What Beyoncé Teaches Us About Femininity

Let me start off by saying, I’m not a Beyoncé fan.  I’m not a Beyoncé “hater.”  I’m just critical of the way she portrays notions of womanhood.  I congratulate her for marriage before pregnancy.  That’s a great milestone in maturing as a woman.  Femininity is socially constructed and is defined as attributes, behaviors, and roles, generally associated with girls and women.  From Soldier to Single Ladies; from Run the World to If I Were A Boy, Beyoncé complicates this.

Women look at Beyoncé and take her words as gospel but negate her contradictory lyrics.  Let’s start with Run the World.  This song is like My President is Black coming out in 1960.  Girls don’t run the world.  They never had.  Beyoncé is confusing women, giving them a false sense of accomplishment and making them content with this contemporary era.  This song is counterproductive to the age-long struggle of gender equality.   HEALTH: Roughly 25 percent of men will die within a year of their first heart attack, but among women, 38 percent will die. EMPLOYMENT: Women are paid, on average, 22% less than men. Who really runs the world?  The struggle continues and it’s not time for a celebratory song.

Beyoncé exploits sexuality that is “expected” of women in our society.  The “b*tch-queen” binary is rampant in her music (as well as others).  Either (Black) women are bitches or queens.  Sometimes, they can be both simultaneously.  The gender politics of these traditions have historically privileged masculinity political genders, often under the false proposition of romanticizing and purifying our Black counterparts.  Female objectification isn’t anything new.  It didn’t start and it won’t end with Beyoncé.  The Black female is complex.  They are more than either this or that.

If I Were A Boy.  She complicates notions of gender roles even more with this song and video by downplaying masculinity which can be translated a number of ways.  She narrows the influence and power of a woman.  In other words, a woman can’t have the upper hand in a relationship unless she acts like a man.  Masculinity and femininity are both flipped, questioned, and explored and to some can be confusing and misinterpreted.  Additionally, she homoeroticizes masculinity by playing the role of a man but has make-up, tight clothes, and looks rather gorgeous.  Sigmund Freud once said, “men are strong so long as they represent a strong idea they become powerless when they oppose it.”  So, playing the role of a man is counterproductive to equalizing gender roles.

Soldier.  I won’t get into this one.

I know Beyoncé “stans” are going to disagree completely with this post.  Luckily for you, I’ll never EVER write about Beyoncé again!  Just know that you don’t run the world, you’re not a boy, and stop complicating feminism.

—Just my thoughts



Filed under Opinion

5 responses to “What Beyoncé Teaches Us About Femininity

  1. Michelle Huxtable

    I got you on Soldier, “A rude boy that’s good to me with street credibility.” Oh.

  2. Jane Doe

    I think that is just music Beyonce is just an artist in the words of Rihanna “she’s a rockstar not a role model”. The music is meant to make you dance and sing not for u to eternilize every damn word get a life or a better Job please!!!

    • Theresa

      I agree wholeheartedly with you Jane Doe and it was exactly my thought when I read this blog…that Beyonce has not put the social conscience spin on her music other than to attempt to empower women. It’s just music and not to be taken as a seriously as the author of this blog has taken it. If that were the case, let us take all artists and dissect his/her songs/lyrics/message in the music. I daresay we’d be left with nothing atall to listen to. Overall I am a fan of Beyonce because I respect her hustle if you will…her music is something I dance to and something that makes me smile. I never dissected any of her music as offensive. She is just a talented sister doing her thing and the author of this post had better get with the times and not use a platform like to to downgrade a woman who has changed music for the better in some sense!

  3. Jane Doe et al,

    It’s never just music. At some point, these entertainers have to take hold of their social responsibility. There is nothing wrong with her uplifting a feminist agenda but her lyrics are counterproductive to her cause. This is why you have movements like the “slut walk”. You have to find a better way to vocalize your will to reach gender equality without sexual exploitation.

    —Just my thoughts (not gospel)

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