Talking back to Beyoncé

// 16 June 2011

telephone.jpgWhen I first saw Beyoncé’s Run the World video, I groaned within seconds, and actually couldn’t make it to the end I was so annoyed and bored. (I’ve since watched it all the way through just to be sure I wasn’t missing something important.)

My issue was not just that it was absurd – I’m not a regular horse rider, but those heels seem a bit impractical, no? – but the lions and chained dogs (hyenas?), coupled with the costuming, seemed to me to riff heavily on an ‘African princess’ motif that could have been powerful, but ended up being silly when it got to the part where Beyoncé crawls around on the ground arching her back and throwing her hair around. In a song about how girls run the world.

I did like the dance moves though. And I do understand how fun it can be to dress up in multiple, slightly outrageous, costumes.

Then my colleague Helen pointed me to this awesome video by NineteenPercent – calling out Beyoncé as a liar for the central claim in her song. That girls run the world. And that is why I love the internet sometimes.

H/T to Helen from Bollocks to Poverty, who blogged about the vids, too, here.

Photo of a an old-style telephone by zigazou76, shared under a Creative Commons license

Comments From You

saira // Posted 16 June 2011 at 12:15 pm

This was in the Observer on Sunday. Just an interesting take for your perusal!

Tracey // Posted 16 June 2011 at 10:40 pm

I just love this and have to agree this is why I love the internet sometimes too. It is really sad that we are still in this place but this post has made my day.

Christian // Posted 17 June 2011 at 12:33 pm

I agree with most of the points made in the ninteenpercent video, however I am insulted that people really think that young women are stupid and impressionable enough to believe that women do run the world, just because Beyoncé says so. The song is catchy and fun and it seems unfair to hold Beyoncé up as failing, or lying to, women, when she is trying her best to succeed in a world dominated by men – the same as the rest of us.

Ray Filar // Posted 18 June 2011 at 12:22 am

Best video I’ve ever seen

Rose // Posted 19 June 2011 at 2:38 pm

I meet alot of people who think that feminism has done it’s job, and that a woman who wants more than they have now is just greedy, and asking for favours.

I meet plenty of men that think that women have it better than them – and want to reclaim land taken by the feminists.

I felt horribly betrayed and lied to growing up with two brothers – hearing how we were treated as equals, while plainly seeing that we weren’t. I took strength from songs about the pain of it, and the dreams of possible changes. Expressions of truth and reality. (inc. Skunk Anansie)

A song about a fantasy matriarchy might feel good for awhile, but then reality will come punch you in the face.

Point is – if we tell young people that everybody had an equal chance, we’re telling them that given freedom to try, women fails to reach powerful positions in society. Growing up I felt society was trying to convince me that my nature was lesser to that of my brothers, (indeed, it was saying that), and that I shouldn’t even try. As a teenager I would have felt that that song was mocking my struggle, and lulling my peer group into indifference.

I would much rather a song with a to-do list, then denial.

nick // Posted 23 June 2011 at 9:05 am

I may get this wrong , but surely femininsts dont want girls to run the world.

Isn’t feminism based on equality, so that must mean men and women equally running the world, not just girls/women ? I’ve not seen the video, and probably wont either.

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