If Beyonce is a feminist then I’m PollyannaPosted: September 8, 2011
I can’t be a rose in any man’s lapel. ~Margaret Trudeau
You don’t have to be anti-man to be pro-woman. ~Jane Galvin Lewis
All this pitting of sex against sex, of quality against quality; all this claiming of superiority and imputing of inferiority belong to the private-school stage of human existence where there are sides, and it is necessary for one side to beat another side. ~Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own, 1929
Beyonce is fairly well known for being an icon for ‘female empowerment’. Her recent single ‘Run the World (Girls)’ has been touted as a feminist anthem for empowerment and strength, as have many of her songs before it. She often speaks about women having power, making their own money, being independent and sexually expressive. All of that sounds pretty good.
It’s too bad she’s completely full of shit.
There is something about Beyonce’s ‘girl power’ message that is fundamentally flawed and is blaringly apparent when you stop being distracted by her music and her impressively muscular legs**, and start to actually listen to her lyrics, or just the things she says.
** At this point I felt like saying “How? How do you look so good, Beyonce?! Tell me your secret! But then I realised that the ‘secret’ is having a healthy diet and exercising. In which case, keep your damn secrets to yourself, Beyonce! God! You think you’re better than me?!?!?!?!?
Here are two things she has said, which, with their powers combined, make me want to eat off my own face:
“I realized that one of my responsibilities was to inspire women in a deeper way.”
“The more successful I become, the more I need a man.”
Herein lies the contradiction of Beyonce’s own brand of feminism. Although Beyonce says she is all about ‘girl power’, she is actually deeply, deeply dependent upon men. There are two sides to Beyonce: there’s the ‘Independent Woman Beyonce’ and ‘Relationship Beyonce’. Independent Woman Beyonce (IWB) doesn’t need a man and she’s not afraid to say it. She’ll make her own money and she’ll do her own thing and you can get totally screwed if you don’t like it.
‘Relationship Beyonce’ (RB), on the other hand, just wants love and cuddles and is all about pleasing her man.
Neither of these things is offensive on the surface. There’s nothing wrong with being independent and there’s nothing wrong with wanting to please your partner. It’s when you start to dig a little deeper that things get sketchy.
Looking at songs like ‘Run the World (Girls)’, ‘Single Ladies’, ‘Freakum Dress’, ‘Irreplaceable’, ‘Kitty Kat’, ‘Me, Myself and I’ and ‘Best thing I never had’, it starts to become clear that Beyonce’s feminism is one that is based upon an aggressive rejection of men and a subsequent assertion of female independence. You see, whenever Beyonce wants to be a strong woman, she sings about a woman who has been rejected, heart-broken, or in some other way messed around by a man. She is never strong in and of herself. Her women are never just strong women- they are always earning money, or getting self-respect or connecting with themselves in reaction to a negative experience with a man.
The formula is “Oh yeah? You’re going to treat me like that?! Well screw you buddy! I’m going to go be an ‘independent woman’ so I can throw it back in your face! When you see how successful I am you’ll want me again and my victory will be complete!”
There’s something terribly juvenile about Beyonce’s way of thinking. She’s always trying to better ‘herself’ (her persona, character she is singing in etc) in order to exact revenge upon an ex, or just the phantom of ‘bad men’ in general. In fact, what she’s doing is becoming successful in order to win the approval of horrible men who have treated her badly.
But isn’t feminism (actual feminism) about more than that? Like…a lot more than that? (The answer is yes.) Isn’t it about actually being autonomous and not living in tandem to whatever is happening with the men in your life? (Again, yes.)
Is it not incredibly belittling to consistently suggest that women up-end their lives, their careers and so on, just so they can win the admiration of some shitty man and have the joy of metaphorically weeing on his face? (Yes, it is. Ok…why am I answering my own rhetorical questions? Cause I feel like it! Haha- see what I did there? Yes, I do. Ok, I’m stopping now. Really? Yes.)
But for Beyonce it would seem that life is all about what is happening with the men in your life. Whether it’s that you’re in a great relationship, in a bad relationship, getting out of a bad relationship, moving on from a bad relationship or trying to find a better relationship.
So basically Beyonce’s message can be summed up as this: Girl power! Woo! Yeah! Let’s empower one another because women are kind of equal now except sometimes they’re not so we have to treat every achievement like it’s something unusual and instead of celebrating the individual we have to wee our pants and make it about women and how women are doing all this stuff in spite of men therefore always living our lives in opposition to something instead of just as individuals- WOOOO! You go girl!
