I can’t believe I fell for your schemes, I’m smarter than that/So dumb and naive to believe that with me you’re a changed man/Foolish of me to compete when you cheat with those women
/It took me some time, but now I moved on/Cause I realized I got/Me, myself and I/That’s all I got in the end/That’s what I found out/And it ain’t no need to cry/I took a vow that from now on/I’ma be my own best friend
The lyrics above once saw me through a break-up. Whenever I listened to Me, Myself and I (which was often at that point) I felt empowered and even excited to be single again after a relationship breaking me to pieces. The song spoke to my inner feminist.
Feminism is a journey rather than a destination, it is a tool that we use to unpatriarchalise our lives. And it’s a damn good one at that, the best I’d say. But more about that another time, suffice to say for now that feminism “in a way” a la Beyoncé is simply one feministic journey. It isn’t perfect nor is it my personal ideal. For one, it’s terribly class centred with its focus on how a woman can buy empowerment. (More of my Beyoncé-related analyses here, here and here.) Sometimes she gets it incredibly wrong and other times, homegirl’s on to something.
Now Beyoncé’s GQ feature photos are hot. They are also objectifying in a reductive way. But they’re a ferociously smart move within the main currency that she trades with, namely desire.
While I don’t entirely disagree with Hadley Freeman that Beyoncé being photographed in her underwear doesn’t help feminism, what is more important than how sexualised a woman is willing to be portrayed as, is to raise consciousness to a level where women understand that desire, and glamour, are not the only, let alone the most rewarding currencies to “trade with” for they are indexed in the tempestuous male-gaze-stock-exchange.
However, to the extent that we all have some femme fatale in us – and if not, this archetype is one to engage with (even if critically), for she dares to be creative, powerful, serious, troublesome, seductive and sexy at the same time and say “Fuck you” to anyone who questions her – there are few world-famous icons who embody her better than ‘Queen Bey’.