I happened to like Beyoncé’s halftime show at the Superbowl.
But I also happen to like Beyoncé.
Perhaps it’s because Beyoncé, whether she means to or not, promotes a pro-family version of feminism.
She more or less said in an interview that her husband, Jay-Z, is the only man that she has ever slept with. In that same interview, she describes herself as a feminist, and says that relationships with strong women helped keep her from falling into “unhealthy relationships,” a polite way of saying lots of hooking up and sex.
She is of the rare celebrity breed that a) still gets married, and b) actually waits to have babies until married.
Even outside of the Hollywood bubble that is still a pretty big accomplishment these days, when the number of babies born out of wedlock has soared in recent years. It’s sort of sad to say Beyoncé can be a role model for today’s women, but, in a sense, it is true.
And while she has had some music lows, arguably the most popular song of her career–the song that really solidified her brand–was “Single Ladies,” in which she admonishes single women to tell men, “If you like it, then you better put a ring on it.”
She didn’t shy away from that one last night, completely stopping mid-song to dramatically gesture to her ring finger.
But Beyoncé truly won the world, and me, when she became a mom.
In a world that turns mothers against their babies and their own nature, Beyoncé embraced motherhood in a way that no woman in public life in my lifetime ever as, other than maybe Sarah Palin?
Beyoncé said that her baby’s first heartbeat, heard on a sonogram, “was the most beautiful music I ever heard in my life.”
But my personal favorite Beyoncé moment was when she broke Twitter records (beating the death of Osama bin Laden) at the 2011 MTV VMA’s while performing “Love on Top,” when she tore off her jacket and revealed a budding baby bump.
The world literally freaked out, sending close to 9,000 Tweets per second.
It’s perfectly right that life should beat death, even on Twitter. And people simply love babies, and Beyoncé gave the world the chance to rejoice in the news of an unborn baby.
Many criticize Beyoncé for her skimpy attire, and this is fair. But I would suggest that she is soulful. She typically reveals her thunder thighs rather than her breasts, and her legs are something to behold when she dances.
She is a truly incredible dancer, and the feminine strength she brings to the stage is reminiscent of the spiritual energy that David LaChapelle captured in his 2005 documentary, Rize, about krumping in South Central L.A. Krumping is a form of street dance characterized by its highly expressive, almost violent energy that involves a lot of hip slamming and chest shaking. The documentary follows a movement started by Tommy the Clown to use krumping as a means to lure troubled youths away from sex, drugs, and alcohol.
While scenes, especially those of women, krumping in the documentary might raise eyebrows, it’s not a sexual dance. It’s angry, and painful, and soulful, and actually rather heartbreaking to watch. Krumping is emotion working its way from the inside out through the body.
And that’s just it. Beyoncé comes from the inside out. And she’s selling soul, not sex.
Traditional conservatives may not like that she shows so much thigh or stumps for the president. But when I watch her perform, one hand on the stage, waist-length mane in the air, stilettos slamming and chords filling the Superdome to the brim, for a moment I can forget all that. For a moment I can just appreciate an incredibly talented, strong, and fearless woman who loves babies and marriage and isn’t afraid to show it.