The woman I want to see – and I feel no one represents – is strong and powerful and tireless, but only because she has lost everything she was afraid to lose. I want a female hero who resents the hero label, who is crushed under its weight. She runs the world, but she is perpetually bored. She has endless power but is tired of needing to execute it. She is tired of being strong, or of pretending to be strong. She can do what men do, but does she really want to? She looks great in stilettos and a tight dress; she is forced to wear runners and jeans. Beyonce is not delivering that, thus steering clear of problematizing her agenda in any way. Instead, she goes for the obligatory shock factor with a bunch of shallow symbols that stand for nothing but themselves.
Lady Gaga said once that whether the response to her music is negative or positive, it’s good to have response; she is afraid to produce a song that causes no reaction. In a sense, this is a short summary of modern culture. Such a philosophy cancels the importance of a core idea behind a work of art. Because when you do have an idea, a clear vision, negative response crushes you; your vision equals your world. Those who agree are your soul mates; those who don’t are your enemies. And if you don’t want to fight them till your last breath, you are a whore. Beyonce definitely struggles to take a risk in "Run The World (Girls)" while playing it relatively safe, since all of the risks with licking fingers and leg spreading are as ancient as sex itself. Like Gaga, she is desperate for a reaction. But where is the vision? With a vision, everything is a symbol. What about the saliva-dripping hyenas? What do they represent? Exactly nothing. They just make an edgy image.
When my daughter wants a new toy, I tell her to concentrate not on what she doesn’t have, but on what she does. So that’s exactly what I will do: "Run the World (Girls)" has style, catchy lines, flashy visuals, urgency and edge. It has breathtaking choreography sequences. It’s perfect entertainment.
The New Woman
Besides that, I have a feeling Beyonce is introducing another alter ego of hers. (Whether it is fashioned to further disguise who she is as a person or to reveal that, on the contrary, is unclear. Some complain no one knows who the real Beyonce is. There is no need for that. She is an artist. She should be judged as an artist; for dirt, there is reality TV and the neighbours. If anything, I think it’s a smart move, and I love me another doll to play with.) The best glimpse of that woman is in the shot with her vein popping, her mouth askew, her eyes hard. It looks like she is ready to puke Sartre’s nausea of the world, Danny Boyle Infected style. This woman is something different, and maybe Beyonce hasn’t noticed her yet, but she is already out there. This woman is about to snap, transform, mutate; she has the blackness of Joanna Eberhart’s doll double in her eyes. Beyonce hinted at her before (the mannequins in "Diva") and her face is a glimpse into the darkness to come amidst this colorful, female (chauvinist) jingoism fest.