hey beyonce..

Posted on July 27, 2011


Who run the world? Men, actually. — Feministe. so i’ve had an ISH with this lady for a while, and i’m so glad to be able to read articles that can articulate my feelings because i’m too lazy to do it myself … mostly kidding… mostly… but seriously, what’s the deal?

But for all her business sense, for all her cross-market branding, for all her grab-your-sexuality-and-own-it bravado — I don’t think she’s ever represented anything particularly new. On the contrary: At her most interesting, Beyonce is the best of all that has gone before her and/or current pop culture, and her lyrics are either run-of-the-mill ordinary — or down right reactionary.

Take for instance “Single Ladies” — now there’s a song with a hook that can go for miles and miles. And fun to dance to? You betcha. But what’s it about? It’s about how if a man likes you — or, indeed, your body? He should damn well marry you:


Seriously? Beyonce, what you’re saying here is: “You shouldn’t have tried to keep the cow for free once you’d had the milk.” I kind of thought we’d gotten past that.

but of course my biggest ish has been with this whole girls run the world nonsense…

But the song that really got me thinking about Beyonce’s essentially reactionary nature as an artist was “Run the World (Girls),” a song which purports to be about girl power, but is in fact absolutely nothing but a rehash of centuries of “the power behind the throne” thinking.

The music is martial, pounding, a mix of styles that includes accents from all around the world, the official video a kind of a Mad-Max-meets-Victoria’s-Secret aesthetic — and bottom line, before you even get past the title, a nearly-30 year old adult is referring to the world’s women as “girls.”


First of all, as any businesswoman who has made her fortune in the entertainment business knows: Women (or, if you insist, “girls”) most certainly do not run the world. To the extent that a woman’s “persuasion can build a nation,” and/or that “endless power, with our love we can devour/ You’ll do anything for me” — you’re not talking about running things. You’re talking about slotting yourself expressly into a male-dominated structure and at the very most, subverting it by using that structure for your own purposes.

That’s not running things. That’s making the best of a bad lot. That’s being — if you happen to be one of the few women anywhere near the throne — the power behind the throne, and singing the praises of being stuck back there.

so obviously pop culture has not been progressivisms friend in a very long time.. so why take ish with B? they’re all bad, right?

Beyonce is a pop culture phenomenon who plays a central role in setting the tone for the America in which my boy and girl are growing up. When people of that stature not only sing what amounts to pablum, but are also selling the twin soul-crushers of “the price of a woman’s body is a wedding ring” and “the power of my coochie runs the world,” I feel a rather powerful need to point it out for what it is: bullshit. And dangerous, damaging bullshit at that.

when an individual holds this much power, and claims to be a voice for a certain selections of marginalized peoples, i don’t think it should be ignored.  i hate the phrase “silence is consent” because of how it’s been used against victims of sexual assault, but when it comes to not calling out the bullshit we have to wade through day in and day out, i do believe it’s true.  if i don’t very explicitly explain myself and use my voice to say “hey beyonce you’re a liar” a la 19percent, who knows? just like we expect men to call out other men for sexist and misogynistic attitudes, we need to call out faux feminist messages, because they are damaging.

i think beyonce is brilliant.  to the point where i wonder if her song about how girls (pre pubescent small lady children, apparently) run the world is based off of her own actual beliefs or if she was smart enough to know, given our socio economic climate, that women would eat that shit up. i wonder.