Queen Bey and the Grammy’s

Sunday night was the Grammy’s, as you probably know. In my opinion, a Facebook friend put it best when she said, “Who invited all of these people to Beyonce’s award show?” Beyonce and Jay-Z obviously stole the show with their dramatic performance of “Drunk in Love.”

As I watched Beyonce look super hot on stage in her un-clothes, I couldn’t help but think a bit about Beyonce and what an interesting case study she makes in the area of female empowerment. Beyonce has said multiple times that she is all for making women feel empowered and beautiful about themselves, and this is clear through her music, especially her new song “Flawless.” Yet her clothing choices and racy music videos could suggest that she has submitted herself to the sexualization of women that has become so prevalent today. So what should we make of this?

First, let’s be honest here: if I had Beyonce’s body, I probably wouldn’t ever wear clothes, so props to her for even covering it up at all. But all sass aside, I think she poses an interesting challenge to many people’s traditional notions of female empowerment.

The issue of women’s modesty has been long contested, it seems. Most people fall into two camps. One believes that modesty is empowering because it allows a woman to own her body and share it with whom she wishes instead of being pressured to share it with anyone and everyone. This group then believes that immodesty is degrading to the woman, that it limits her, makes her lesser.

The other group views the option to wear less modest clothing as empowering, as a step toward shaking off the chains of sexual oppression. This group views immodesty (with no negative undertone) as a symbol of equality, that women may wear what they’d like and expose what they’d like in the same way that men can without the stigma of being “promiscuous” or “inappropriate.”

Coming back to Beyonce, I personally find her interesting because she has managed to be both powerful and sexual. She is generally well-respected in the music world as an entertainer and singer, while still dressing more provocatively than most of us would in our own houses (and looking about a hundred times better doing it).

I find it to be a “tree in the woods” sort of question. If you’re a sexual object of sorts (she has to be, as she’s like wearing no clothes), but you know you are, are you really? That is, if you have embraced your sexuality without letting it define you, you’ve controlled it instead of letting it control you, are you allowing yourself to be sexualized or are you just expressing yourself as a female?

It’s an interesting issue, and I’d love to hear your opinions. Meanwhile, I’ll be singing “Drunk in Love” at top volume….and trying to be cuter than this kid.

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3 thoughts on “Queen Bey and the Grammy’s

  1. Firstly, no one will ever be cuter than that kid. Holy Hannah!

    Secondly, you can count me in a third camp. I believe that being a victim of sexualization happens when someone is either forced into any kind of behavior/dress/undress/etcetera either against their will or because they feel they won’t be accepted by their peers or community if they don’t conform. I believe this is a two way street. I think it’s just as easy to get into the “my family won’t love me if I don’t be the perfect modest virgin” snare as it is to fall into the “I have to dress and act slutty because that’s what popular culture wants” trap. I think the most important issue is that it comes down to choice. What choices are you as an INDIVIDUAL feel comfortable and empowered with? What makes you feel like a strong, wonderful, in control person?

    Of course, I am a child born in the age of Madonna. My childhood was filled with images of self expression, and flipping the bird at conformity. By the way, I LOVE Madonna. She is the goddess of self reinvention. Edgy post teen, slutty sex superstar, new age hippie yoga guru, gentle Mother symbol. Last I checked she was on some techno club kick. I’m not saying that all of these or any of these are what a person should be, I’m saying that they were the choices that she made. She made them brashly and unapologetically and that was what I grew up with. I went through lots of stages, some that you wouldn’t ever recognize me in. No matter what I was tho, I was me and I was making my own choices. I also respected those who made choices different than mine. I think that was a wonderful way to grow up.

    Unfortunately I think there were plenty if people who didn’t get that point. They got the whole “I have to be sexy to be accepted” vibe and ran off the reservation with it. Ultimately they’re the ones who end up feeling like victims. Because they didn’t CHOOSE their power, they didn’t choose themselves.

    There are two cans of worms here that I’m blatantly choosing to ignore for this particular mini-rant. The first being that I think men are just as sexualized and judged as women. Except they don’t generally have groups and people clamouring for their choices because they’re generally seen as the ones who are sexualizing us. I know plenty of men who run themselves through the ringer emotionally and physically because they feel like they need to conform to standards of beauty and society. The second can is of the men and women being forced into any sexualizing situation. I’m talking sex trade, extreme religious cultures, and those Frikken toddlers and tiaras freaks.

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    • Monica, thanks for commenting! I appreciate you reading 🙂 I definitely see how there is a third camp, so to speak; thanks for bringing that to my attention. You’re totally right. I like your perspective of “you do you,” as long as you’re feeling empowered, that’s all that matters. I think that’s exactly where Beyonce falls, now that you mention it. I love your thoughts!

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      • Thanks Hun! I just think it’s important to be who you and comfortable with it. It’s imperative to have good roll models, supportive families, and wisely chosen friends! Love ya!

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