There's no denying Beyoncé Knowles' megawatt star power. She is intelligent, wildly successful, and has held global fascination for years.
When she's not releasing secret albums and touring the world charming fans, the artist uses her influence to challenge the status quo - championing gender equality, and calling for us to reconsider the way we talk about, and view, women.
Heck, she only has to take a holiday and Instagram a picture to make headlines.
For all these reasons, and more, TIME magazine is right to include Beyoncé in this year's 100 Most Influential People in the World.
She's up there with the likes of Barack Obama, Malala Yousafzai, activists, athletes, and the Pope. It's where she belongs.
The short profile written on the star, by Beyoncé's friend, and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, begins thus: "Beyoncé doesn't just sit at the table. She builds a better one. Today she sits at the head of the boardroom table at Parkwood Entertainment."
So, it begs the question - why did TIME choose to put Beyoncé in her underwear on the magazine's cover?
None of the other cover stars received the same treatment, in fact, neither did her husband, Jay Z, when he covered the magazine last year.
Perhaps this isn't a big deal for the songstress. Her self-made professional image exudes sexuality.
Therefore, as The Gloss's Samantha Escobar observes, if the star chose her own outfit then she is entitled to wear whatever she dang well pleases.
Yet, there's a niggling feeling that perhaps this was one instance when one of the world's most powerful women didn't need to lean on her sexuality.
It's concerning that, despite her talent and success, Beyoncé's appeal continues to hinge so much on her physicality.
"Powerful women have long been sexualised in order for society to maintain a certain level of distance between females and the obtainment of power; we would laugh had any man been put on the cover making this same pose with the same wardrobe type because we as viewers would not be able to take it entirely seriously... To me, choosing to put a wide shot of Beyoncé in her underwear says, 'Yes, she's incredibly influential, but look how hot she is!'"
Of course, Beyonce's brand of 'sexy' is her shtick, but, just as TIME's depiction of Hillary Clinton's trademark pant suit and heels irked readers back in January, this latest cover highlights the inequality in the media's coverage of high-profile women compared to their male counterparts.
That's not to say we particularly want to see a man on the cover of TIME in his boxer shorts, but when we do we'll know we are inching closer to gender equality.
- Daily Life