Not to mention that way too many of Beyonce’s Indepenent Woman songs promote the idea of getting back at one’s shitty boyfriend by cheating on him, flirting with other guys OR moving on really, really quickly to someone else (because nothing says ‘independent woman’ like someone in a successive string of relationships right?).
In ‘Freakum Dress’ Beyonce says that women should make themselves look really sexy to reignite their boyfriends interest AND then go to a club and rub themselves up against another guy, “Sometimes a woman feels like she needs to remind her man why he is in love with her or fancied her in the first place. All women have that freakum dress at the back of their wardrobe and they can just put it on and it will remind them.” Mmmm. That’s lovely. You really know you’re in a stable and loving relationship when you have to walk up to your partner, shove your tits in his face and say ‘THIS IS WHY YOU LOVE ME’. That’s some Deepak Chopra shit right there.
In ‘Irreplaceable’ (where everything is to the left because of Beyonce’s crippling OCD) she kicks out the man she’s been living with and lets him know that his replacement will be ‘here in a minute’. Maybe I’m wrong, but can you really claim to be all noble in a relationship if you have a back up boyfriend that you’re going to call five minutes after breaking it off with a long-term partner?
Sure, the purpose of these songs is presumably to show that Beyonce is someone who won’t take any shit. If you treat her badly, you’re out on your arse and she will move on to find someone who will treat her better.
Except even if you do, you won’t be and she will not.
This brings us to ‘Relationship Beyonce’. And Relationship Beyonce is a submissive little bitch.
Relationship Beyonce pretty much consists of a woman sitting alone in her cold apartment, waiting for her man who is always out and doesn’t care about her. Relationship Beyonce is sad. So what will Relationship Beyonce do?
IWB would rub herself up against some random bloke or earn lots of money. But not RB. RB just sits and waits. And when her man comes home? Well, then she really lays the smack down…either that or she begs him to care for her and if he exhibits some kind of minimal response (I’m pretty sure even farting would do it) she’s off floating on a cloud made of fairies that are made of clouds that are made of fairies that are continually 69ing one another. It’s a beautiful thing.
For example, in the aptly named ‘Broken Hearted Girl’ Beyonce’s boyfriend treats her like shit and she’s been too afraid to say it but now she is saying it, but she doesn’t want to leave him because she doesn’t want to have a broken heart but now everything is fine because she’s said it and her broken heart is flying away with him. Whatever the fuck that means.
In ‘I Care’ Beyonce’s boyfriend doesn’t care about her and is emotionally abusive. But she still cares about him and appeals to him to care a little bit more (only a little bit) so that she doesn’t have to do all the work. But of course, he doesn’t care, so…she stays with him?
In ‘Start Over’ Beyonce has been in another emotionally turbulent relationship. Have they reached the ‘mountain peak’ with nothing else to climb? No. Apparently they’re going to sprout wings and fly away in some fucking love rainbow or some shit.
Now, in case anyone thinks I’m exaggerating about almost all of Beyonce’s songs being all about men, I have actually gone through each of her independent albums, looked at the lyrics and broken them down for you. It was fucking horrible and exhausting but this is what I do for you people. ‘You people’ being my friends and relatives who feel obligated to read my blog, and the poor souls who arrive here accidentally after googling ‘Kim Kardashian tits’.
Oh and while you’re reading this I want you to keep this quote in mind:
“Women are the only oppressed group in our society that lives in intimate association with their opressors.” ~Evelyn Cunningham
The reason I want you to remember that is because I am beginning to think that Beyonce may be suffering from Stockholm Syndrome.
So here we go. Ugh.
1. Déjà vu: Beyonce is so in love with a guy that she keeps feeling like she’s lived the same moment over and over again. So basically she’s Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. Which is fine with me as long as I get to be Andie McDowell.
2. Get Me Bodied: Beyonce likes dancing.
3. Suga Mama: Beyonce is rich and thus in a position of power over a man who she buys stuff for and in return he strip teases for her. She’s reversing gender roles in what I’m sure is meant to be a powerful statement about women earning money but really just reproduces an unseemly relationship dynamic that turns her lover into a whore and her into someone who gets off on degrading other people. Enjoy your shitty handjob in the back of your car, Beyonce.
