Even if you didn’t tune into the GRAMMYs this past Sunday, by this point you have probably seen one of the most talked about moments of the night, Beyonce and Jay-Z opening the show with an erotic and rather epic performance of Mrs. Carter’s recent single “Drunk in Love.”
During the act we saw Queen Bey dancing sensually on a chair and grooving sultrily across the stage. She wore a lightly bondage-inspired lingerie costume, which wasn’t completely revealing, but did show off her physical attributes. We watched the couple hugging and grinding, Jay-Z feeling up his wife, and most importantly, we saw a lot of Beyonce’s awesome ass (but if you watched her visual album, you probably weren’t that shocked).
If you are anything like me, you turned directly to social media and the blogosphere to check out people’s reactions to the performance. There were those who praised the couple. Jezebel wrote, “It was a hot, fun, playful way to start the show, and watching them indulge in some rarely seen public affection was awesome.” Rolling Stone stated, “It was a near flawless performance.”
But the comments outside the professional realm revealed that a portion of viewers felt insulted and betrayed. Let the slut shaming of Beyonce, the “non-feminist,” begin.
Breitbart gave an example of how people voiced their horror. For instance, Katie Stapp tweeted “’Come on people!! Yeah Beyoncé has an amazing voice but that outfit?!?!? Completely no class. Give children something to look up to #absurd.’”
But the children! The horror!
Jay-Z was fully clothed, wearing a suit as Beyonce flaunted her scantily-clad body around the stage. What’s the difference between that and the “Blurred Lines” video?
Have class! Where’s the class? What a classless, attention-seeking whore. She should be ashamed.
I’m sorry, but that’s utter bullshit.
The ending was adorable. Watching Jay-Z and Beyonce snuggle as they walked off stage gave me hope about lasting romance.
So let me defend America’s Royal Family™.
First off, the “Blurred Lines” comparison is utterly ridiculous. That song/video was utterly misogynistic for a host of reasons I won’t completely get into now (thank me for that later), but the short version is that the lyrics were date rapey and there was definite objectification of naked women. They were subjected, not empowered. They were not sharing love, but a carnal desire for sex — you know, the male character’s desire, not that of the female in question. They were being pressured into said sex, because ultimately all women want is the D, amirite? The women in the “Blurred Lines” video weren’t revealing their passion and sexual desire — they were simply pieces of meat.
For the children? Really? We let them be constantly saturated with rather positive images of violence. Is the consensual sharing of an expression of love and natural desire (which, hopefully they will find in their lifetime) really more shocking than images of murder? What do you really want your kids to see and replicate? I’m not for censoring at all, but there is an underlying hypocritical nature to everything these “activists” say and do.
But I digress.
If we really need a reason to be mad, why turn to the fact that she was expressing her mature sexuality? Why does a song and dance revolving around strict monogamy put us off so much, when Katy Perry and Rihanna are doing the same thing without it becoming a blatant controversy? (Not that I am saying that is a bad thing at all — women have the right to be as sexual as they want without being shamed.)
So why are we complaining so much? Why is this our focus? If anything, we should be commenting on the unsavory line “eat the cake, Anna Mae,” which alludes to the abuse that Tina Turner suffered. I mean, if we wanted to censor anything… But that’s a different story altogether.
Beyonce’s recently released self-titled album is one of lust and love between a husband and a wife. Sure, there is ass. Sure, there is blatant sexuality. Hell, it’s even raunchy. But why are we chastising someone for this? Why are we chastising anyone for expressing their sexuality in an unforced way? Why are we crying out that Beyonce lies about being a feminist because we see much of her naked form?
Isn’t revealing that we have natural sexual desires in the same line as men one of the goals of feminism? Isn’t fighting to not be labeled as some whorish meat puppet or a pure, sex-rejecting Madonna what we aim for?
Calling anyone who does work for the betterment of women not a feminist is only hurting the cause.
I know this is a music blog. I realize I’m not writing to a strictly feminist audience. But it is clear that people need to realize that when someone stands up and states that they are a feminist, especially when they do amazing work for the movement, we need to applaud them, not shame them for being sexual.