Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Problem With Beyonce's "Run The World (Girls)"

Beyonce and her army of girls who run the world in lingerie...

As a fan of Diplo and "Pon De Floor", I was curious about Beyonce's new song "Run The World (Girls)".  I mean, she samples Diplo's cut, so I wanted to see if she turned it into fire.  In my opinion, she did not.  Naturally, as with everything Beyonce does, there is always a lot of PR and press so we were treated to pictures of her on what seemed like an elaborate, dystopian world type of set.  It looked intriguing.  I'm not a Beyonce stan, but I've liked some of her work.  I wanted to see if the video would at least be worth it.  It was amusing if anything... If the concept at the core of Beyonce's video is what the world would look like if "girls" ran things, then we've seriously screwed up this whole suffrage/women's liberation deal up.  Hide your daughters...

First, we are treated to a gang of supermodels who are doing their hardest to look hard.  GRRRL Powah!!  This is a music video though, so that's not what is really problematic.  I knew I was in for it when Beyonce slinks over to the men who are dressed in riot gear, and intent on squashing this female insurrection.  She's not stomping over.  She's not walking anything like the female drill sergeants I used to see go toe to toe with the men for the command of our platoon.  She's slinking over like she's trying to figure out which one will want to sleep with her.  Okay, I guess...  I mean, one could argue that she's in control, but in my world of girls "running" the world, she's going to walk over confidently, pick one, and get it going.  He'll either go for it or he won't.  He probably would, however, seeing as how "girls" run the world.

Oh, and if girls run the world, why are men trying to squash their insurrection/rebellion?  If you run the world, why are you trying to assert your dominance?  YOU run it already, amirite?

Another thing I find problematic is the use of images like these when in the real world, women are trying to gain control of their lives from corrupt governments (see Iran, Egypt, Syria, Libya, etc.), and they are facing VERY real riot police who are shooting and killing them (RIP Neda), dancing in lingerie and sexy garb be damned.  Some women face the threat of rape or kidnapping for their freedom, and no amount of gyration will give them their God-given rights back from corrupt regimes.  They are fighting next to the men, putting their lives at risk to ensure their voices are heard.  Women around the world are still fighting various battles on the field for equality.  We are simply NOT there yet, especially minority women. 

At the time Beyonce was singing that "girls run the world," 48 women were being raped per hour in the Congo, and their calls for justice were being ignored.  Black women are dying at an alarming rate due to maternal death.  If you think this is going on in some poor country in Africa or Latin America alone, you would be sorely mistaken.  That's happening on American soil at this very moment. 

Beyonce is not known for being the most progressive or intellectual person.  It is totally plausible that she went along with or dreamt up this video, song, and their puerile concepts without knowing what was going on around her.  It's just not acceptable. 

The media has incredible power to influence the masses, and far too many women seem to forget or believe that the crux of our fight for equality is the ability to be intimate with whoever we want and not be called "slut."  That's not all though.  It goes deeper than that.  Saying that this video is empowering because she *gasp* has the "balls" to dance in the dirt with her friends in garters and thigh highs is juvenile. 

They dance to appease the male gaze.  If girls run the world, why are you dancing for the men, and not the other way around?  Mind, I don't want male subservience either.  But no one thought about an alternate universe, where powerful women are at the head of boardrooms?  No one thought to dress her up as the POTUS with an all-female staff; all-female military commanders? 

I can't really say I am disappointed in Beyonce.  I don't believe in her or anyone in her industry that much.  I feel that if you say girls run the world, or will run the world, actually give a shit and show it.  Don't pass off another wet dream as female empowerment.  Everything about the video was the opposite of what she was singing about.  I'm not down with that third wave feminist manifesto that is basically patriarchy retooled and stuffed into a box with black lace and hot pink satin with the words "You've come a long way, baby" on a card.

Just call it "Men Still Run This Bitch Despite Our Best Efforts At Looking Sexy In Our Underwear" and be done with it.  At least, she'd get points for being honest...


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