If you know me, you know I love Beyonce.
I have a hard time thinking she can do any wrong. I mean, because she never does.
So when the internet went haywire over the feminist question in regards to Beyonce after her super-secret album drop last month, I was in shock. How DARE anyone question Queen Bey without my permission.
I obviously think Beyonce is good for the feminist cause. I think she is pushing us further, asking important questions (whether or not she means to), and challenging the status quo that many of us white feminists seem content to accept.
But I’m getting “old” in terms of activism (sigh), so I had to ask the next gen of feminists.
I asked the Rising Voices Fellows, a group of six young women who I am working with this year on the intersections of Judaism, feminism, and writing, what they thought about the “Flawless” video. In particular, I asked them what they thought of the line:
“Bow down, bitches”
The particulars of the conversation aren’t really important. What WAS amazing was that it was a half an hour or so dedicated to discussing the word “bitch.” Eight women in the room, eight opinions, eight million sets of questions and what ifs. The power of language, and how it impacts historically disenfranchised groups, was the name of the game. And the whole thing was fascinating.
We didn’t come to any conclusions–if you’ve figured out the “bitch” problem, please let the rest of us know so we can get on the solution–but the conversation was rich. It exposed our fears about ourselves, the strengths we want to enhance, and how we want to interact with the world around us.
It was beautiful. And to the haters of feminism or Beyonce….
AFTER THE FACT ADDITION:
My very wise mother commented that I copped out, and she’s right.
My take on the “b” word: I like it. I’ve liked it, as a reference to myself, since middle school (I am pretty sure I had a keychain with the word BITCH and an acrostic from Spencer’s back in the day). I think a bitch is a tough, smart, no-nonsense lady. I think it has come to be used as a put down, but honestly? I embrace it. Call it re-appropriating language if you want, but I just think its a good word. However, I will not use it to describe someone else until I know they feel the same way. I try not to use it disparagingly towards other women when I can remember/am being thoughtful and kind. I think the trick with words like “bitch” are that its in the eye of the beholder, so its hard to place identities on others.