Top 5 Feminist Moments of Beyoncé's New Album

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The Queen B came out with a surprise new album on Friday, December 13th. I spent all Saturday night listening and watching the music videos to her new "visual" album, and I ain't ashamed. This album is feminist, guerrilla-style.

Here are my top 5 feminist moments of Beyonce's new album:

1. Right off the bat, with the song "Pretty Hurts", Bey is singing about beauty consumerism, double standards, and the difficulties all women face in our society with regard to appearances. I mean, shit, check out the chorus: 

Pretty hurts, shine the light on whatever's worse
Perfection is a disease of a nation, pretty hurts, pretty hurts
Pretty hurts, shine the light on whatever's worse
Trying to fix something but you can't fix what you can't see
It's the soul that needs the surgery

What other major pop stars are openly slamming society, and its ridiculous standards?

2. In the song, "Haunted", she sings: 

All the shit I do is boring
All these record labels boring
I don't trust these record labels I'm touring
All these people on the planet
Working 9 to 5 just to stay alive

The song is gorgeous (as is the video). I really love how she's subtlety dissing capitalism, and speaking to the experience of working-class folks.

3. "No Angel" is a slow jam against dichotomies. Virgin/Whore. Angel/Devil. In it, Bey sings: 

Know I'm not the girl you thought you knew and that you wanted
Underneath the pretty face is something complicated
I come with a side of trouble
But I know that's why you're staying

Women are often taught to be 1-dimensional and uncomplicated. Bey sheds light on this. 

4. Much of Bey's album is overtly erotic (both visual and auditory). She expresses her sexuality in a beautiful, authentic way. In the song, "Blow", she sings: 

Can you lick my skittles
That's the sweetest in the middle
Pink that's the flavor
Solve the riddle

As women, we're often taught to hide our sexuality--especially any desire we might have for sex. In this song, Bey is open and saying it unabashedly: "I can't wait 'til I get home so you can turn that cherry out." Fuck yes, sex positivity! (for more rad sex positivity, listen to the songs, "Partition" and "Rocket.")

5. Of course I have to have the song, "Flawless" on here, and awesome sampling of a speech given by Nigerian writer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. This song is a feminist anthem (I know many will disagree with me, but whatever). In the first verse, Bey sings, "I took some time to live my life/But don't think I'm just his little wife." I think the addition of the Adichie speech cements this song to be even more feminist than when it was previously released under the name, "Bow Down." This song is saying fuck the haters; love yourself; you're flawless. Here is the sample from Adichie's speech:

We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, "You can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful, otherwise you will threaten the man." Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. Now, marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support, but why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage, and we don't teach boys the same? We raise girls to see each other as competitors--not for jobs or for accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing--but for the attention of men. We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are. "Feminist": the person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.

 

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments!