By Lissa Aicia
When Beyonce’s latest album debuted on Instagram, my usual anti-media-hype kicked in, I ignored the songs and laughed to myself at the “Bey-hive”. Two days later, I’m like, “Let me listen to something off this jawn and stop throwing blind shade.” Turns out that B’s track “Drunk in Love” is my jam!
Before I even heard the song, I read the reviews. Known and unknown critics were shunning Beyonce’s album for explicitly singing about her sexual pleasures one minute then coming out her mouth and boasting about the joys of motherhood the next (As if these dynamics are not allowed to exist in on person)
Upon listening to the track, I personally felt a sense of sexual empowerment. Beyonce spoke with no shame about how she rides the “D” like a surfboard. There is no shame to be had about having sex however you want with your lover. Some felt that the problem was her singing about it.
This song and others like it, have opened up a platform of discussion based around the idea of female sexuality. So I wonder, is the problem the oversexuilazition of the woman, or is it that the suppressed and taboo sexuality of the woman, has caused some of us to set unrealistic expectations about female sexuaity?
The image of a half naked woman with hourglass dimensions and tousled hair, slinking on a bed towards a smug looking man who is propped up against a mountain of pillows, runs rampant in both music videos and romantic comedies. This scene would likely generate the slightest of erections from any heterosexual man watching: The imagery being many a man’s idea of a perfect prelude to sex. In the case of Beyonce, crawling across the beach and doing stripper dances was the exciter in her “Drunk In Love” music video. Visuals like this garner the title of over-sexualized, thus identfying women as “negative” and “unladylike”.
Throughout the years there have been countless contraptions and practices used to mold a modest woman. An example being, jiggle restraining undergarments such as bras, girdles, and pantyhoses. In a patriarchal society, men thrive on the idea of being the first to “have” a woman. Women often held the sole responsibility of avoiding the temptation of sex before marriage. Single ladies (pun intended) were encouraged to be fully covered and prudish to the point of uncomfortability and which sometimes led to a fear of one’s own body, in order to not be viewed as temptresses. The ones who decided to embrace their bodies as well as their sexuality were labeled as harlots.
Today, if a young woman is comfortable with her body, and she decides to wear revealing clothing and have multiple partners, she then becomes a slut. If that woman ends up becoming a rape victim, she would have been “asking for it” due to her choice of clothing. The fact that her sexual history will likely be brought into question at the hearing is a sickening example of Western culture villainizing women who seek and attain sexual freedom and boundless self-expression. Having a number of partners that is half way to triple digits does not allow for the statistics to be used against a plaintiff in order to disprove an alleged rape.
Beyonce being the role model that she is, one can fully understand why the parents of her adolescent fans would be upset with the content matter of the new album and videos. Minimal clothing, gyrations, and sex acts described in explicit detail, could lead young men and women to develop what their parents and the majority of society see as weak morals and standards. Yet, when parent-child sex and sexuality conversations arise, how many parents berate their children with phrases like, “Don’t have sex”, “Wear more clothes”, “Stop being a whore”? Ultimately, these statements are serving as a verbal condoms and birth control pills, rape prevention, and image consultations. The demand hardly ever comes with an explanation as to why they are important. Sex and mini skirts have and always will be a thing and alway will be,so instead of setting rules that will likely get broken, teach your teens to be smart and self-aware when it comes to sex.
Contraceptive education will teach a sexualy active novice to take more responsibility by actively and independently letting them decide what goes in and comes out of their bodies. Teaching your child self-defense after explaining why some people are creeps that like to rape others, is a great way to avoid the perpetuation of “(s)he asked for it culture”. Even familiarize you child with movements like The Slut Walk. Lastly, and most importantly, express to your children that when they are ready, it is OKAY for them to experiment with partners, positions, toys, and genders, in a safe, trusting, and comfortable environment. The openness will set the groundwork for tolerance, which if done on a grand scale could eradicate the whorification of women completely.
Beyonce and her pop peers will likely keep churning out the racy music. Media monopolizers will continue not to give a damn about a 12-year-old knowing what a tip drill is. Sex is out there for all of us to see and experience. We can see it as a problem, or for what it is at it purest, an expression of self. Unfortunately the idea of sex is often corrupted for the sake of money and fame.This exploitation leaves many of us with a skewed idea of what sex really is, thus creating a lack of fulfillment or a health risk. It is important that thesexuality, especially that of the woman, since she is more often the victim, not be bastardized, mocked, belittled, or exploited but educated, nurtured, self-defined, and accepted to ensure mental, physical, spiritual, and social health.