Beyoncé’s Halftime Performance: Commendable or Contemptible?

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On Monday February 4th, the news, social media sites, and school hallways were abuzz with talk of one thing, and one thing only- Beyoncé’s halftime performance at the Super Bowl. Teenagers were particularly enamored with the star’s performance. Statuses, profile pictures and cover photos were dedicated in her honor and even I admit to shouting, “She is fierce,” while my friends nodded in agreement. However, members of older generations were not nearly as taken with Beyoncé’s show as we teens. After every person in my history class vehemently praised her, my teacher shrugged and asked us what the big deal was- wasn’t she just grinding on stage? This got me thinking- during her performance, when she wasn’t singing, Beyoncé did spend the majority of her time grinding. Yet somehow, her provocative dance moves made her seem even more confident and strong. I grudgingly admitted to myself that Beyoncé’s strength and “fierceness” stemmed from her using her sexuality for power. But something about this admission didn’t feel right- she didn’t have the same air of someone trying pathetically hard, like Kim Kardashian. Her dance moves at the halftime show felt more like a joyful celebration of her physique rather than an insecure use of her body to gain respect. Therefore, assuming that a girl is confident and comfortable with herself, is it wrong for her to use her sexuality for power?

The way I see it, today in our society a woman has to choose one of two routes if she intends to become powerful: she can use her body to work her way up or she can become the intimidating, masculine, generally disliked “ball-buster.” A perfect example of these two scenarios is the conflict between Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin during the 2008 presidential election. The Saturday Night Live skit featuring Tina Fey as Sarah Palin and Amy Poehler as Hillary Clinton satirized the boxes that women in politics are put into and the absurd labels they are forced to adopt. Throughout the skit Fey winks, giggles and accentuates her stupidity while Poehler, with the look of someone crazed with sleep deprivation, makes snide, ruthless comments about how she wants to be president.

Like any young person I aspire to be successful and influential; however, the available methods of obtaining these goals as a female don’t appeal to me. It’s upsetting to think that I might be deterred from joining the male-dominated corporate world in fear that one of these labels will be forced on me too. Although these values and stereotypes have been socially constructed, the chances of women ever being able to actively change them are slim. Therefore, kudos to Beyoncé for coming off confident and powerful- it’s the best she could do to demonstrate her happiness in a society quick to demean and discriminate against women.
Image from: http://bleacherreport.com

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9 responses to “Beyoncé’s Halftime Performance: Commendable or Contemptible?

  1. I honestly believe that it is wrong for a women to use their sexuality for power. Beyonce is a female artist who has dignity and a lot of self-confidence and is comfortable with herself. Because of her dignity, that explains why you rarely see her be the center of attention to the media (except for the time when she was pregnant). On the other hand, there are other celebrities like Kim Kardashian who does so many thing to maintain that attention and power which eventually backfires on them, Therefore, I think it’s best to say that in order to get real respect form society, people, specifically women, have to do whatever they can to be successful but still maintain control of their actions

    • I am 100% on Brandon’s side. I do not believe that it is okay for a women to use their sexuality for power. Although many people may believe that Beyonce’s Super Bowl performance was purposely sexual, I believe that this mindset is misleading because she was doing her job as an entertainer. There is clear evidence that Beyonce is not trying to sexual, rather putting on a show as seen in a recent performance where a fan slapped her butt and she stopped the show and had the fan reprimanded. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/28/beyonce-butt-slapped-copenhagen-show_n_3345498.html

  2. I used to think that it was wrong and underhanded for a woman to use her sexuality to get ahead; however, women’s sexuality is an integral part of who they are and ignoring that won’t benefit anybody. I’m still unsure of where I stand regarding this dilemma- I’m not openly supporting women using their sexuality for power, but then again why shouldn’t they be able to use everything they have to climb up the hierarchy, especially in a male-dominated society? In a perfect world a women’s sexuality could be disregarded and she could be viewed solely based on her intellect; however, we all know that won’t be happening anytime soon. Women who are extremely ambitious and aggressive (ex. Hillary Clinton) are characterized as unfeminine, which isn’t fair to them. However, I do agree with you about Beyonce. She is an exception: her physical fierceness stems from her mental self-confidence and dignity, and I respect that.

  3. The only reason Beyonce has this sexual power is because we, the audience and the fans gave it to her. we allowed her to become this sex icon in a way. we praised her for her provocative dance moves and she gave the audience what they wanted. i think that she did absolutely nothing wrong and she’s doing what she not only feels comfortable with but also what her fans want which is simply sex but “fierceness” and just a strong women role model who’s not afraid to dance and sing the ways she does.

  4. You can’t blame it on Beyonce because as the audience we encourage it. If stars don’t act like, meaning having a bit of sexual dances like grinding, people call the performance boring or prude-ish. This is what our generation is and we’ve allowed it to happen. Furthermore, I believe Beyonce does it with confidence and doesn’t really use it to be skanky. She doesn’t try to make it seductive, its more of in a fun way. Also, when people are famous there are always negative feedback and positive feedback, so it depends on how you take it. Personally, I don’t think there was nothing wrong with this type of performance because we the audience encourage it and like rebecca said she has become a sex icon. This is just who she is and how she choses to represent herself

    • I agree fully with Diana. Our generation has become one that gives more (negative or positive) attention to traditionally “indecent” or “provocative”. Beyonce has her own style as an artist which defines her from all the other fake pop/soul/r&b artists: she is genuine. MAny other people involved in this business are greedy for fame and only care about the quantity of money, but not the quality of their songs. Most of them want just to be on the cover of the next magazine, so they tend to act provocatively. Beyonce is only motivated by passion. She is so talented in many ways, but she is humble and articulate, and that separates her from most of the other people. She should be able to show all her talents off with confidence, because I think that’s what she stands for. One can be talented, and recognized for it but still be decent and humble on the inside. Beyonce finds the middle road of the two that were talked about in this article. Just because the majority of celebrities are not like this at all should not mean that Beyonce should automatically be placed as using her sexuality for power or more fame.

  5. I have to agree with Anya996 when she says that sometimes females need to use their sexuality in a male dominated society! The first comments about how females shouldn’t use their sexuality for power is something I disagree with because I think sometimes it’s necessary due to what Anya said about it being a male dominated society! I believe that females should be able to do what they have to do to help themselves. I think that people and ESPECIALLY females who normally fall into the stereotype of either being conservative and proper or completely outrageous and sexual should be able to express themselves in any way without judgement. Although this hope I have for women to be able to not be judged will most likely never completely happen I think that for now it’s important to just accept what a woman wants to do with herself. For me it gets tiring having to read articles about people not agreeing on the way someone should act because I believe that it’s persons decision.

  6. After being told that we aren’t citizens for so long and being pushed to the back seat there is a need to stand out to be heard. Though there is a limit to how much sexuality you should use I don’t see anything wrong with it. This is a society, especially in America, where it’s alright to be who you are and if you want to express it in a sexual way who am I to tell you any different or judge you.Beyonce uses it to have fun and to extend her energy she to her fans.

  7. Beyonce can basically do whatever she wants and for the most part shouldn’t be judge for it. Be your own dude and don’t judge Beyonce’s actions.

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