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Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Beyonce. A new approach to an old emancipation message.

For the first time someone else has written for the blog. Still keeping it in the family though. This is from my lad Euan.

Pop rubbish you say?
Pop certainly, but rubbish?
I'm not so sure.
I should begin by saying I'm not a fan, and I don't own one single solitary release by Beyonce, but recently I have come to admire certain aspects of her persona that she is promoting to the public.
It would be fair to say that I've always been aware of who she is as you can't get away from Beyonce the brand, but it was only when I witnessed her recent Glastonbury performance that what she does caught my attention.
The main thing was that her backing band was made up of female musicians, and while you often see solitary women in bands, and the charts are very obviously full of semi clad auto tuned 'babes' gyrating for the cameras, this full band of women just seemed to be naturally empowering.
All shapes, all sizes and all races. Lovely.
A big melting pot of female talent positively promoting their gender to the public on a global stage.
It was fantastic.
I suppose that there could be the reverse sexism charge asking where is the men?
Possibly an argument that the gender exclusive band is sexist in itself, but I would disagree.
I could name a thousand and one bands who are exclusively male and no one lays the allegation of sexism at their feet.
So back to Beyonce and what I perceive her agenda is, and that would be promoting a positive, independent and empowering role model for women.
Yes of course it's within the restraints that mainstream popularity dictates must be adhered to, and while I'm not saying she is about to smash a glass ceiling, I think I can safely say that she up there tapping at it on behalf of women everywhere.
I'll provide some examples of what I mean about her independent and empowering role.
Here on this side we have The Pussycat Dolls being groped by a guest rapper in a video, and demeaning themselves by advocating that to get a man you need to out freak the woman he is currently with.
Or in very basic terms what they are saying is that they will do anything at all to get the man, including let themselves be used as sexual plaything whose existence is defined by their ability to meet the demands of a man regardless of what those demands would be.
….and this is being beamed straight into the heads of young girls globally who are maybe, possibly, being subconsciously groomed for a lifetime of gender subservience.
I haven't checked, but I wouldn't be surprised if the song was written by men, produced by men and on the business side promoted by a company whose CEO's are all men.
While over here in Beyonce's corner we have a woman who has played the game successfully and is now in a position to dictate what direction that her career should take, and in doing so she pens songs that push women to explore what they want in life and how they can achieve it positively.
While telling the world that if a man likes it, then you shoulda put a ring on it falls on the side of opening the door to young women to think of themselves as worthwhile and that they should be respected by men.
If they want to be with her then make a commitment of some sort.
Is that a positive message?
An empowering one?
Of course it is.
While some would say that it is just another angle being used, a public relations exercise that will convert a few more fans, I don't really care if that is the case.
Similarly I'm not interested in the motives of someone running into the a burning orphanage to save some kids just as long as the end result is that the children live to see another day.
The end result trumps everything else.
So if a woman somewhere uses Beyonce and her message as a springboard to leap forward into actively seeking equality then I applaud that.
We may look about at the world in 2011 and think that everything is fine, but Lennon's words that 'women is the nigger of the world' still rings true, and his use of the dreaded 'n' word in this context doesn't offend me as it would in other circumstances.
It's used crudely like a sledgehammer to get a point across and encompasses the whole issue of equality.
In first world countries we still see women receiving less of an hourly rate of pay as a male counterpart even if it has been legislated against.
We still see women working twice as hard in certain areas only for them to be leapfrogged by less competent men.
For every successful woman I could name a hundred successful men and the truth of the matter is that men and women are working equally as hard, but one certainly has the easier path to walk on.
In classrooms I can see female teachers being offered less respect from a mixed gender class than a male teacher would.
Where's the fairness in that? And where's the sisterhood?
This imbalance seems to be deep rooted and to get back to Beyonce, if in some small way her actions act as a catalyst and encourage women, and men, to reconsider gender roles then I'm not going to knock her, and instead I'm going to praise her.
While we seem to be very far away from a new era of female suffrage as a protest for equality it must come.
It's as sure as night follows day.
Unless of course we all, men and women, accept that equality is a right and not something that has to be bargained for.
Beyonce is the thin end of a positive wedge that could push a door open if we respect the message and don't try and tear it down with a misguided attack on issues that are unimportant.
Like claiming a pop star can't make a differences.
I mean says who?
I applaud a voice that is promoting change without the negativity that is usually associated with trying to create a change in society.
Her songs are the peaceful call for a gender revolution of thought.
I mean c'mon, where would we men be without women anyway?
That's where.
So lets all get behind Beyonce and her lyrical stance.

Euan Main


  1. *applause* eloquently put young man, you're a credit.

  2. Started reading the blog a few weeks ago.
    Can't say that I agree with everything written, or that I like all the bands featured, but dang it bleeds raw and I like that.
    I see that you have the gonzo fist up.
    You certainly have the Hunter spirit of opening your mouth to roar.
    Your son aint taking no prisoners either.

  3. You are growing into a fine writer, young padawan.

  4. A chip off the still young and sprightly block? Odd topic for me today this one. I just watched Made in Dagenham tonight but this was stark contrast to Rosie Huntington-Whitely click clacking her way through Transformers 3 with the kids earlier - hey girl, you need a sturdy pair of Docs if you're fighting Decepticons. Leave the heels at home,hen. We still have a way to go.

  5. nice piece of writing, very well said.

  6. I'll say thank you on his behalf.