If you've been watching #Music videos lately, then you've noticed a trend. Stars like Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez are promoting "female empowerment" songs aimed at cheating lovers and deadbeat husbands, but are they really sending the right message?
Lemons and mamas
Beyonce recently stirred rumors (again) that husband Jay-Z had cheated on her with "Becky with the good hair" in her HBO special Lemonade. The visual album featured images of Beyonce destroying property and basically having a take-nothing-off-of-any-man attitude. It was very "pro-female" and "anti-male."
The singer mostly received praise from fans for the video and they took to twitter to defend her by harassing whoever they thought "Becky with the good hair" was with emojis of bees and lemons. Rachel Roy and Rachel Ray, were the prime targets of the beehive, the moniker given to Beyonce fans. Of course in Ray's case, she was the victim of mistaken identity since her name so closely resembled Roy's.
@Rachel_Roy 👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝👑🐝👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝— Joe⚜Anthony (@JELLISTEXAS) April 24, 2016
If that wasn't enough, Lopez took it a step further and released her female empowerment video, Ain't Your Momma. The video features different versions of Lopez being mistreated by men. She's a 1950's housewife, a secretary, and a business executive and all of the men in the video are jerks.
When music videos meet reality
Both videos are catchy and both inspire a longing within women to express years of being downtrodden and oppressed. The problem is that these are music videos. If any woman tried any of these tactics in real life, they are going to suffer the consequences.
Take for instance Seth Myers' spoof on Lemonade. It featured the women in his office basically going off on the male staff members for incidents like edits being done on copywriting, sketches being cut from shows and just menial problems in general. The piece is funny because the women seem like over dramatic, depressed, whiny brats and if anyone ever acted like that in a workplace environment they would be fired and then arrested. Therein lies the problem with these female empowerment videos. They work on paper and on camera but they don't translate to the real world. Yes, it's wrong that Jay-Z allegedly cheated on Beyonce, but this is not the first time that he's done it or that she's voiced it. Does anyone honestly think that he would allow Beyonce to expose his dirty secrets and participate in the video willingly? Of course not. Beyonce may be signed to Columbia Records but Lemonade was released exclusively on Tidal 24-hours before it hit iTunes. Tidal is a music streaming service that both she and Jay-Z own, which makes Jay-Z her business partner and husband. If she exposes him, not only does he look like the ultimate player for cheating on one of the most beautiful women in music, he gets the dividends from the songs that are supposed to be blasting him. He doesn't care if the world thinks he cheated on Beyonce, he's getting paid and the rumors only create more buzz for the visual album and the service. So, if that's the case, how empowering is Lemonade really?
As for Lopez's video, the lyrics are simple. "I ain't gon' be cooking all day, I ain't your mama. I ain't gon' be doing your laundry, I ain't your momma." These aren't words of an oppressed wife, these are basic chores that everyone has to do. If you're a wife, typically these are chores that you have to do otherwise, you're going to be called a bad wife. Now in some households the men do these chores and the wives go to work and that's fine too, but these are the responsibilities of marriage no matter whose role it is. If the party assigned to these chores decides to let the laundry pile up and the cooking not get done, it's almost a guarantee that there's going to be a divorce in the near future. So, if there is any lesson to be learned, maybe it's that women should look at what they find empowering about themselves rather than look to musicians to tell them what it is.