Beyoncé. Bey. Queen Bee. Basically the new Jesus - if Jesus wore rhinestone leotards. She is a singer, saviour and feminist icon to everyone. Except perhaps my dad, who when asked said, "Isn't that a brand of shampoo?"

Beyoncé has changed many things. She has changed leotards. She has changed coral lipstick. She has changed weddings. (Now, it is Single Ladies, not the Macerena, that prompts the migratory flow of the female species to the dance floor.) But one of the things she is most recently famous for is popularising the term feminist.

Beyonce performs onstage at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards. Photo / Getty Images
Beyonce performs onstage at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards. Photo / Getty Images

Ever since Beyoncé claimed the title, it suddenly became okay to call yourself a feminist. Before, when you told people you were a feminist, they looked at you like you had a dribbling problem. Now people have seen the signs of change. Literally. Beyoncé danced in front of an enormous flashing neon sign saying FEMINIST. It took a neon sign but they now understand that feminism can be a normal or even glamorous role.

So we can crown her the queen of popular culture feminism.


However, she's getting on. She's 38. Which by Hollywood standards means she's practically knitting, bottling fruit and making innocently inappropriate remarks. Plus, her normalising of the concept has prompted a new wave of celebrities to claim the F word. She is no longer the sole vanguard of the vaginal revolution.

The question now is, who will be our next Great Leotard? Who will be Bey's successor when she throws in the jewelled towel? Will they even wait for that day ... Who knows? But by using the formula behind Beyonce's success (talent + ownership of feminist issues + likeability) then we can evaluate the frontrunners.

1. Amy Schumer: 6/1 odds

She is immensely likeable. She is full of a familiar, confidential charm that wins over both scores of men and women. (Although that is her job. If you're not a likeable comedian, then standing on stage admitting your most humiliating moments isn't a stand up gig, it's an impromptu Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.) She also advocates for feminist issues. If it involves a vagina, she has riffed on it.

My problem would be the question of talent. Yes, she's kind of funny. But after watching her Live at The Apollo show I just couldn't shake a sense of deja vu. Her material was basically her saying how much she liked sex. It was funny but not new. You like c**k? So did Joan Rivers. You're not exactly irreplaceable.

2. Nicki Minaj: 4/1 odds

The red hot Pink Print showed us that she has certainly talent. And anyone who denies that has only listened to Starships. Not only are her lyrics self aware, fresh and funny, they also point out the ridiculous sexism of the industry she's in. ("Yo, I never f***ed Wayne, never f***ed Drake, all my life man, f***sake.") And although she doesn't use the term itself, she pushes strongly in interviews for feminist causes.

She also, as the New York Times discovered, has a talent for shutting down sexist interviewers with blatant disgust. It's impressive in an industry where the media is your Sugar Daddy. Her stumbling block is her likeability. Whereas Beyoncé is no one's guilty pleasure, admitting to liking Nicki Minaj is like admitting that you enjoy clipping your toenails. It's a secretly satisfying endeavour to share with close friends. And her polarising nature, and outfits, means that she will never have Beyoncé's legions of middle class mothers as fans.

3. Lorde: 2/1 odds

My frontrunner. When it comes to talent she's undeniably good - and endearingly awkward about it. She is also an outspoken, self-proclaimed feminist who is not afraid of attacking other artists (burn, Selena Gomez). Yes, her likeability is of the indie, hipster kind. And God knows that we're over that tiringly bourgeois fashion. But take away the roll ups and she still has an undeniably thoughtful and serious air. It's the approach that wins over fans bored of airheads, parents looking for role models and precious petals looking for someone who gets it, man.

Top up that support with those who love her odd, deliciously barbed comment (burn, David Guetta) and you can see how she'd inspire legions. If she goes on with her understated ferocity then she could be our new lorde and master.

Yes, we hate to think about the day Beyoncé must abdicate - to dedicate more time to curing cancer. But when she does, Lorde could end up a Royal after all.