“Jay Z and Beyonce are performing,” he explained. And as an avid Jay Z fan, the night’s performance was one thing he surely didn’t plan to miss.
So we watched it.
Now, although I’m not a fan of either musician, I’ve certainly heard Beyonce’s “Drunk In Love” hit plenty of times. Yet, I was still surprised the duo would pick that song to open the Grammys with. I mean, singing about “surfboarding” and “graining on that wood” for what people consider a family-friendly show could be considered a bit much.
And yet another surprise was Mrs. Carter’s choice of outfit. Now we all know Beyonce loves her onesie costumes, but I guess she wanted to go for the theme in some of her visuals for her self-titled album and let it all hang out—well not ALL, but quite enough below the belt.
When I saw Beyonce’s outfit combined with some of the ways she was dancing and spreading eagle on the chair, I just knew some folks (especially parents) would be in an uproar.
And while I also found myself in an uproar (well, more disturbed and disappointed) it was more because of when Jay Z came out on stage.
There we had Beyonce dressed very provocatively revealing skin and Jay Z FULLY CLOTHED in a suit and tie.
And looking at the two all I could think was, Now aren’t these the typical male-female statuses promoted by society?
And by that I mean a male can be defined by a myriad of things, but a woman is most often defined by her body.
To be woman is a compilation of female body parts and the “degree” of womanhood is defined by how well each individual body part supports the representation and attraction capabilities of the collective body.
Long legs, small waist, ample breasts, toned buttocks? Great, you are a woman. Put all of those together and now you have the capability to attract, stimulate, appeal, seduce. Oh, now collectively you are an XYZ woman. A “real” woman.
This really annoyed me, ladies.
I’m all for female empowerment, but perpetuating the notion that women are objects is the opposite.
Sure, women have the right to show their bodies and not be ashamed of who we are and how we’re made. But I don’t think our bodies should be our greatest assets. I don’t think they should play such a significant role in defining what it means to be a woman.
Beyonce is talented; there’s no denying that. But, if you were to take away the onesies, revealing costumes, and sexual dance moves what would you be left with? The countless other women artists who don’t have nearly as much exposure and fame as the women who play up their bodies and sexuality (with the exception of a few, Adele for example).
Again, as Beyonce says it, she is a grown woman and can do whatever she wants—that much is pretty clear. But how does being a “grown woman” and constantly exposing your body and sexuality make women any more empowered when our male-dominated society already subjects women to this object-like identity?
In the Shiver Report, Beyonce wrote:
We need to stop buying into the myth about gender equality. It isn’t a reality yet. Humanity requires both men and women, and we are equally important and need one another. So why are we viewed as less than equal?
But does “embracing our sexuality” and putting our bodies on display give us equality?
Through how women appear on TV, in magazine photos and music videos, men already show women that they think we’re defined by our bodies. I mean even look at commercials. I saw a darn Hardee’s commercial with a half-naked woman in a 2-piece seductively biting a hamburger. Why? Because a woman (slim, exposed body) attracts more people to this ad than a clothed man would (or even a clothed female).
I’ve heard people say women like Beyonce are entertainers and they’re just wearing costumes on stage. To that I say:
1) Look at any male artist. With the exception of some who end up taking off their shirts (and half the time it has nothing to do with generating physical attraction *cues Rick Ross*) men are fully clothed when they sell out concert venues.
But to have the same success and for attendees to receive the same concert-going experience, female artists have to bear it all?
2) Women accentuate their bodies even when they’re off stage. Look at almost every female celeb who goes to any kind of event or award show. Nine times out of 10, if she’s wearing a dress, that cleavage is on display. Or her hips or derriere. Shoot, you can look at women standing in line for the club and see first-hand what I mean.
We are constantly taught that we are our bodies. How big this is, how small that is. That’s what defines us.
And although our breasts, hips, butts and everything in between definitely should be celebrated (as any human body is God’s beautiful creation) these things are not our greatest asset. Contrary to what’s constantly displayed, ladies don’t believe the hype. You are more than your body. God defines us by much more than our physical make up.
The husband and wife duo’s Grammy attire disappointed me because, yet again, they’re promoting the false idea that a woman must use her body in some way to be considered a woman and successful. (And Beyonce definitely made sure her exposed bottom had the spotlight as she danced.)
I’ve heard people say, “why would Jay Z want his wife up there dressed like that,” and others say, “he’s proud for her body to be on display” and still others say, “they’re showing that marriage can be sexy and fun.”
I say it’s all about influence. The couple definitely could be trying to bring sexy back when it comes to marriage, but sadly for a great deal of their followers, this isn’t the image they may ultimately leave.
Beyonce shaking her exposed bottom for the world is not a clear message to young girls that it’s okay to do this in your marriage. They see this superstar with a great body who isn’t afraid to put it on display, and they’ll follow suit. And regardless of what others want to say, she is still a huge role model for young girls; she even said she loved being a role model although recently she said it stifled her creativity. Even President Obama said, “Beyonce could not be a better role model for my girls,” and the FLOTUS agreed, thanking Beyonce “for being a role model who kids everywhere can look up to.”
I just wanted to drive home the point that although society is constantly trying to focus our attention on the outside, our bodies are not (and should not be) our greatest assets. They are not the sole thing that makes us women and don’t have to constantly be put on display as such.
Besides, if my identity and worth lay in something as superficial and unstable as physical makeup—something that can literally look a certain way one day, something happens, and be altered the next—I’m not worth too much. And for the record, let me tell all of you, real women are worth more than the limited visuals the naked eye consumes.
Service is her passion, writing is her platform, uplifting women and the Black Community is her purpose. Shala Marks is a writer, editor and soon-to-be author. Through her work, Marks aspires to demonstrate “The Craft of Writing, and the Art of Efficacy.” She has a B.A. in journalism from Arizona State University. Connect with her at: http://shalamarks.com/.