Beyonce: Fair Weather Feminist?


 

 

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Not sure she’d agree she ever really was one, to be honest. There’s definitely something sisterhood about Beyonce’s ballsy ballads that sing for the female right to be. Generally, she promotes the kind of you-had-me-but-lost-me-because-yes-I-am-just-too-effing-hot brand of female empowerment. Often when I’m feeling ferociously feminine I’ll stick Beyowolf on the iPod and have a good ole rush of outraged oestrogen. Along with Destiny’s Child, she created the legend that defined the phrase “independent women” as we know it today, that MTV generation that we are, in Independent Woman Part II. Then there’s Survivor, Green Light, Deja Vu, Beautiful Liar with Shakira, and not to forget, an unforgettable challenge to patriarchal power lines in relationships, Irreplaceable. But is it possible to take to fight the fight in a catsuit and stilettos?

 

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More than any other album, with I Am… Sasha Fierce Beyonce seems to be pursuing this female empowerment line of attack. Even the styling, with big V for vagina hemlies on the catsuits, ferocious eye makeup, punk hair style and leather ‘n’ studs. This is tough, in-your-face feminine, a la Rihanna/GaGa.

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In Single Ladies Beyonce, blushing bride she well may be, is fighting all that pro boyfriend shit, a pretty core move for equality, as in “I need no permission”. Damn rights! But then, “if you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it” has a materialistic feel to it. Thought the rock you rocking, u bought it?? And it’s as if she’s seeking out marriage from a relationship, thus not raising the status of single ladies at all. 

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Diva, that knockout tune that it is, on the surface seems like she’s giving it up for independant women everywhere, defining “diva” as a girl who can hold her own. But there’s something entirely inappropriate about the line “a diva is a female version of hustler”. Beyonce has shot herself in the kooch. By my undestanding, a diva is a strong, fearless and yes, independant woman, not to be defined in relation to men, which makes her dependent, in a way. The line kind of reads diva is a crap version of a hustler. The song has big emphasis, like Independent Woman before it, on financial independence. But when she sings “If you ain’t getting money then you ain’t got nothing for me” I wonder if she’s talking to proverbial male audience of the song, as most pop songs have, or to the other divas out there. Surely the other divas wouldn’t be giving her their money? Or is it symbolic? Whatcha playing at, Bee?

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Maybe it’s that Beyonce is no GaGa. Her image is sex appeal, and sometimes a little too heavily. I think a Diva shouldn;t really give a shit about whether they’re sexy or not. Sexual confidence, fo sho, but if men find her hot, it should be by-product, not main goal. There is something terribly try-hard to it. And indeed, her career has been defined by her relationship to Jay-Z and has all been masterminded by Daddy Knowles, which makes her seem like a sweet little princess who got exactly what she wanted from Santa. But it puts a big bomb under the stuff about financial power to women. At the end of the day, as ballsy as she appear, Beyonce seriously needs to grow some. Or maybe the MTV generation of feminism is wearing the tee shirt but not really believing what it says.

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