Great piece from Independent Voices on the name of Beyoncé’s upcoming world tour: The Mrs. Carter Show – pointing out the gender inequalities surrounding changing one’s name after marriage. However, the author could have gone a little further in its analysis of Bey and what her image means for women. Take for instance the o2 promo clip for the tour, which is problematic for various reasons, but especially for the implication that Beyoncé has become Queen Bey since becoming Mrs. Carter. I suppose we shouldn’t have expected much from the woman who wrote Independent Women for her band Destiny’s Child, who then went on to record the anti-feminist Cater to You. No one should expect real female empowerment from the entertainer who ditched band mates like the rest of us dump old pairs of shoes and eventually called it quits on Destiny’s Child when she had gotten the exposure she needed to launch her solo career. Furthermore, since the launch of her career (beginning with her small, blaxploitation inspired role in Austin Powers III as well as her contribution to the film’s soundtrack) she has leaned heavily on the influence of her husband Jay Z (real name Shawn Carter), through their multiple music collaborations to gain her even more exposure and street cred. Regardless of the indisputable success gained from consorting with Hova, his influence has been detrimental to Beyoncé’s pro-woman stance, as I have pointed out in a previous blog post over at Rants & Raves.
True, we should know better by now not to believe in Beyoncé’s faux-feminism, especially when she has a hit record that effectively demands marriage as the ultimatum to a break up. Not that there’s anything wrong with getting married of course – that would go against the ethos of this blog! Marriage is great in a relationship where both parties value the institution of marriage and in a relationship that is ready for marriage. But the worrying impression from the song Single Ladies (Put a ring on it) is that women and relationships are only validated through marriage.
This is further sustained with the Mrs. Carter Show – as if to say Beyoncé has finally arrived now that she is married, now that she is Jay Z’s wife. It doesn’t show the power or independence that Beyoncé – rather ironically – discusses in her recent GQ interview. To the contrary. Like the photos taken for this interview, her upcoming world tour (in name as well as the cabaret style performances which explicitly cater to heterosexual male fantasies), will do the exact opposite of what Beyoncé claims she does for women. Like her song and music video Upgrade You Beyoncé will continue to conjure old-fashioned and out-dated definitions of marriage and solidify women as only validated as the objectified possessions of men – in name and in life.