Bow Down, Bitches

I am renouncing my love of Beyonce. I know she will be heartbroken upon hearing that I won’t be one of the many bitches bowing down to her. I loved her last week and today I’m breaking up with her (my workout playlist won’t follow though.) That’s how it goes in pop culture.

There’s no denying that Beyonce is an amazing performer and singer. She’s strong. She’s independent. Jay-Z took her last name. If that’s not fucking fierce then I don’t know what is. I mean, symbolically, right? Regardless, the world doesn’t need to be reassured of her talent. We would all much rather watch a Beyonce performance than be alone with our thoughts.

The thing is when a public figure gains that much power and ego, their hubris is bound to manifest itself in some form. According to Aristotle, hubris is to ill treat others for the sake of one’s own superiority. Beyonce tells us, hey I’m where you dreamed of being but I got here first and I own it. Don’t forget it, bow down bitches.

That’s when I said, “Um, no. I don’t think so Beyonce.”  That’s a Kanye move and nobody likes Kanye. Bey doesn’t get a pass on this one just because she’s fierce or independent. On the contrary, it’s because of those qualities that I expect better. I expect people like Kim K. to stoop that low and call other women bitches, not Beyonce. I always thought she was classy. I’m not saying she isn’t allowed to say bad words or say the word Bitch. I’m saying it’s irresponsible to give the impression that words like that are ok simply because you’ve earned your place in a society that is constantly trying to bring women and people of color down. And I guess one can argue that she isn’t an ambassador of women. She doesn’t speak for all women when she sings out the word Bitch. That I should leave her alone because I’m just a hater. Truth is, she is a public figure, she’s a role model, she sang (uh, “sang”) the National Anthem. She was picked out to do so because of her influence on society. When one gets to that level, there is a certain responsibility. In this world of 248 characters or less, words have an immense impact, especially if you’re Beyonce.

Bey has never admitted to being a feminist. She believes in equality and women empowerment but she’s not a feminist. Duh. I used to feel this way. I don’t know if I was just afraid of the word or I just wanted to be the really chill girl among the boys. Probably both. As I matured, I realized “Oh fuck, I am a feminist.” I stopped caring what other people thought. I stopped caring about the cool boys club. Especially since that cool boys club would overuse the word Bitch all the time. Ho and slut came in a real close second and third. But it wasn’t just the boys overusing it. The girls too. It sounds so much worse when it comes from girls. I used to think it was just a word but so is n-i-g-g-e-r.

I don’t know who came up with the bullshit saying “sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me.” They must have been a bitch ass nigger. Oh, they’re just words right?

No they’re not. Bones heal, unless you break your spine and you can never walk again in which case, I’m sorry. But most bones heal; words stick to your memory forever. When I need an excuse to cry I think about the kids that called me ugly, fat, werewolf, negra fea and Quasimodo. These words still bring up a lot of painful memories. They’re the reason why I can’t look in the mirror and feel good about myself, even after 18-20 years. I don’t think about those kids as grownups with problems, families, jobs, no they’re saved in the time capsule of my insecurities. I once saw one of my tormentors at a party after graduating high school. I was drunk and I told him, “Hey you used to torture me in junior high!” He told me he didn’t even realize we went to the same junior high.

It’s alarmingly too casual to say words like bitch. Just like the word nigger, it has been recycled and processed into a false state of mind. Women will use it to describe themselves, “I’m a bad bitch.” Women will use it to defame each other “She’s just a stupid bitch.” I think it’s a word that brings all of us down. In the popular satirical Adult Swim show, The Boondocks, there is a perfect scenario. Two black men bump into each other and start shooting at each other for the sake of their pride. Huey, the militant socially conscious 10 year old, describes this as a “nigga” moment. Later on in the episode, his grandfather is beat up by a blind hate filled black man. His pride is hurt so he sets up a public fight to prove his manhood. A crowd shows up and starts placing bets. Huey meditates on the meaning of all this and concludes that when there are two types of “nigga” moments. A private “nigga” moment shames each individual. A public “nigga” moment shames a whole race. His grandfather ends up killing the old blind man. At the end of the episode, Huey, his brother and his grandfather bring flowers to the old man’s parking space and start praying. Riley, the brother, asks why they have to do that if the grandfather killed him in the first place. Huey narrates that even though the world was better off without the old mean blind man, as black people they have to stick together. What Huey comes to realize is that the number one threat to black people isn’t cops or white people; it’s themselves because they can’t stick together.

My mom owns her own business; she refuses to help any like minded women. In her struggle, women were always bitches to her. My girlfriends will constantly refer to other women they know and don’t know as dumb bitches. My sister wrote to her boyfriend that my mom is a big bitch. Beyonce demands we plebian bitches bow down to her.

In this society where we blame rape victims, where politicians need a definition of rape, where they need clarification on how the female reproductive system works, where pop hits have choruses like “you’re a stupid ho” and “I like bad bitches that my fucking problem,” not just as women but as human beings we need to stick together and promote positivity. Leave all egos behind.

God, if that’s not some hippie bullshit ideal…I’m a hopeless idealist. I’m a dreamer. But, I can believe right?

Words are history. Words are art. Words are memories. Words are war. Words are…my life and you don’t get a pass Beyonce.

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4 thoughts on “Bow Down, Bitches

  1. TomBoy says:

    I think that calling people names that are in essence only derogatory tends to simply breed negativity. It sounds so trite to say that nothing good comes from name calling, but honestly, isn’t it just easier to limit our interactions with people who can be easily categorized rather than spewing anger? This post is great. Thank you.

  2. jessicanix says:

    “The quill is more powerful than the sword.” An old adage, but one that I feel is still very much applicable. Hit a lot of big topics here which I always appreciate. Keep dreaming, keep the ideals. They’re all that stand between us and complete corruption.

  3. gellipower says:

    Totally agree on all levels, people have no idea how endemic this negative rhetoric has become and how damaging it is for the ideals of universal respect, tolerance and tolerance. Keep up the great work! Check us out if you get a minute x

  4. mbaignoire says:

    This post is so, so good. And yeah, you might be an idealist… but I guess I am too. Maybe one day, eh?

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