Rebecca de Winter
I like to keep an eye on whatever is trending on Twitter, because it’s occasionally a good barometer of important current events, news, controversies, and fads.
So the other night I noticed #Beyonce and #LEMONADE trending, and decided to check it out.
I found out that #LEMONADE referred to a visual album recently released by Beyoncé.
There were endless tweets about how “empowering” the Lemonade experience was.
WOW. How can I get some of that empowerment?
I watched clips of the videos, listened to some of the music, and read the lyrics.
I found treasured gems such as:
“How did it come to this / Going through your call list / I don’t wanna lose my pride but I’mma fuck me up a b***h.”
“I smell that fragrance on your Louis V, boy / Just give my fat ass a big kiss, boy / Tonight I'm f*****g up all your s**t, boy.”
“You can watch my fat ass twist boy/As I bounce to the next d**k boy.”
So empowering, amirite? Then she takes the philandering man back. According to some, this is a “powerful” ode for feminists to admire.
Even Obama thinks that Beyoncé is a wonderful role model for his girls.
* * *
What has happened to the word “empowering?” Although the word traditionally meant giving or delegating authority to, today it has become shorthand for “You Go Girl!” when a woman does something most sane people would consider repugnant (or at least in poor taste).
I’d be fine with that, only I have a 13-year-old daughter who is transitioning from childhood into a whole new world. I’m concerned about the legitimacy of the idols of “women’s empowerment” the media is foisting upon her and other young women.
I don’t have anything against Beyoncé. She’s a modern success story, and a savvy marketer of her entertainment empire — good for her. Just don’t try to tell me her raunchy lyrics are “empowering.”
For the record, I don’t believe one has to be a prude to be an inspiring role model. But could we — I don’t know, just spitballing here — at least aim for a modicum of dignity?
* * *
A quick dip into the cesspool of modern culture’s idea of the most inspiring, empowering women confirmed my worst fears: a large portion of the most celebrated women of our current era make my skin crawl. And Beyoncé looks quite pious in comparison to many of them.
Let’s take a stroll through the garden of contemporary role models and trends (according to social media, at least - and teens are estimated to spend nine hours a day enjoying screen time):
Amber Rose, née Levonchuck — American stripper, model, and feminist activist — took off on Twitter last fall with her inaugural “Slut Walk” in downtown Los Angeles. The event was created in response to combat “slut shaming,” and was hailed by many as — you guessed it, “empowering.”
Modern day version of “empowering”
Rose recently announced she would be hosting another SlutWalk event, by posting a picture of herself revealing her nipple in support of the #freethenipple, uh, “movement.”
“Free the Nipple” touts itself as a champion of women’s equality because being topless is against the law in some places and apparently that is now considered “oppression.”
Their mission? To...wait for it….EMPOWER women.
I’m sure Gandhi would be thrilled
* * *
Next up on our tour, the inimitable Lena Dunham — American actress, writer, director, producer, and feminist activist.
Best known for her hit HBO series, “Girls,” Dunham has also made waves for molesting her little sister, and insinuating a man raped her in her memoir (come to find out, falsely). She’s on a roll lately, proclaiming white men don’t know what it’s like to be under attack, and if she woke up as a man, she would kill herself.
Dunham was featured as one of Time magazine’s “100 most influential icons” of 2013. Make of that what you will.
* * *
To wrap up our tour of modern empowering women, I submit Amy Schumer, actress and stand-up comedian (who has been repeatedly accused of joke stealing).
Although she made millions using her “I’m a slut and proud of it” shtick on her show “Inside Amy Schumer” and movie “Trainwreck,” she turned around and shamed a young man on Twitter for trying to make a lame slut joke. Not cool, Amy.
While she takes pride in her gun control activism, she is also admired and celebrated for her “bravery” in posing nude for a photo shoot (“Empowering!” the headline reads), and posing for another picture wearing only a tee-shirt, with her crotch seemingly on fire.
A video aimed at young girls as a source of inspiration featured child actors portraying Schumer and Beyoncé. I found it interesting that the background music was “I’m Worth It,” by Fifth Harmony, described as an urban pop song about hooking up with a man at the club while maintaining control.
If these women are examples of empowerment, I’ll skip it, thanks. And stay the heck away from my kids.
Meanwhile in Kurdistan:
These jihadist-killing female fighters were unavailable for comment
Finally, here are just a few of the women I am teaching my daughter about (rarely celebrated on social media) so she can learn the true meaning of empowerment:
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Christina Hoff Sommers
Pro-life women heroes
Yazidi women kicking ISIS’ ass
Just a gaggle of people from all over who have similar interests and loud opinions mixed with a dose of humor. We met on Twitter.