Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Lemonade

Dr. Nardone presented a very thorough and interesting argument as to why Beyoncé is a great example of a powerful feminist. Her argument included teachings from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and important background information that provided context as to why she would put out a movie like “Lemonade”. Dr. Nardone really harped on the traditional aspects of male dominance like “the gaze”, phallic symbols, and places of traditional male roles, especially being the “breadwinner” as Beyoncé is independently wealthy and does not need the support of Jay-Z. Dr. Nardone also showed how she incorporated allusions to other critical pieces in regards to feminism, race, and New Orleans. Her presentation gave a lot of context and foundation to “Lemonade” after I had already seen it.

My impression of “Lemonade” was that it was a piece of art that was loaded with symbolism and pride both racially and feministically. The reversal of classical male items like baseball bats and making the money made it evident that Beyoncé led a life that was independent of anyone else and her love of her husband even though he was cheating on him was not a sign of her cowering to traditional female roles of staying with their husband even if he was demeaning. She instead feels like she is the dominant one in the relationship and gives him mercy, thus she was the proverbial “pants” in the relationship. This work expands a large audience’s view of how women should be in society, giving them more power and showing they do not need men and have just as much autonomy as their spouses, as women should get in their “formation” and be empowered and powerful.

Beyoncé’s expansion of what a woman’s role should be reminds me of Betty Shabazz, the wife of Malcolm X. Shabazz was blind to racism growing up, but once she left for college she felt the effects of racism immediately. Along her journey in life she met Malcolm X and after various untraditional American dates they got married. Yet, this marriage was not a mutual exchange, Shabazz was expected to just be there for Malcolm X, not be anything more. But, she continuously voiced her opinions of what she was looking for in a husband and he listened and became more aware of the equality she deserved. So as he fought for rights for black people, he started to incorporate more material on the unprotected black women as heard in the excerpt from his speech featured on “Lemonade”. Betty Shabazz did not sit idly as her important husband made decisions and influenced many, just like Beyoncé used her own power to move millions instead of taking a backseat to Jay-Z.

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