Reporting Shannon Carlin
After Beyoncé gave birth to her daughter Blue Ivy last year, something changed. Bey addressed the transformation in the March issue of Vogue, explaining that having a baby made her think differently about what it really means to be a woman.
“Right now, after giving birth, I really understand the power of my body,” she explained to the mag. “I just feel my body means something completely different. I feel a lot more confident about it. Even being heavier, thinner, whatever. I feel a lot more like a woman. More feminine, more sensual. And no shame.”
With help from a heavy tribal beat, Beyoncé’s latest song, “Grown Woman,” which leaked last night (May 20), touches on the power of femininity. Whether single, married or somewhere in between, this Timbaland-produced ladies anthem is seemingly meant to get every woman up on her feet singing, “I’m a grown woman/I can do whatever I want.” Let’s consider it the sequel to “Run The World (Girls).”
Mrs. Carter has always been a powerful figure in music, but on her latest song there is a new (and different) sense of confidence here. She starts off the track by letting people know she’s been working at this since she was a little kid and she’s no one-trick pony: “Told the world I’m gonna paint this town/ Now b****** I run this.”
On the track, a snippet of which debuted in Bey’s recent Pepsi ad, she continuously touts her power. She sings, “They love the way I walk/Cause I walk with a vengeance/And they listen to me when I talk/Cause I ain’t pretending.” She ends it all by explaining that it took some time for her to get this ego boost and she’s not giving up on it anytime soon. It’s almost as if she’s letting all the ladies know, “If I can do it, so can you.”
When she delivers lines like, “I can be bad if I want/I can say what I want/I can live fast if I want/I can go slow all night long,” it’s clear she’s not apologizing for anything anymore.
Near the end of the over five-minute song, she sounds fiercer than her alter-ego Sasha ever could be, making one thing clear: “B**** I can do whatever I want.” Then with a simple, but stern “uh-hmm,” she sends a warning to anyone out there who’s been flapping his or her mouth about her music’s intentions to just keep quiet. (We’re pretty sure she’s looking at you, Rush Limbaugh.)
While most of us were busy trying to decipher whether Bey is really expecting baby No. 2 (as of right now, it’s a no), she seemed to be teasing her new attitude towards life on Instagram.
In the post, which was quickly taken down after going up on Friday (May 17), she wrote: ”I can’t stop the rumors from starting, and I can’t really change peoples minds who believe them, all I can do is sit back and laugh at these low life people who have nothing better to do than talk about me.”
Bey even seems to be poking fun at the low-lifes on “Grown Woman,” chalking her superstardom up to a pretty face and a nice booty, something she’s surely heard before. It’s almost as if she’s saying, “Can you believe these people?” And let’s all agree, we can’t.
As much power as Beyoncé exudes through her music, however, there are many who see lines like those about her looks as a step back for feminists everywhere. Case in point, when Ms. Magazine, one of the oldest and most well-known feminist publications in the nation, put her on its most recent cover with the headline “Beyonce’s Fierce Feminism,” many had a bone to pick. (Radio.com on the other hand, happens to think Bey has a lot in common with Gloria Steinem. Read our take here.)
In the essay, writer Janell Hobson, who is also an associate professor of women’s studies at the University of Albany in New York, writes, “When women like Beyoncé proudly proclaim feminism, they tend to invite more debates than affirmation.” A post on Ms. Magazine’s Facebook, which stated that the essay tries to answer the questions: “Has Beyoncé ‘earned’ her feminist credentials? Why do we even question her feminism at all?,” received over 80 comments ranging from those who find her music “empowering” to one person who believes it must be “easy to be a ‘feminist’ these days.”
Some want Beyoncé to grab the feminist torch, while others want her to remove the word feminist from her vocabulary, but either way, Bey’s not quite sure how she feels about the F-word. She recently told Vogue UK, “I guess I’m a modern-day feminist. I believe in equality.”
Whatever she chooses to call herself though, the superstar would like to be an inspiration to women everywhere. And with her new song, she does that. On the track, Beyoncé explains to all the ladies of the world that power lies somewhere within one’s self. You just need to let it out.