Lyric sample? Sure.
“It’s so good to the point that I’d
Do anything to keep you home
Baby what you want me to buy
My accountant’s waiting on the phone
Just the thought of making love to you
Dropping everything that’s what I’ll do
Whatever I get you putting it on
Now take it off while I watch you perform
I promise I won’t let no bills get behind
Cause every touch, every kiss and hug
You ‘bes believe it’ll be on time”
4. Upgrade U: Beyonce is rich and is going to ‘upgrade’ her poor boyfriend. She’ll even go along to business meetings with him and look pretty on his arm. Like a handbag. Cause she’s a feminist. At this point I can’t help but feel that Beyonce has purely gained her ‘girl power’ reputation because her music is loud and she yells a lot in it. That’s the only thing that is ‘strong’ about her (again- except for her wonderful legs). Oh and even though she’s an ‘equal partner’ she will take her rightful place behind her man.
“I can do for you what Martin did for the people
Ran by the men but the women keep the tempo
It’s very seldom that you’re blessed to find your equal
Still play my part and let you take the lead role
I’ll follow this could be easy
I’ll be the help whenever you need me
I see you hustle wit my hustle I
Can keep you
Focused on yo focus I can feed you.”
Oh yeah and apparently she’s like Martin Luther King Jr. Amazing.
5. Ring the Alarm: Beyonce knows her boyfriend is a cheating arse-face but she doesn’t want to break up with him because then his new girlfriend will benefit from the spoils of her hard labour that went into making her boyfriend rich.
6. Kitty Kat: Beyonce talks it over with her vagina and they decide that they’re sick of waiting for their boyfriend to come home and have sex with them so they’re leaving. It amuses me to think of Beyonce’s vagina packing a tiny suitcase filled with undies and tampons and the like, and the two of them walking off into the distance together. Now if only they’d do a Thelma and Louise over a cliff.
7. Freakum Dress: Discussed above but here’s a lyric sample.
“I think I’m ready
Been locked up in the house way too long,
It’s time to get it,
Cause once again he’s out doing wrong,
And my girls are so real,
Said it’s been a minute since I had some
He’s been acting up, but he won’t be the only one.”
8. Green Light:Beyonce is breaking up with some d-bag but she’ll find someone else, DON’T YOU WORRY.
9. Irreplaceable: Beyonce is breaking up with some d-bag blah blah blah.
10. Resentment: I have no idea. I can’t be bothered looking this up again to find out. I’m going to guess that Beyonce is breaking up with some d-bag.
1. Crazy in Love: Beyonce is crazy in love and she doesn’t need to dress up when around other people because he’s the only one she wants to impress.
2. Naughty Girl: Tonight Beyonce is going to be your naughty girl. She’s also calling all her girls.
3. Baby Boy: Beyonce has a lot of sexual fantasies about some guy. Sean Paul says ‘dutty’ a lot.
4. Hip Hop Star: Beyonce wants some guy to ‘taste her love’. Big Boi says this: “The girls all pause, got them dripping down they sugar walls.” Ew.
5. Be With You: Guess.
6. Me, Myself and I: some guy is cheating on her and treating her badly, but now she’s going to ‘be her own best friend’. Should be named: He, Himself and Him.
7. Yes: Turns down a bloke for sex, he gets pissy about it so she kicks him out (I can get on board with that).
8. Signs: Beyonce was in love with a Sagittarius who had the characteristic of different astrological signs and…she lists them a lot. This is a totally valid song.
“Capricorn Aquarius Pisces Aries Taurus Gemini Cancer oh!
Leo Virgo Libra Scorpio Sagittarius
I love all y’all
Capricorn Aquarius Pisces Aries Taurus Gemini Cancer oh!
Leo Virgo Libra Scorpio Sagittarius
I love all y’all”
9. Speechless: Beyonce has been waiting at home all day for her man to come home and have sex with her. She says ‘rubbing’ a lot.
10. That’s How You Like It: Beyonce likes thugs and their style and other stuff they do.
11. The Closer I Get To You: In love with some guy. Whatever.
12. Dangerously in Love 2: Sigh. Beyonce is in love. She can’t do ‘this thing called life’ without swimming in the majesty of some dude’s eyes. Or something.
