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Girl in a jacket

Beyoncé’s and Ed Sheeran’s concert outfits have ignited a debate on gender expectations

On Sunday, December 2, 2018, two of the biggest artists in the industry, Beyonce and Ed Sheeran, shared the stage for a duet performance at the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 concert in Johannesburg, South Africa. The duo performed “Perfect” from Sheeran’s album, “Divide,” as a tribute to the late president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela.

However, the audience seemed to be more interested in the two’s concert outfits rather than their “combined vocal prowess.”

Image credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Queen Bey, known for being so extra in her wardrobe, performed in a flamboyant pink gown. While Ed Sheeran, a self-proclaimed “Sneaker Head,” appeared on stage wearing jeans, sneakers, and a black shirt.

Although it’s pretty obvious that the two performers have their own style and image, this was not enough reason not to spark a social media debate about the ridiculous double standards between men and women.

The online discussion started when comedian and writer Shon Faye wrote on Twitter about the stark contrast in their outfits.


As the tweet gained traction, fans of both artists jumped in the conversation.

Another Twitter user named Daniel, who seems to be agreeing with Faye’s sentiments, mentioned that the photo is “representative of what we expect from men and women at the top of their game.”


Twitter user @garlicmeg, added that this is how gender standards work, “men can stand more on their hard work and talent alone while women often have to 10/10 everything.”


However, not everyone agreed with the gender-based double standards. Some argued that their concert outfits are part of their respective images.

And others pointed out that there are female artists who would rather be underdressed. It’s just that Beyonce is the “Queen Bey” and being extra all the time is how she markets herself.


The pair’s contrasting outfits—whether they represent modern sexism or not—only tells us that we still have a long way to go when it comes to fighting double standards between men and women. 


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