I wanted to title this post the "Dumb B* Anthem" but I thought that would be inappropriate and offensive. However, I have to be real about my feelings. First, a preface.
I am Professor of Communication at Loyola Marymount University. My line of research merges language, rhetoric, identity, and the intersection of race, class, and sexuality. In short, I look at how people use language to excite change, or to perpetuate dominant ideologies that have caused women and minorities to struggle everyday. Now, the first time I heard the song, I just listened, then I saw the video, I was and still am Livid!!!
ALL MY SINGLE LADIES by Beyonce!
A list of reasons why this is no good:#1 It perpetuates the ideology that if you want to keep me around, all you have to do is put a ring on it. I am for sale. The price, a ring. The product, me.
No no no and more no. We are not products, ladies. Rings don't keep me idle somewhere, waiting for you to come home, be my savior. No. Do you want to know what keeps me around, good conversation, mental stimulation, intimacy, creativity in bed and at play. A good time where we are both equals and mutually interdependent. MUTUALLY INTERDEPENDENT! #2 It perpetuates the myth that as long as I can shake my hips "hella" good on the dance floor, someone will "like" me, cuz after all, that is all "he" needs to do to want to put a ring on it, "Like" me. Hence the line, "If you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it"
What the hell happened to "Love." #3 It further degrades women to the position of product, sexual object, and accessory by alluding to the fact that women only go to the clubs and dance to excite men. We are literally there for their enjoyment and pleasure.
No, I go to clubs because I like to wind down from a long week of work, because I love to dance, because I love to listen to music really loud. Because I love to meet new people and socialize. I did go to clubs to meet men too, but not my husband nor did that take up the entire reason why I was there. #4 In a failing economy, it puts even more pressure on the desire to have a rock, ice, bling, diamonds, etc
Since when did a diamond mean you actually love me and want to spend the rest of your life with me? We have been so worried as a country about the sanctity of marriage, so much that we won't allow gay marriage. What killed the sanctity of marriage is divorce and the ideology that rings actually carry value. THEY DON'T. Just because he bought you a ring doesn't mean he loves you. Just because he asks you to marry him doesn't mean you should. Just because he loves you doesn't mean you are meant to be together. Deciding to marry someone entails so much more than love and jewelry. Or for Beyonce, LIKE and Jewelry. It is about the sharing of two lives in their complete state. My husband and I have been married for 1.5 years, known each other for over 10. We are best friends, partners, lovers, intellectual stimulants, motivators, all of that and more. We went dutch on our rings and neither of us even wear them anymore. I am allergic to mine and I ended up making him a new one that looks way better than the pricey ones we bought. (Side bar, anybody want to buy a 1.5 carat diamond ring... I have no use for it)
The point is, rings don't mean anything. They are symbols. But you have to decide what they symbolize, don't let consumer America do that for you.#5 The video is awful.
First of all, there are moments where you can see the VULVA! Children are watching this. What woman dances around in a leotard and heels and thinks that is normal. Gyrating in a leotard and heels is not normal. It is degrading. Put some damn clothes on. If you are in the privacy of your own home, then you can gyrate but ass naked all you want. But I don't want my sons growing up watching that on TV and thinking that that is what women are supposed to look and behave like. Let's teach our sons to respect the female body, to adore it, to fantasize about it. If we don't leave much room for the imagination, what's the point of fantasy? Where is the respect? Get it together!Here is an idea. Let's love ourselves enough to put our own rings on it. It doesn't need to be a tangible ring, do things to take care of yourself and respect yourself so much so that you feel loved, energized, and cared for all of the time. Let us not wait for anyone to boost our self-esteem and make us feel proud, happy, alive. Let's take care of ourselves everyday so we feel good everyday. We don't have to look like Beyonce or have the same mentality. We just have to be ourselves and pay tribute to the beauty that already exist within. Let the rings we do buy symbolize something much greater than the institution of marriage, the institution of heteronormativity, the ideology of sexism. Be you and do it well, with our without a partner.