13. Beyonce Interlude: Then THIS FUCKING HAPPENS:
“I believe that harmonies are colors
Every time I paint it sharpens my harmony
Yesterday I tried to paint you
But the colors weren’t beautiful enough
Your love goes beyond what I can say
^ And you know she said this in some stupid mellow ‘sexy’ voice that makes you feel like you’re listening to a sexually suggestive hypnotherapy CD.
14. Gift from Virgo: Wants to be with someone she’s not with. She loves him. One day they will ‘make love’.
15. Daddy: This is a tribute to her Dad. Nice.
1. If I were a boy: Apparently “an expression of sadness about misunderstanding between the genders and an indictment of the male side of relationships”. In beyonce’s mind, if she were a boy she could go drinking beers with the boys. Apparently as a woman she can’t do it. There is the obligatory reference to her hypothetical girlfriend waiting at home for her/him/it/they/wolves/something/dunno/going/insane.
2. Halo: Beyonce’s walls have come tumbling down and now she has her angel.
“Should I wait for you to call?
Is there any hope at all?
Are you drifting by?
When I think about it
I know that I was never there or even cared
The more I think about it
The less that I was able to share with you
I try to reach you, I can almost feel you
You’re nearly here
And then you disappear”
4. Broken-hearted girl: As above- Her boyfriend treats her like shit and she’s been too afraid to say it but now she’s saying it, but she doesn’t want to leave him because she doesn’t want to have a broken heart but now everything is fine because she’s said it and her broken heart is flying away with him.
5. Ave Maria: Beyonce has her man so everything is ok.
6. Satellites: Beyonce and her lover are like satellites for some indiscernible reason.
Sasha Fierce (Pssst- she’s strong because her last name is Fierce, just in case you missed it)
- Single Ladies (put a ring on it): If you liked it then you should have put a ring on it.
- Radio: Beyonce is in love but this time it’s with her radio.
- Diva: Beyonce is a diva.
- Sweet Dreams: Beyonce is in love and it can be like a sweet dream or a nightmare. But every night she rushes to bed to find out which one it will be. Creepy.
- Video Phone: Beyonce likes a guy and wants him to tape her on his video phone. I don’t know either.
‘Dolphin Interlude’: Here’s a quote that really made me laugh about Beyonce’s new album, 4 (below). “The album is definitely an evolution. It’s bolder than the music on my previous albums because I’m bolder. The more mature I become and the more life experiences I have, the more I have to talk about. I really focused on songs being classics, songs that would last, songs that I could sing when I’m 40 and when I’m 60.”
I can’t wait for the songs she’ll sing when she’s 50 and when she’s 70.
Let’s see how Beyonce has evolved. What new subject matter might she cover?
- 1+1 = another song about Beyonce being in love. Except this time her love is so powerful that when she fucks her boyfriend it could stop a war. Sorry, ‘makes love’.
- I Care: Beyonce’s boyfriend doesn’t care about her and is emotionally abusive. But she still cares about him and appeals to him to care a little bit more so that she doesn’t have to do all the work. But of course, he doesn’t care, so…
- I Miss You: Beyonce misses her boyfriend
- Best Thing I Never Had: Beyonce liked a guy but then he “showed his ass” and she saw the real him. In honour of her victory over nothing she has composed an anthem about how glad she is that she never went out with him.
- Party: Beyonce is ready to love.
- Rather Die Young: Beyonce would rather die young than live without her boyfriend.
- Start Over: Beyonce has been in another emotionally turbulent relationship. Have they reached the ‘mountain peak’ with nothing else to climb? No. Apparently they’re going to sprout wings and fly away in some fucking love rainbow or some shit.
- Love On Top: Baby baby, you’re the one Beyonce loves. Even though you’ve been a fucktard for ages, you’ve finally started putting Beyonce’s love ‘on top’ so now everything is dancing, champagne and people melting away into love.
- Countdown: Beyonce is still falling in love with her man. All women should grind it on their boyfriends.
- End of Time: Beyonce will love her man until the world ends.
- I Was Here: THIS is something different. Beyonce is talking about leaving a legacy in the world so that she doesn’t fade away into obscurity after she dies. Nice. Find a better legacy, though.
- Run the World (Girls): Women run the world because they go to college and make money. Beyonce hopes men will still like her despite her being so independent. No, no- seriously: “Boy I’m just playing, come here baby. Hope you still like me”
Wow. She really has evolved.
