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The Greyhound

Backlash for Beyoncé’s new album is unjustified and sexist

A few of the tracks on Beyoncé’s new eponymous album Beyoncé shed some light on the incredibly private relationship between Beyoncé and Jay-Z. These have attracted a great deal of criticism because of the songs’ intensely sexual content. Comments have been made on her parenting, stating that she is being irresponsible or a bad mother because of these songs. Some go as far to say she is exploiting her child by using a clip of her child’s voice in one song. The one aspect of this album that is overshadowed by the sexuality is that in its entirety, the album is a complete picture of Beyoncé’s life at this moment. Unfortunately, this raw honesty has drawn unjustified accusations of attention-seeking, and comparisons to Miley Cyrus.

The album has 14 tracks and 17 music videos, and each tells part of a story. It flows from topic to topic, beginning with “Pretty Hurts.” This song refers to her time in beauty pageants and how large a role beauty plays in our society, and the album continues in that manner. Some of the songs address aspects of the human condition, like jealously or the loss of innocence, and it provides a really solid message for self-acceptance.

With the invention of social media, everyone is able to have their voice heard. And parents have been the loudest. After the first 5 minutes of the 56th Grammy Awards, the only thing anyone spoke about was Beyoncé’s performance. The reactions ranged from “wow” to complete distaste. While the routine was simple, it was definitely provocative, which is exactly where parents chimed in. Almost instantly comparisons were made between this performance and Miley Cyrus’ VMAs, equivocating them to scandalous shows that are not appropriate for television. If the two performances were watched side-by-side, it would be clear that one was more unseemly than the other. But because of this comparison, some called Beyoncé’s moral character into question and commented on the fact that she is a mother.

When did motherhood confine a woman to certain actions? The combination of her album, this performance and her child has somehow altered some of the public opinion about Beyoncé, claiming that she should “know better” or have “higher regard for herself and women.” But what exactly did she do that was so wrong? She got up on stage and performed an awesome duet with her spouse. While it was an explicit song, why does her parenting ability have to come into question? And even more questionable, Jay-Z is not held to this same hyper-critical standards. There were two people on stage that night and two people on the track. When did a decision to have a child draw a dividing line into acceptable and unacceptable acts with regard to art?

Despite the gender gap, what is most startling about the recent commentary on Beyoncé is the lack of appreciation for the feat. Putting out an album alone must be an incredible task, and on top of that to do it in secret? While some of the content is explicit in nature, that is what the explicit label is for. And as for the motherhood debate, if Beyoncé had covered herself up and entirely changed her attitude and demeanor after having a child, it would have destroyed her unique and sexually free identity as a woman. Just because she is now Mrs. Carter does not mean she has to in turn abandon what makes her Beyoncé.

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Backlash for Beyoncé’s new album is unjustified and sexist