Ladies, Your Body Should Not be Your Greatest Asset


My cousin practically ran to the TV when the clock struck 8pm to turn on the Grammys.

“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? BEYONCE 2014 GRAMMY PERFORMANCE (2)

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 2014 GRAMMY PERFORMANCE (3)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:


  1. if you got it flaunt it. She fit and her body is right. She had a baby and as a woman when we feel like we worked hard to lose the baby weight or just any extra weight in general we are proud of ourselves. Beyonce was wearing this on stage and you see less clothes on any show on primetime TV. Its a musical show not the Disney family hour.

  2. also beyonce can be fully clothed and still put on a great show. Did you miss the Counrty Singer calling people whores, fat, and crackheads in her song she sang live on the show? Where is the uproar on that?

  3. Not the Disney hour no, but definitely a musical show on primetime TV that is NOT the MTV Movie Awards and is considered the highest award show for music achievement, viewed by millions, men, women & children. Must like, say, the Superbowl some years ago…

    I digress.

    Indeed Beyonce can put on a great show while fully clothed. Had she worn a tux like she did in one of her photoshoots a couple years back and sung this song it would’ve faired better as a performance in my opinion. I mean, since we’re talking about attire.

    If you got it flaunt it…eh, not needed when you are at her level.

    She had a baby and worked hard to lose the weight…bravo. Cool. Still, SHE doesn’t need to do it, but she’s a grown woman after having a child so she can. Okay.

    It begs repeating what the author wrote, so I’m going to leave this here and exit left:

    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.

  4. its always women trying to put down another woman. Still it was a preformance. its was sexy and it was supposed to be. if she wanted to play it safe then she could of did XO. Drunk in Love isn’t for the babies.

  5. This article will go right over the head of the average Beyonce/Rihanna/Britney/Miley/Nicki fan because they are so devoid of self-esteem they need to vicariously live through the lives, beauty, success and accomplishments of others. They are in constant need of someone to make them feel good about superficial things like beauty and sex appeal. They’re generally not smart and can’t accomplish much outside the realm of applying lipstick and twerking. They wanna-be “bad bitches,” not smart women. You can’t sell them on anything that will inspire them to seek real power, like an education. That is too much work. Requires too much of a commitment. So they seek quick fulfillment and a power that is fleeting: sexuality. The power to make men want and desire them. A power that fades with age and oftentimes child birth, which is why the media is so obsessed with women losing that baby weight and wiping away all evidence that a woman’s body is not just for men to use to relieve themselves.

    Stop trying to educate these blind mice. They do not want to see.

  6. @JBL
    Why cant people just have a differences of opinions? Why are you trying to belittle women to get your point across? How does calling them dumb help them understand your point of view?

  7. I honestly thought she would do Grown Woman or XO. Those would’ve been better songs to open the show with or even close it. Drunk in love is better (for me) just listening to it.

  8. @JBL, to say you nailed it would be an understatement. Education, NO. Cracking open a book No. Hell sounding like you’ve ever even read a book in an interview, absolutely not. I completely understand your point. Well said indeed.

  9. @jbl LOVE everything you just said. Money conquers all and is the only thing that matters, you don’t need integrity, a soul or to truly stand for anything except for getting paid. I do give her sister Solange credit, she seems to genuinely have a spine to stand up and speak out on issues unlike her big sis whose seems more concerned about showing the world that she lost her baby weight.

  10. I thoroughly agreed with this article. I don’t support ANYBODY blindly. At the end of the day how does Beyoncé half naked dry hump routine in videos or in a performance help me as a woman a black woman in this world get taken anymore seriously especially in corporate America I don’t know so I don’t see how I owe her any thanks. No Mrs. Carter isn’t doing anything that truly helps women achieve equality. Even with all her success she still has to get almost naked and do the same thing over and over again except her hair is a little shorter in this performance. I wish I could respect her but I just don’t.

  11. @ JBL you just preached! That’s why when most of her fans commit to a post of mine I typically never give them the time of day by responding because they are usually very basic and childish. It is so sad as I am on the internet. I see more men speaking out against this performance with sense and morals then some of the women! Black people are going to have to take control of their children and communities. Caucasians are in control of theirs because when Miley Sirus twerked on stage. They immediately set up no twerking rules at predominately Caucasian schools for their proms and dances. In the Black community a lot that are not awaken are co-signing on this foolishness and running around calling people childish names like hater and jealous so sad. People really need to stop using those words to describe everything two and three times in the same sentences and look at the details/facts. It looks and sounds very under and uneducated it’s sad!And then wonder why the Black race is considered a statistic in some areas. And why some not all can’t get hired for professional careers because of they way they think and carry themselves. A lot in the Black community really need to get it together and raise their standards. We have to stop supporting people just because they are Black but support other blacks because they are of high morals & integrity and shine a bright positive light on our race!

  12. I’m not a fan but I do admit she puts on a good show..But sunday night was the most disgusting display I have ever seen her perform. Regardless that she is a married woman, some things should be kept in the privacy of your home.

    In the past six months she has gone from classy to trashy. Whether it was to appease the fans to bring new sound or stay relevant, it seems to me she has sacrificed her self worth & that is truly sad.

