Tag Archives: community

Beyoncé Redefines Perfection, Sex, and Flawlessness

17 Jan

Beyoncé has been constantly working toward perfection her entire life. She reminds the listener of this frequently over the course of her newest album, BEYONCÉ, with audio clips from her youth, when she competed in pageants and talent shows. She uses this device best as the prelude to “Flawless,” a reworked and expanded version of a song she released earlier this year as “Bow Down/I Been On.” In just four minutes, “Flawless” shifts from a Hit-Boy produced banger celebrating her competitive drive, to an excerpt from a TED Talk by Nigerian feminist writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie about how society places limits on the ambitions of women, to a final sequence in which Bey both mocks the idea of effortless beauty and exhorts her female fans to love the way they look.

“I woke up like this, I woke up like this,” she sings with a wink just before delivering the line, “We flawless, ladies tell ‘em!” with zero irony whatsoever. There are a lot of ideas packed into this relatively brief song, and they don’t all add up, but the conflicts in “Flawless” inform everything else on the album.

BEYONCÉ is the work of an artist who is doing her best to make sense of her role as a feminist pop icon, and working out a way to have a positive influence on culture without apologizing for or disowning anything she’s ever done. She’s putting the idea of flawlessness in scare quotes, and attempting to demystify herself so fans can recalibrate their expectations for themselves and envision a form of perfection that’s within their reach.

She’s asking women to be beautiful on their terms, and for themselves. She’s framing ambition and the will to succeed as a greater virtue than simply seeking the attention of men. She’s declaring that women should not be ashamed of loving sex, and asserting that they should be as open about their desires as men. These ideas have always been big part of Beyoncé’s music, but “Flawless” revises and clarifies those thoughts. BEYONCÉ at large is a manifesto in the form of a stylish, creatively adventurous, and resolutely adult R&B record.

Girls on the Run

16 Oct

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Girls on the Run is a non-profit program that provides pre-adolescent girls with the necessary tools to embrace their individual strengths and successfully navigate life experiences. It inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running. Ultimately, participants will realize their limitless potential, and learn to activate it in order to pursue their dreams.

I read in the local paper that a chapter was opening up in my town. I thought it would be a great idea to volunteer as a coach, or running buddy. I love the idea of teaching young girls to be confident and respect themselves through running and give them a feeling of accomplishment through a big 5K event. With low self-esteem, peer pressure, and poor fitness among the problems facing young people today it’s great to see my community recognizing and addressing the problem head-on. Girls, especially at a younger age, need to be aware of, and aided in breaking out of the limitations often placed upon them by society.

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