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.