I’d also like to give an honourable mention to ‘There ain’t nothing out there’, which Beyonce collab’d on with Missy Elliott. It consists of Beyonce refusing to go out with her friends because now that she has a boyfriend there is no point. Also he doesn’t really like her friends and gets insecure when she goes out without him so she’d rather stay home with her ‘prize’.
Deadset, has Beyonce never been on a bus? Has she never done anything except be in a relationship? WRITE ABOUT SOMETHING ELSE. ANYTHING ELSE. This is a woman who has travelled the world, earnt millions of dollars, established herself as a successful business woman, lived in the undoubtedly complex world of celebrity, and THIS is all she has to offer? Song after song about men? AND SHE’S SUPPOSED TO BE A FEMINIST?!
Let’s get this straight.
Beyonce is the kind of woman who would dress in a man’s suit because she thinks that is a powerful message.
Beyonce is the kind of woman who wears a tight crop top t-shirt that shows off her tits and has “My eyes are up here”printed on it and thinks it’s sexy and funny and strong and doesn’t see any of the irony.
Beyonce is the kind of woman who talks about girl power before stripping down to her undies and conveniently being showered by water for absolutely no apparent reason (2:38):
Beyonce is the kind of woman who puts animals on leashes to appear strong because she thinks that in order to be a strong person you have to make something else submissive. Also she hates animals.
I don’t want it to seem like I hate pop music or women being sexy. I really don’t. What I hate is the pretence that Beyonce makes to feminism when really she is a glorified stripper with a 1950’s housewife’s view on gender roles. Case in point:
The only thing that I believe about Beyonce is that she never has a man telling her what to do. Why? Because when you’re continually prostrating yourself as a submissive ‘home-whore’ who will do anything to please her emotionally abusive boyfriend, then you don’t need any direction from misogynists. You’re already their wet dream.
On the other hand, I completely love Christina Aguilera because she’s a dirty slut and she completely owns it. She just says ‘Hey everyone- here is my vagina and it likes dick’, which is something I connect to on a primal level. Much more than I connect to, ‘Hey girls you can DO IT despite stupid men and how they try and break your heart and your spirit! Let’s all band together with the power of our ovaries and succeed because even though we’re women we can totally do it! Yay for girl power even though I’m not anything without my man who I need to ‘keep it tight’ for and treat like a king to my own degradation because of how men like subservient women and stuff! Now go put on that ‘Freakum Dress’!’
Ok, fuck it. I wasn’t going to go into Beyonce’s ‘Destiny’s Child’ phase but I have to quote ‘Cater 2 U’ because it is a prime example of what I’m trying to say.
Before we look at it I want you to consider this. If a guy said to a girl “You are nothing without me. I am amazing and if you don’t treat me right and stay fit, give me your pussy whenever I want it and take my shoes off for me, then I will leave you”, would that be in any way acceptable?
Clearly no. So much no that all the no’s that have ever no’d could not no enough over this song.
Cater 2 U
My Life Would Be Purposeless Without You (Yeah)
Let Me Help You
Take Off Your Shoes
Untie Your Shoestrings
Take Off Your Cufflinks (Yeah)
What You Want To Eat Boo? (Yeah)
Let Me Feed You
Let Me Run Your Bathwater
Whatever You Desire, I’ll Aspire
Sing You A Song
Turn The Game On
I’ll Brush Your Hair
Help Put Your Do Rag On
Want A Foot Rub? (Yeah)
You Want A Manicure?
Baby I’m Yours I Want To Cater To You Boy
I Got YourSlippers, Your Dinner, Your Dessert, And So Much More
^ Fetch those slippers like a good little dog, Beyonce. Ok…good except you drooled on them. Next time I give you permission to carry them in your hands.
I Know Whatever I’m Not Fulfilling (Oh)
Another Woman Is Willing (Oh)
(fear is a healthy part of any relationship)
I’ll Keep It Tight, I’ll Keep My Figure Right
(cause he won’t love you otherwise girls!)
I’ll Keep My Hair Fixed, Keep Rocking The Hottest Outfits
When You Come Home LateTap Me On My Shoulder, I’ll Roll Over
(^ can I emphasise this bit any more? Where she’s rolling over like a dog to be fucked by her master? Do you see this? DO YOU SEE IT?!)
I Want To Give You My Breath, My Strength, My Will To Be Here
DOES ANYONE SEE WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT??????????????????????