked a debate about unfair gender expectations. The pair performed ‘Perfect’ together at the Global Citizen Festival on Sunday in South Africa.
At risk of overanalysing an image that has already been poured over enough since the performance on Sunday, it is a pretty tidy representation of the expectations we put on women (and I’d say especially women of colour) compared to those we put on men (especially white men.)
‘We have to work twice as hard to get half as far’ is an old adage passed down generations of families of colour, and while opportunities for people of colour are changing, the reality is Beyoncé has always had to go over and above to stand out and be taken seriously in the music industry.
From the days of Destiny’s Child costumes have been important. Not only did their vocals have to be unmatched, but the band had to have choreography, matching outfits and angelic personal lives to match.
READ MORE: A Moment For The Destiny's Child Outfits Designed By Tina Knowles, Please
The Bandeau Crop Scenario
Because it was compulsory for each band member to wear a little bit of the same material on different areas of their body. See Kelly's cardi and everyone else's harem pants.
Potent And Pink
Throwback to the era of the statement chunky belt. Hold tight Kelly for taking one for the team and donning the statement trousers too.
One Fabric, All The Dresses
This gem was taken at the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) Awards back in 2000 and is one of the early examples of Tina Knowles' apparent love of an asymmetric hemline .
Ladies In Leather
The VMA's afterparty called for a group ensemble too, you know. Is it a coincidence that The Matrix was released within a year or so of this outfit's creation? I think not.
Not quite Zebra print, not quite leopard print but hey, here's some more of that asymmetric hem action we were talking about earlier.
Cut Out Queens
For a lesson in how to rock a mid-drift baring cut-out dress, please refer to these impeccably impractical examples.
Committed To The Print
This look was carried right from Michelle's bra down to Beyonce's pointed toes. Dedication, or what?
Deeper Shade Of Blue
No words. Just tassels and cowboy hats.
Earn Your Badge
At the Nickelodeon Kid's Choice awards demonstrating how to encourage more young women to join the Girl Scouts of America. No, those outfits might not be regulation but look how many badges they have!
Probably the leas matchy, matchy of the lot but we appreciate the shoe to dress coordination.
Kira Kira Gold
Golden Greek Goddess vibes with this shiny look. Definite inspiration for the Kira Kira app of today.
Sheer Here And There
Because was a dress worthy of a 2001 red carpet if it wasn't a little see through?
Lemon Denim Blend
Once again Kelly's out here taking one for the team and wearing a token bit of jean across her body to continue the elaborate lemon on denim tend.
Orange You Happy To See Me?
The orange, the blue, the tassles, the kind of leather boots? Name a bigger collaborative sartorial statement. I'll wait.
Off White, And What?
Lets play a game of spot how many patterns and items of embellishment. These girls wear 'extra' so well and we're jealous.
We're Still Fun But Also Mature
Here's where the trio really tried to demonstrate their individual personalities while also pretty much wearing the same thing. Never not here for Kelly's peek-a-boo mid-drift.
All For One
Plenty Of Purple
I know, bit of a shock to the system seeing them looking like they shopped from different racks at the same store. But if you were to lose one of them at a party they'd still be easily identifiable.
Spot The Sequins
A little upper body glitter action to connect three actually quite different outfits? We se what you did there guys.
WE ARE ONE
This was the school talent show dream. The reality was you all wearing dramatically different spangly tops and dresses as stolen from your mums' wardrobes and getting in trouble for trying.
You Do You And I'll Do Me
Some JLS-style colour block assignment here, as seen on the Destiny Fulfilled And Lovin' It tour.
Ed Sheeran, and performers like him, have of course also worked incredibly hard, but it’s telling that he is able to show up to the same gig as Beyoncé in jeans and a t shirt, while Beyoncé wears a custom fuchsia gown by Lebanese brand Ashi Studio.
Another factor to consider is marketing, Beyoncé’s personal brand is based not just on her voice, but her fashion too. She sells the whole lifestyle package, from clothes to music to her very own vegan subscription box. I daresay searches for Beyoncé’s outfit from the concert are slightly higher than searches for Ed Sheeran’s.
Beyoncé and Ed could hardly have imagined that one image would cause such a ruckus, but such is the nature of Twitter, people waking up to gender inequality, and there not being anything good on telly these days.