BREAKING: Fierce Women Freak Out Conservatives

Leave it to Kathryn Jean Lopez at The National Review to lead the slut-shaming of a successful hetero-married mother of a daughter:

I don’t want to linger on this, but last night’s Super Bowl half-time show was ridiculous — and gratuitously so. Watching Twitter, it was really no surprise that men made comments about stripper poles and putting dollar bills through their TV sets, was it?

Why can’t we have a national entertainment moment that does not include a mother gyrating in a black teddy?

With the panoply of sexist and misogynist advertising framing the whole evening, THIS is what Lopez thinks is ridiculous, gratuitous, and shameful?

Hardly.

I’m with David Henson on his now-viral take on Beyonce’s Super Bowl half-time show:

Beyoncé’s performance Sunday night in New Orleans wasn’t about sex. It was about power, and Beyoncé had it in spades. ….

That a Black woman claimed and owned her power during the misogynist, consumerist celebration known as the Super Bowl only highlights Beyoncé’s brilliance and boldness.

It’s no wonder some people attempted to wrest back control over her and her body by marginalizing her performance by sexualizing it.

Was Beyoncé attractive, sexy even? To be sure. But more than anything, she was powerful. Few things are more threatening to a male audience than a beautiful, powerful woman who doesn’t need a man, or even a male gaze.

Perhaps folk didn’t consciously notice there wasn’t a single male performer on stage. But for those few minutes, there were no male voices and no male bodies in control, only women who refused to be owned. And it wasn’t women just dancing up there, though the cameras largely focused on that. The women onstage were creating, everything.  They appropriated traditional male images and transformed them female ones — not women just imitating men. They were claiming roles and instruments traditionally held by men: the horns and saxophones, the pyrotechnic guitar solo.

They were fierce, but refused to be masculinized or objectified.

Jorge Rivas over at Colorlines has more on the all-female band and the singer’s intentions behind that choice:

Beyoncé says she started the 10-piece all female band called “The Sugar Mamas” so young girls could have more role models.

“When I was younger I wish I had more females who played instruments to look up to. I played piano for like a second but then I stopped,” Beyoncé said in a statement. “I just wanted to do something which would inspire other young females to get involved in music so I put together an all-woman band.

And Ashley McGuire over at Acculturated makes a key point about the political significance of Beyonce’s dance style and her “soulful feminism:”

Traditional conservatives may not like that she shows so much thigh or stumps for the president. But when I watch her perform, one hand on the stage, waist-length mane in the air, stilettos slamming and chords filling the Superdome to the brim, for a moment I can forget all that. For a moment I can just appreciate an incredibly talented, strong, and fearless woman who loves babies and marriage and isn’t afraid to show it.

It’s too bad that Ms. Lopez can’t.

For more response to Lopez, head over to ThinkProgress.

Images via ThinkProgress & Colorlines.

 

 

About Caryn Riswold

Caryn D. Riswold is a feminist theologian in the Lutheran tradition. She is Professor of Religion and Chair of Gender and Women’s Studies at Illinois College in Jacksonville, Illinois, where she has worked for over a decade teaching undergraduates to think critically and creatively about religion. She earned her Ph.D. and Th.M. from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, holds a master’s degree from the Claremont School of Theology, and received her B.A. from Augustana College in her childhood hometown of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

  • http://inthejunipers.com M

    I’m so happy to see Beyoncé talk about the lack of female role models playing instruments. It’s been so traditionally male-oriented to play the guitar or almost any other instrument, and women are encouraged to do nothing but sing, dance, look pretty. That’s something, believe it or not, Courtney Love was talking about 20 years ago. This is awesome.

  • http://wordofawoman.com Michelle Krabill
  • pagansister

    I must admit, I was probably one of just a few people NOT watching the Superbowl thus not seeing the 1/2 time show. I have seen bits of Beyonce’s performance on various shows since Sunday. She is indeed a powerful woman, talented, and I guess for a lot of men—really scary! Tough.