Beyoncé’s Booty: Female Objectification?

The term feminism is a hard concept to wrap my mind around. When I hear it I think of strength and power and women fighting for and equal standing against a man.  As we all know our emotion and ideas can be expressed through many different artistic forms—AKA dance. The movements that a dancer can make with their bodies can practically mirror the point they are trying to express to the audience, and I believe Beyoncé does a fantastic job in portraying the strength and ambition of women in her music video, Run The World (Girls).

 Well we all can agree that of course she is stunning and she has a kicking bod but does this portray a strong independent woman or just another overly sexualized music video? Coming from a dancer’s point of view, I absolutely love the movement choices that were made in the choreography for this video. Some might consider Beyoncé to just be lustfully shaking her body and grinding her hips throughout the video, but as dancers we are able to differentiate and see the contrasting details in a woman simply making herself a sexual display and a woman empowering her body.

In the beginning of the video Beyoncé starts off dancing very small, tight, intricate movements by just isolating certain parts of her body starting with her shoulders, then chest, and finally making its way down to her legs and feet. Beyoncé doesn’t have to be half naked grinding up on some guy to be sexy. Her confidence in the way she moves and dances, even these little movements, is what makes her sexy. As the video goes on the momentum gradually increases and the movements begin to get bigger and bigger. Yes her legs might be showing and her outfits are tightfitting but as I see it the way she is executing the movements is not in a sexual way. I see strength and power behind her dancing. Just because she is shaking her hips and rolling her body doesn’t mean she is being sexual. There is definitely a line between the style she is performing and the style, let’s say, that a stripper performs. There are two completely different intentions behind these two completely different dancers.

Towards the end of the video, Beyoncé’s movement begins to be less tight and compact and more loose and free flowing, emphasized by the wind blowing through her luscious blonde hair. This change in movement I feel brings a roundabout to the point she is trying to tell. By transitioning from uptight and harsh to light and airy, Beyoncé embodies the same intense power behind her movements while at the same time proving that women can do all and be all.

Women in music videos are commonly objectified and only seen as physical beings, but this “Is not necessarily a problem.  Human beings like to look at others as physical beings, and individuals sometimes choose to present themselves as others primarily as objects through their dress or behavior. Objectification becomes an issue when it is frequent, and when people are commonly presented only as objects and not as subjects as well”(http://naomi-rockler-gladen.suite101.com/media-objectification-of-women-a52911). When Beyoncé performs she is not only an object but also a subject. She knows how to empower her body through movement while at the same time reserving her self-respect.

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The Push for Perfection

Sweat is dripping down your flushed face. Your hamstrings are trembling as you try to make your extension go just a little bit higher. The uncomfortable pain is excruciating and it will be even worse once the class is over and you are at home with bags of ice covering your body thinking of how much more you have to go on your journey to perfection. This is the story of a dancer’s life.

We push our bodies to the limit every day in class trying to improve little by little. When we are  having an off day we still try to exceed our limits and when we are having a good day we want to exceed our limits even more. As a dancer we are never completely satisfied with our work because we know that we have so much more to grow and to learn.  We may be proud that a short term goal of flexibility for example was finally reached, but that small rejoice only lasts for a second until the next goal is set and you are then on the mission to reach that one.

  I may be making dance seem like the most horrible experience any sane person could possibly imagine but if you truly understand the art, then you truly understand how rewarding it can be. Yes we come home from hours of rehearsal with split open bleeding feet, cramping hamstrings, tense shoulders, stiff necks, and shin splints but at least I know that I pushed my body to its full extent and got the most out of my experience. Wasting any moment in a class or rehearsal is that much of a delay in how you are going to progress as a dancer. If you do not have the mind set to fully engross yourself in a class squeezing every possible technical critique that you can out of it then you will never improve as a dancer.

To be a dancer you have to find your limit, hold your limit, and then push past your limit. Dancers cannot simply find their limit then stay there comfortably. In doing so their body stops working and growing stronger. Women dancers can never reach a point where they stop trying to get any better because if they do they will be instantly passed up by a dancer more willing to work harder to improve. There are so many women in the dance industry so it is extremely cut throat. Everything is a competition because you are not only competing against yourself to improve but you must also recognize that there are hundreds of dancing women around you that you have to hold your own against.

                The push for perfection is a never ending cycle of pain, agony, rejoice, and self-accomplishment. It can be the life and death of a female dancer.

Difficult things take a long time, impossible things a little longer.
~André A. Jackson