  13. Beyonce is an entertainer and they do things that are over the edge and things for shock factor so it is what it is, but she is obviously trying to evolve and keep up with todays music. She is trying to keep up with Miley cyrus twerking and Rihanna twerking and etc. It is kind of stupid because Beyoncé has already made a name for herself as she shouldn’t have to be like these new artist. Beyoncé is suppose to have enough power to say these new artist need to keep up with me…The point of being a true queen is being like you can’t touch me. I feel like she has gone backwards in her 30’s why are you talking about drinking and having sex when you rarely did that in your 20’s?She feels like she needs to keep up with the oversexed music of today. She went from make love to me to he monica lewinkied all oh her gown. I know you are grown, but you have been grown for awhile…why now be dirty? For example R.Kelly has been a very sexual artist all the time, and so has Madonna. What if Rihanna’s new song was talking about waiting for marriage to have sex and if she did a song that sounded like it could be on kids bop…If she did…then it would be backwards! not evolving! Much love 2 Beyonce, but she is too good of an artist to go backwards.

  14. Someone posted on facebook the exact thing that I have been thinking for a long time, “How come Beyonce gets a pass or even protected for doing things like this when other people get trashed?” I don’t know and will never understand and I know there are more important things to worry about but I will say this. Whether she likes it or not she is largely influential and it is great that she looks wonderful after having a baby. However, if your daughter’s birth can make your husband stop using the word bitch, shouldn’t it influence you to look and behave more appropriately? I DID NOT SAY YOU CAN’T BE SEXY, I DID NOT SAY YOU CAN’T BE SEXY I DID NOT SAY YOU CAN’T BE SEXY (just in case people “accidentally” misunderstand my point). But as a maturing woman (in age) you should want to be more classy and tasteful. No one can doubt that she has a beautiful voice and a great entertainer but what she did the other night was very distasteful. IF you’re not going to clean itup for the other young ladies around the world at least do it for your daughter. I wonder if she’s being manipulated / controlled by “others”

  15. good points @ LIYAH, KIKI, JBL, NUNYA, REAL TALK, everyone really. Good stuff here.

  16. I fully support this Author’s point of view on this matter. Beyonce’s view about equal rights and pay for women confuses me when the whole point of it is to accomplish equal rights, respect and pay without selling yourself short, selling sex (be it literally or figuratively) and dumbing yourself down to achieve this. And as great of an entertainer she may be, she has, IMO, been selling sex since she was a teenager with both her Mother and Father overseeing her career. Right now it’s just risen to a higher level, with a world wide plateau to sell sex to more of the masses. I have no qualms about anyone expressing their sexuality from time to time, Our bodies as women are beautiful. But if it’s something that is constant, then I began to wonder if it’s a necessary means to keep people’s attention on you and to bring in the serious money. Does the talent suffer in sales compared to when you expose your goodies to the world and make a killing for doing so? We can argue that she doesn’t need to stoop this low and use gimmicks to sell, because of who she is and what she’s already accomplished, but the fact is she uses sex a lot to get the attention and money. I wish she weren’t so vocal about women’s right when she is using sex to sell and is making more money than her peers are. Both she and her husband are. He shows up in a Tux while calling women bitches and whores, yet has his wife on stage scantily clad and dancing seductively. I’m sorry…The whole thing reminded me of the ‘Pimp and Hoe’ stereo-types. Pimps are sharp while their hoes are dressed like Beyonce for business.

    I also 100% co-sign LBJ’s comment. It was worded as someone who has gotten tired of trying to break down the truth to people who go out their way to try to save face. I have all but lost count as to how many posters have tried to explain these facts, using every language known to man and even breaking it down to a 3rd grade level, to enable the unintelligent, the naive, the slow, to understand what is happening before them. In which they even offer facts to get their points across to those who refuse to see it because it will break their hearts to know that Beyonce isn’t perfect. They are so protective because they don’t want to crush their delusional vision of what they think and want to believe about Beyonce. So they use protective words like, ‘hater’, ‘jealous’, or the ‘you’re just mad because you’re broke and will never be on their level.’ Not realizing they too are not on the same level as Bey, Blue and her husband, Jay Z.

    Most of us in the know were not shocked by that performance. In fact, it was very predictable. We didn’t expect anything less because she’s been doing this for years. It just become ridiculous when she tries to be vocal on women’s equal rights and pay, when she’s a walking, talking contradiction.

  17. OMG why is it that in America people like telling others what to do? You can’t dance, you can’t dress like that, you can’t TWERK! This article is very one dimensional. People love to criticize and turn up their nose when they are unhappy with their lives. You people are taking her way too damn serious as if she’s a religion or some crap. Don’t like it? You think it was disgusting? well skip the channel and watch The Real Housewives of Atlanta where I’m sure black women are portrayed better.

  18. I’m surprised people aren’t talking more about the fact she proudly said the eat the cake line with her husband…Beyonce is all over the map. It’s why you can’t follow/worship celebrities they will do/say anything to make money. Beyonce does not care about equality for women or feminism, she only cares about herself. It is what it is…

  19. “i been thankin’…”

    Had she performed a different set to the song, like a black background and the spotlight and camera just focused on her singing (perhaps a capella) I think the emotion, the expression would’ve come across better. No dancing, just stand there and sing with all the heartfelt love lust and emotion she had when she wrote the song. Now that would’ve been something. Oh and no need for Jay to do his verse. They could’ve cut that completely.

    Instead of opening the show with a party-up performance that fell flat, she should have (should woulda coulda) been a bit more subtle and low-key with it.

    Eh, just my thoughts.

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