Originally, I was very skeptical that Lemonade would live up to all of the hype that I had heard about it. I was very surprised, because it clearly displayed a well thought out commentary and criticism about racial violence in the police force, how the government dealt with Hurricane Katrina, and feminism in today’s culture. When Dr. Nardone talked about the criticisms of Lemonade, I found that they were all not particularly feminist. For example, bell hooks criticized Beyonce for the end of Lemonade where she describes getting back together with her husband despite his adultery. The idea that women must divorce their husbands if they cheat is incredibly anti-feminist. The point of feminism is that women can make choices for themselves, and don’t have to follow what others say or do. Beyonce chose to stay with her husband because despite his unfaithfulness, she still loved him and thought their relationship was worth staying together for. I think that this criticism of women comes up a lot in our culture. No matter what women decide to do, their decisions are criticized because women are less respected, and so are their decisions. Adultery is one area where women are unfairly criticized. For example, when Hillary Clinton decided to stay with Bill Clinton after he cheated on her, many people disapproved of her decision. Adultery is incredibly personal, and I believe that no one can pass judgement on a woman’s choices to do what she wants in her relationships.
I thought Dr. Nardone’s presentation was very interesting, especially because she broke down each aspect of Lemonade. I thought that the idea of not being able to dismantle the house using the master’s tools was very interesting. The idea is that by playing within the rules, one will never be able to break down those rules. I disagree with this in Beyonce’s case because without playing by the rules, she would not have been able to produce and create such a groundbreaking album. Another aspect that I found interesting was the idea of The Gaze. The Male Gaze shows everything that is wrong with our culture. Women are often looked at as objects by men, and nothing else. Beyonce directed the gaze very effectively throughout Lemonade by looking directly at the camera, or deliberately not looking at the camera.
At the start of the album Beyonce talked about trying to change for Jay Z, and I found that very interesting. Women often are expected to change in order to please men and make them more comfortable. Beyonce talks about doing this, but in the end she shows how incredibly feminist she is by rejecting that, especially in the song Sorry, where she refuses to apologize for what she has done. Women are expected to change not only what they do, but their decisions to make others more comfortable, whereas men can make outlandish points and still be respected.Overall, I really enjoyed Lemonade and Dr. Nardone’s presentation. Beyonce is clearly a feminist, and Lemonade does a great job at showcasing her views. I think that Beyonce did a great job at telling a story about adultery, racism and injustice.