I had to read this opinion article for my Popular Contemporary Music class, "Beyoncé is Destroying Your Daughter, Not Empowering Her" by Matt Walsh. It was infuriating and ignorant.
  1. I know it is not my place as a white woman to preach about "Lemonade". But I think it is my place as a white woman to set a white man back in his lane. I'll try to do just that. In quotations are Walsh's real life words.
  2. "pop singer Beyonce released a new album called “Lemonade” (because if life gives you lemons). For a piece of work hailed as “groundbreaking” and “brilliant,” it’s strange that the title is one of the most overused cliches in the history of cliches."
    Here we go.
  3. "But this is the advantage of being a feminist sex icon in modern America. Everything you do and say will become the greatest thing anyone has ever done or said, that is until the next thing you do or say."
    Actually, as a "feminist sex icon," everything you do and say will be heavily scrutinized and picked apart before anyone will even consider allowing you to bet the greatest anything.
  4. "Beyonce does not occupy this category alone, but due to her race and her dancing ability, she stands at the pinnacle of it."
    Excuse me, due to her RACE? Beyoncé is the pinnacle of feminism because she is black?? If anything, her race held her back from being a feminist icon. And what does her dancing ability have to do with feminism?? I am truly confused by this.
  5. "What I’m articulating is a familiar lament about all pop music today. It’s not art, it’s advertising."
    I'm sorry, did you hear ARTPOP?
  6. "[Pop music] certainly is not interested in expressing anything true or beautiful or good or difficult or joyous or painful."
    Okay, setting aside the entirety of "Lemonade" which fully expresses each of the aforementioned things, we could look at "Dope" by Lady Gaga. That is beauty and pain and difficult and true all in one song. Or maybe "Like A Prayer" by Madonna? The entire album. She poured her heart and soul into that album after her divorce from Sean Penn. It's joy and beauty inspired by pain. Or how about literally anything by Adele? Tons of pop music is fake as hell, but tons of it is real as hell too.
  7. "The most troubling aspect is that her music is called ”empowering.”"
    Oh boy. Here we go.
  8. "And if I can’t stop thinking about “get my swag on,” it will only be because I’m trying desperately figure out why anyone can’t stop thinking about a meaningless slogan that’s been used in approximately every rap song since 2006."
    Matt, honey, do your research. Beyonce's husband, the reason for this entire album, invented "swag" on The Black Album in 2003. He was the first rapper to ever use the term. It's not a meaningless term; it refers to a person's confidence or style. So when Beyoncé says she gets her swag on in "Hold Up", she's reclaiming her confidence and identity through a phrase originated by the man who took away that confidence.
  9. "Granted, many pop songs are profane, mind numbing garbage, but considering Beyonce’s status as Pagan Goddess of Secular America, her garbage is all the more toxic. Especially when mixed with racial exploitation. Remember, this is the woman who gave us a militant homage to the Black Panthers at the Super Bowl."
    Beyoncé is not exploiting her own race. She's embracing it (arguably, for the first time in her career). You can't deny her the right to own her blackness. And, yes, I do remember her homage to the Black Panthers. It was great. Calling it "militant" though is just repetitive. That's what the Black Panthers are. Sorry if that scares your gentle white soul.
  10. "Leaving aside for the moment the racist undertones and the fact that she dresses like a wealthy stripper,"
    If you are implying that she is racist against white people then, sir, that is not possible. You cannot be racist against white people in the same way that you can't be sexist against men. If you are implying that she is racist against black people, then you're just wrong. And please don't ever shame a woman for what she wears. It's not your body and it's not your choice. If Beyoncé wants to wear more revealing clothes, then she can. You have nothing to do with that.
  11. "This is all quite incoherent, but I was able to discern 6 messages your daughter will hear loud and clear while listening to “Lemonade:”"
    I'm sorry that you are too sheltered to understand modern urban language. Beyoncé's lyrics are far from incoherent. A majority of people living in America today would be able to easily understand what she's saying.
  12. "Lesson 1: Use sex as a weapon to possess and to gain revenge."
    This, I believe, is in response to the following lyrics: "You ain’t married to no average bitch boy/ You can watch my fat ass twist boy/ As I bounce to the next dick boy/" Sure, maybe she is using sex as a "weapon". But why do you get to decide if that is a bad thing or not? The reasons for which Beyoncé chooses to have sex are not of your concern. But I don't think she's being literal in this song. I think she's just trying to prove a point that Jay isn't alone in his ability to be promiscuous.
  13. "Lesson 2: Find self-worth in your money and the expensive things you can buy."
