OK, I can no longer bite my tongue about this.
So, like seemingly everyone else on the planet, I have stared in wonder at the mesmerizing spectacle of Beyonce’s one-take dance tour-de-force video for her giant new hit, Single Ladies. I’ve laughed and cringed at the Justin Timberlake spoof on SNL, shook my own, much-less-precise ass when it came on the radio, and even caught a snippet of the insanely catchy hook on a promo for Ugly Betty.
It’s a crazy addictive breakup/liberation anthem an I know it’s supposed to make me happy. And it almost does. Until.
If you like it then you should have put a ring on it.
Can we talk about this? Please? This is liberation? This makes me crazy in like seventeen ways. Many (though not all) of which are related to the word it. It? Really Beyonce? It?
OK, let’s break this down. So the argument here is, generously, is you can’t be jealous, because you treated me bad, and now we’re through. So far, so good. We’ve all been there. We can shake our booty to that. But then the argument becomes, if this bothers you, me dancing with another guy, then you should have married me. Scratch that, actually. You should have married it.
And what is it here? Her pussy? Her body? Her sexuality? So, the key to a happy relationship for Ms. Knowles is finding someone who’ll reduce you to your sexual function and then claim ownership of it? Think I’m exaggerating? Later in the song she says Say I’m the one you own/If you don’t, you’ll be alone.
I know, I know, it’s just a song, and Beyonce’s not exactly a feminist icon (though there was a time when it looked like she was heading that way). But it’s one thing for Beyonce — a woman with a huge career and her own fortune, who dated her husband for six years before they married — to say these things, and it’s entirely another when the millions of girls who look up to her, most of whom have no where near her advantages in life, take her example and seek out (or even tolerate) men who want to own them and expect them to be constant sex objects, because this is what liberated romance is supposed to look like.