There’s something about Beyoncé that makes people, and especially women, go apeshit.
And I’m not going to lie, I jumped on the bandwagon pretty heavily this year. I am all for Queen Bey. The woman earned it, owns it, and by doing that as a woman of colour, provides higher ground for everyone to stand on. As Miss Representation said, “you can’t be what you can’t see,” and Bey is showing herself. Sure, with thongs and lingerie, but as a career-woman, as a wife, as a mother, and most importantly to me, as a successful woman who is sexual and strong and unforgivably herself.
Her surprise album is, unquestionably, one of the year’s best surprises. With the recent media circus around Rob Ford and “white Santa“, tweeters have looped it all in by saying, “Santa is black. And Santa is Beyoncé” because the gift she gave of this visual album that exhibits her creativity and creative process so openly, is a big, big gift.
Like all great gifts, within the whole, there are smaller attributes of the whole, doled out like spoons full of ice cream. The videos are stunning, to be sure. They’re controversial and smart. But “Flawless” as a woman’s anthem, as a way to discard one-sided white women’s feminism, as a way to discard rumours about her not being a feminist at all, as a way to ignore all the naysayers saying she can’t possibly be in control of her own body and career and life, is a stunning accomplishment.
Sure, there are people who say, “she’s just a pop-star”. And she is a star – that much is true. And she may not be the loudest or most academic feminist voice out there, but I don’t necessarily need her to be in order for her to be effective in the cause for equality. She does not have to be all things. She can be whatever she chooses, and multiple things at the same time. She can be none of them. It’s totally up to her, and she doesn’t have to espouse the ideal of feminism in every skin cell in order to be incredibly influential and valuable.
She is valuable through her being herself. As are all women. We are not valuable just as baby makers and house cleaners. We are valuable as creative thinkers and leaders and engineers. We are valuable as friends and lovers and business people. We are valuable for more than our tits and ass, we are valuable for more than our genitals and our faces and our bodies. We are whole, and since I don’t subscribe (at least completely, another discussion for another day) to the Christian “We are all sinners”, I see the strength of that song and it makes me feel more whole, and it makes me want to try harder to be whole.
People contain multitudes, which include issues and a lack of desired traits and an inability to voice essential truths clearly, and an inability to be everything to everyone. Yes, I want to be the best version of myself, and that means that sometimes, I want to dress sexy as hell, and sometimes, I just want to feel sexy in a jogging suit. Usually, I’m pretty modest. Not with the things I say but the way I dress is pretty modest, and a lot of that comes from the middle-school self-esteem issues I gathered like tissues during a cold. I hated my thunder thighs, I hated that my belly rolled over when I sat down, I hated my acne. But I am a fantastic writer. And I am a fantastic dancer. And I am a fantastic kisser and cook and confidante, and neither my body nor my feminism solely define who I am nor my worth as a person.
It is okay to see yourself as flawless, especially when you’re at a disadvantage, because it helps you fight for what you deserve.
Which is respect, and whatever else it is that you want for yourself.
Fight for fair representation, and fight for a raise, and fight to wear whatever the hell you want to a board meeting without worrying about whether people will consider you less serious just because you look more feminine. Fight to sing about important issues, have them constructed and de-constructed in media debates, and impress upon people the idea that one of the biggest “pop stars” can be a feminist, however people decide to take that, and spell out your definition of it for them. Fight for the right to make people aware of your wholeness.
Flawlessness is not an idea of narcissism, here. Waking up flawless is not a statement meant to disregard humanity’s issues, but it is instead a statement that says, wake up and feel worthy of everything you work hard for and get. Feel worthy.
Valuable articles and links and things to think about
- Can We Stop Fighting Over Beyonce’s Feminism Now?
- Beyoncé: The Grown Woman Album
- “Flawless”: Beyonce, Marriage, and Feminism (girlpower1.wordpress.com)
- This is Feminist – Oh, But Not That or That or That (jaggedfoundation.wordpress.com)
- The Beyoncé Wars: Why the Endless Debates Over Her Feminism? (alternet.org)
- The Problem with BeyHive Bottom Bitch Feminism