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Beyonce Wants Us to Bow Down

March 17, 2013


As many of you have heard, Beyonce recently announced a world tour that came with the above image of her wearing some serious royal regalia. But people, especially some feminists who were pretty excited by her “Run the World” type music, were confused by the title of the tour: The Mrs. Carter Show.

Of course the name is a nod to her being the wife of Jay-Z, or Shawn Carter. While others were wondering why she would put herself “down” by acknowledging her marriage I thought it may have been a way to tell the world that she’s a grown woman. Perhaps she’s letting us know that marriage has affected her by making her feel like she’s the queen of a castle. I’m one of the last people in this world to tell you that marriage means anyone is more adult or grown or mature. But if marriage, or any relationship for that matter, is done right it should change you as a person because you have to work so hard to keep it going (see: Ben Affleck’s Oscar acceptance speech).

But that’s beside the actual point of this post. Beyonce has now released a snippet of a new single called “Bow Down/I Been On.” And she is stirring the pot with this one!

Here are the lyrics that open it up (listen to the song below):

I know when you were little girls, you dreamt of being in my world
Don’t forget it, don’t forget it
Respect that, bow down, bitches
I took some time to live my life, but don’t think I’m just his little wife
Don’t get it twisted, get it twisted
This my shit, bow down, bitches
H-town bishes, H- H-town, bishes
I’m so crown, bow bow down, bitches

Damn. Okay, so the Queen Bey is not happy that anyone is saying all she is is Jay-Z’s wife. And not in a “let’s all be nice about this” kind of way. She is literally singing to women who have not been as successful as her to bow down to her, as if she was a REAL QUEEN you guys.

In a way, this song is surprising because she does a whole lot of work to come off as squeaky clean to her fans and the world. She has no known vices, she comes off as sexy but not dirty or trying too hard, and the pictures that she posts to instagram of her with no make-up show off her baby face. But in another way, this song isn’t that surprising. Beyonce has been working hard the past few months to let the world know just that: she works really, really, really hard to have the success that she does. Anyone saying that she’s riding her husband’s coattails is saying the exact opposite. And apparently, Bey don’t play that.

And as much as I would like to say that I don’t like this side of Beyonce, most of me kind of does. A lot. Because I think she’s right: let’s not get it twisted. Women who succeed, especially in a world like the entertainment one or in any other world where men make the rules, may have a lot of luck but they also have to put in a lot of work. And BOTH should be acknowledged. One of the problems feminism has right now is that women are often at each other’s throats, tearing each other down. And while Beyonce’s song may just sound like another version of this problem, I think it’s also a call to arms. If you don’t want to be bowing down to anyone else, including men, then you better learn to work as hard as the ones who are making the big bucks or who are the ones making the big decisions. And if you don’t want to work that hard that’s completely fine…but you better shut your trap about whatever you think is going on.

I believe that to be a good feminist you need to help other women as much as you can, and that includes acknowledging when another woman has done well for herself even if she does it differently than you do, or than you would. And I also think that it means when you’re not getting the respect you deserve…you should be able to call people on it, men and women alike. And Beyonce has certainly tried to do just that.

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