    Hell yeah! Beyoncé is a young black woman in America who has built a multi-million dollar empire. If that intimidates you, then that's a huge bummer. She has accomplished something that is relatively impossible and she is more than allowed to find self-worth in that. I think this is in reference to the lyric "And keep your money, I got my own" which is teaching your daughters to be financially independent. So turn that up full blast.
  14. "Lesson 3: Speak with the grace and femininity of a drunken frat boy, saying things like “suck on my b*lls.”"
    So, in order for a woman to be a role model for your daughter, she has to perform all the stereotypes attributed to her projected gender? You don't want your daughter to grow up knowing that she can hold any amount of femininity she pleases? She has to constantly tone police herself to ensure that she isn't sounding to masculine? I like my role models to be progressive and I like my role models to defy gender stereotypes.
  15. "Lesson 4: Never hesitate to f*** a b***h up."
    I'll assume this is in reference to the lyrics, "Going through your call list/ I don’t wanna lose my pride, but I’ma fuck me up a bitch/ Know that I kept it fun." Beyoncé is mad. Let her be mad. Would you want your daughter to suppress her emotions? Who would you rather your daughter listen to? Generic slice of white bread, Taylor Swift? The one who wrote a song about stalking a boy into liking her while slut shaming his girlfriend, i.e. "You Belong With Me". No thanks.
  16. "Lesson 5: Express your empowerment with middle fingers."
    "Middle fingers up, put them hands up/ Tell him boy bye" I'll give you this one. It's reasonable for you to not want your daughters to start throwing up their middle fingers. But also, I'll argue that Beyoncé is allowed to express her anger and displeasure however she pleases.
  17. "Lesson 6: Eat corn bread and collard greens."
    Oof. This just feels racist, Matt.
  18. "It should go entirely without saying, but apparently it must be said: bitterness, greed, envy, narcissism, sexual desperation and self-objectification do not empower. They diminish and demean. And they certainly don’t lead to happiness."
    But honesty empowers. Beyoncé was open and honest and real in Lemonade. She empowered women and girls to not be afraid to tell their story. She empowered women and girls to forgive. She empowered women and girls to not give up. Listen to "Freedom". It's an empowerment anthem.
  19. "Besides, Beyonce’s “I don’t need no man” mantras are undermined by her own music, which often encourages women to degrade themselves for the sake of pleasing men."
    First of all, she is allowed to change her mind and evolve emotionally. Secondly, you are referring to "Partition" from her last album, which isn't about degradation whatsoever. It's about being so passionate that she feels compelled to pleasure her husband in the back of a limo. That's classy and hot. She is allowed to perform oral sex whenever she pleases. I think she had fun. Enough fun to write an entire song about it. She is sex-positive, which is important and powerful.
  20. "But it’s perhaps an even greater concern that she released a song all about being covered in a guy’s bodily fluids. And this is the kind of thing that, based on my interactions, many mothers want their daughters to hear and take to heart."
    No, mothers do not want their daughters to take "being covered in a guy's bodily fluids" to heart. They want their daughters to take to heart the fact that a woman, a black woman, can achieve the level of success that Beyoncé has achieved through hard work and talent. They want their daughters to not feel ashamed about their sexuality. They want their daughters to be proud of their bodies.
  21. "The truth is, Beyonce’s music, like a lot of pop music, is weird, aggressive, sullen, whorish, egomaniacal, vaguely satanic and deeply stupid. I feel no remorse in saying that,"
    You should feel remorse. *You* are destroying your daughters by showing them that it's okay to call a woman "whorish" and that its okay to uphold the stereotype that black women are aggressive and sullen. Beyoncé is not egomaniacal because she loves herself. She isn't satanic because she called out the absurdity of the illuminati. And you certainly don't achieve her level of fame and success by being "deeply stupid".
  22. "There are many forces in society who share this goal, but few can be quite as effective as pop singers. Once a culture abandons god, celebrities like Beyonce step into the void [...] the modern pagans have Beyonce and her fellow deities in Hollywood and the recording industry."
    Ha! I do not worship Beyoncé. It is possible to hold just about any religious belief and also enjoy pop music. Beyoncé herself is a Christian and therefore, a wonderful Christian role model.
  23. "Indeed, music is and has always been a powerful art form, but in a country where the pews are empty, it becomes a religion."
    Ah! I get it now! This is a religious thing! You should have said that at the beginning! Then I would have fully ignored this entire thing!
  24. "So, no, your daughter is not just having fun and gaining ”confidence” when she listens to Beyonce. She is worshiping at an altar. She is adopting an ideology. She is learning things."
    Yes! She is learning things! She's learning how to be strong, independent, and happy. Good for her!