So. Now that Beyoncé’s shock new album has been released, our suspicions have been confirmed. Beyoncé is an anti-capitalist, black nationalist, feminist superhero who supports the London student movement. But what are we to make of the nuances of her arguments? KCL iFeminist Society investigates:
This song marks Beyonce’s rapid shift to the left (to the left).
She asks: “All the people on the planet working 9 to 5 to stay alive, how come?” At first, you’re disappointed by her answer: “What goes around, ghost around”. But this would be to miss Beyonce’s exquisite use of metaphor.
It is clear after some thought that “ghost” refers to Karl Marx’s notion of DEAD LABOUR.
Beyonce is re-evaluating Marx’s famous first line of the Communist Manifesto: she is arguing that the ghost of the dead labour of workers is a spectre haunting the bourgeois music industry. Beyonce is predicting the proletarian revolution.
KCL iFemSoc cannot fault this argument. Capitalism harms all working women: A+
In this video Beyonce claims “Yonce” is on HIS mouth like liquor. But notice how there are no men in this video. The two women are dancing to and for each other. This guy in the club (who is so unimportant he doesn’t feature in the video) can keep staring, but Yonce isn’t interested. The argument here is subtle but poignant: the combination of the masculinization of the grillz and the lesbian BDSM nudge in the last scene make it clear: Yonce is Beyonce’s lesbian alter-ego.
The experimentation with sexuality is interesting. But, we have to say, the juxtaposition between the lyrical content (“Yonce on his mouth like liquor) and the visual content (Yonce obviously getting with a woman) is too subtle; it portrays lesbian sexuality as deviant or deserving of secrecy. We’re not down with this.
We at KCL iFemSoc demand that all sexuality is the expression of human potential and we must smash through this notion that we should attach different values to different expressions of sexuality.
Beyonce, we feel you only go half of the way here: C-
Here Beyonce comes out strong against women being alienated from their own sexuality and she smashes through the long held, patriarchal assumption, that women are simply a means to someone else’s sexual ends. The argument here is women should enjoy sex too (couldn’t disagree here!).
While we think this argument is convincing, and a strong feminist principle, it’s inherently reformist. We need to argue that yes, it’s important we try hard to overcome alienation in our personal relationships, but that alienation of sexuality can only be over come once alienated labour is smashed.
Good effort though Bey: B+
Nice one. Beyonce reveals her black nationalist tendencies by reversing the racial roles of the aristocrat and the domestic maid.
Obviously we need to wage the argument that black and white unity is the way forward but nevertheless, this is subversive: A
Beyonce and her crew confront the hard hand of the state: the police. Here she gives a clear nod to the recent student protests against police repression on our campuses. However, she confronts repression by holding her partner’s hand; she seems to be saying LOVE will get #copsoffcampus
We at KCL iFemSoc disagree, and feel this argument is quite utopian. We’d argue the student movement would be better off with a mass movement of students and workers. But, we should accept pluralism in the movement. It’s a nice idea Bey, we can’t fault your effort: B+
In Part 2 we’ll be discussing some of the nastier elements of the album. That’s right Jay Z, KCL iFem Soc are coming for you.
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