Saturday, February 16, 2013

Life Is But a Dream



There's often chatter on some of my favorite blogs about whether superstar Beyonce is or isn't a feminist. Her girl power anthems, all-female band and determination to be independent lead some to say that Bey is absolutely a feminist. But some look to her sexy persona and performances and say she's a pawn to the male gaze. Some folks even complain about her decision to name her upcoming tour "The Mrs. Carter Show."

Despite the fact that I've been waving the flag of feminism for years, I actually don't care whether or not Beyonce has the label of "feminist." She continues to inspire me regardless. 

I had no intentions of writing about her HBO documentary, Life Is But a Dream, that debuted tonight. But when I found myself scribbling down notes throughout the program, I knew a blog post was about to be born. 

Believe it or not, sometimes I do have reservations about calling myself a feminist, but not because of the negative connotations and terrible misconceptions people have about what being a feminist means. Sometimes I feel as if feminism doesn't fully describe my politics, my life mission or my love for and devotion to women. Feminism is simply a belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes. But my desire to improve the lives of women and help them express themselves is about so much more than equality. It's about sisterhood.

In the documentary Beyonce describes how much her love for women influences her work. She says, "I'm always thinking about women and what we need to hear." And with those words she describes exactly why I blog and why I started See Jane Write. 

Beyonce goes on to talk about how important it is for women to have conversations with other women and how much she grows from those heartfelt discussions. I feel the same way, which is why I want to build community here on this blog and offline through See Jane Write networking events. 

Life Is But a Dream is a compelling documentary because it reminds viewers that Beyonce is human. Yes, her life is acutely different from ours, but she still has insecurities and heartache, hopes and dreams. She's a woman of faith. And when she's talking about her husband you see she's still a girl in love with a boy, and suddenly the fact that she's calling her new tour the Mrs. Carter Show makes you smile.

But obviously it's when Beyonce talks about her concern for women that she makes my feminist heart flutter. In the documentary during a segment on her Billboard Music Awards performance of "Run the World (Girls)"  she says: 

It really pisses me off that women don't get the same opportunities as men do or money for that matter because let's face it: money gives men the power to run the show. It gives men the power to define our values and to define what's sexy and what's feminine. And that's bullshit. At the end of the day it's not about equal rights it's about how we think. We have to reshape our own perception of how we view ourselves. We have to step up as women and take the lead and reach as high as humanly possible. That's what I'm going to do, that's my philosophy and that's what "Girls" is all about. 

Yes. This. 

I love that she puts the ball in our court. If you see an injustice or disparity around you, do something about it! It's time out for whining about men or "the Man" holding us down. It's time that we take control of our careers and our creativity. 

It's time to take control of your life so it can finally look just like the one you live in your dreams. 


2 comments:

  1. I didn't watch the documentary--don't have cable or HBO--but I LOVE this post, especially what you said about sisterhood.

    While I agree that we women have to change how we think and take action when we see injustices, we need men to be allies and to change the way they think as well. Once we change the way we think, I believe we can influence men's perceptions of us, too, and that we have to.

    I attended a panel discussion last week about One Billion Rising. Two women on the panel were from India and talked about women--both willingly and by force--selectively aborting girls because sons are preferred. One of the women has several sons and talked about teaching them early on that devaluing women is unacceptable, and she now tries to influence her adult sons-in-law and the young men she interacts with in her work at UofL in the same way. I believe in our strength and power as women, but we share this earth with men, and if they continue in misogynistic thinking, things won't change.

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    1. I definitely agree that we need men as allies, which is one of the reasons I often write about how sexism hurts men too. But I do think that we women need to change the way we view ourselves first because we can't teach boys and men to value us if we don't value ourselves.

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