January 29 2014
Beyonce: Can I Have The Night Off From Being a Feminist Icon?
Whether or not you caught Beyonce and Jay Z’s hyper-sexualized performance at the Grammy Awards, you shouldn’t miss Naomi Schaeffer Riley’s terrific, though-provoking piece on the couple's antics (okay, okay, I am quoted in it).
Schaeffer Riley notes the irony of the raunchy performance’s following so closely upon the heels of The Shriver Report, a feminist manifesto to which Beyonce contributed (here and here). Schaeffer Riley writes:
What do you call a man who stands there smiling and singing as his scantily clad wife straddles a chair and shakes her rear end for other men’s titillation?
I’m certain if I look through enough Jay Z song titles, I’ll come up with the right name for his role in Beyoncé’s performance at the Grammy Awards Sunday night. Rhymes with Goodyear. . . ? Well, how about I just call him a poor excuse for a husband.
For years, these award ceremonies have pushed the envelope; Beyoncé’s booty-shaking was certainly no worse than Miley Cyrus’s twerking or any number of other performances by Madonna, for instance. But there’s something particularly icky about doing it while your husband looks on approvingly.
“Honestly, I didn’t want to watch Jay Z and Beyoncé’s foreplay,” says Charlotte Hays, author of “When Did White Trash Become the New Normal?” Indeed, the happy couple seems to have completely blurred the line between what goes on in their bedroom and what happens on national TV. So much for the woman that Michelle Obama has called “a role model who kids everywhere can look up to.”
Hays says, “It wasn’t surprising to see Jay Z, looking pleased at his wife’s hyper-sexualized exhibition on stage.” After all, “he’s made a living singing lyrics that call women ‘bitches’ and ‘hos,’ so we shouldn’t be surprised that he objectified his own wife on stage.”
And can we add that Beyonce, who wrote in The Shriver Report that gender equality is “a myth,” lacks a sense of irony?