May 26, 2011 @ 9:38 am | By TheFeministGriote | 5 Comments
Since the release of Beyonce’s video “Run the World” which has been better received by the masses than the actual song itself there has been lots of talk, blog posts, and twitter debates heralding Beyonce as the new face of contemporary feminism. I don’t hate the song, “Run the World” I find the lyrics a little too simplistic and almost nonsensical for a 29 year old married woman to be singing, but I must say I love the overall message of the song, but I am not a girl I am a woman. A full grown woman. Beyonce, also isn’t a girl. Her song hearkens back to the days of the Spice Girls who ran around singing and promoting “girl power.”
There is no doubt that Beyonce makes music that makes us women feel good about ourselves. Beyonce encouraged us to upgrade our men, she gave us the strength to tell our deadbeat cheating men to move ” to the left,” and more importantly Beyonce gave us the perfect retort for a salty ex whose trying to cock block future relations and relationships, “if you liked it you should’ve put a ring on it.” Beyonce is part of the soundtrack of our lives, but I would not be so quick to dub her the new face of feminism.
Beyonce has found a way to market her sexy without not coming off trashy. Beyonce is hyper-sexual and knows her best assets and she plays them up for consumer consumption. While Rhianna is experimenting with S&M, Ciara is marketing her magic city stripper tricks, and Lady Gaga’s love of all things gay may alienate some people, Beyonce in this sea of pop culture fodder becomes the safe choice that men and women can agree upon. The whole mantra of girls running the world sounds great, but the reality is that women’s reproductive rights is still under attack, the self proclaimed greatest country in the world has never had an elected woman leader, there is still a pay gap between men and woman, and patriarchy is still alive and well. Based on these simple examples it appears that the world is still being ruled by the boys.
Beyonce is without a doubt the reigning queen of pop music. She exudes sex. In order to fully embrace her sexiness Beyonce created her alter-ego Sasha Fierce a vamped up sexier version of the wall-flower that she is (sarcasm). Beyonce’s signature power move is her thrusting her vagina in our faces constantly while she dons a leotard. Beyonce harnesses her power from her sex appeal. Sex in and of itself is not power. Sexual liberation is a very specific and limited form of power. Gyrating my pelvis at my own free will doesn’t make me a feminist. It simply makes me a woman who is in tune and not ashamed of her woman parts. I am not suggesting that there is a litmus test that needs to be taken before one can wear the feminist badge, but what I am saying is that being sexy, selling sex, and pandering to male constructs of what is sexy is not a feminist power play.
With the rise of raunch culture women are mimicking male chauvinist behavior appropriating them and calling themselves liberated. Being a female chauvinist pig seems to be a requirement in this raunch culture. Like Audre Lorde said, “the masters tools will not dismantle the masters house.” The mere fact that our society requires that female artists objectify themselves in such a degree in order to reach a certain pinnacle of success is proof positive that girls and women are not winning. I don’t know Beyonce’s stance on critical feminist issues, gay issues, or any issues for that matter. Just because she sings these bubble gum pop songs that make women feel better doesn’t mean she is a champion for the feminist cause. Feminism is a political ideaology not a social club. Just because a woman acts like she is free and looks free doesn’t mean said woman is truly free!
Feminism needs more young women identifying with it to move it forward, but we as feminist can’t be so thirsty for mainstream acceptance that we would be willing to be led by a woman whose independent thoughts on what matters and concerns women we are clueless about. I respect Beyonce’s music and I love her work ethic and drive, but feminism is a way of life not a trending topic or pop culture accessory. As a foot soldier of the movement I take my membership seriously and so should you.
Speak your piece…
Categories: The Temple of My Familiar