Beyonce Knowles is one of the most successful artists in music history. She has won 16 Grammy Awards, is one of three artists that has had their first 4 albums debut at #1, and was also the top selling artist of the 2000's. Along with her numerous musical accolades, Forbes magazine also rated her, in 2010, as the 2nd most powerful and influential celebrity in the world, trailing only Oprah Winfrey. One of her most well-known hits is the song "If I Were A Boy". In that song, Beyonce presents an interesting viewpoint of modern society and women. The music video for the song, and the strong lyrics, helps paint a picture of her own Feminist ideas. In the song, she sings about what she would do if she acted like a man. In the music video, although she appears to be in control, she is showing all the power men have in reality. The message of Beyonce's video is demonstrating the submissive role of women in relationships, reinforcing the "player" stereotype of men, and reflecting a patriarchal/male dominated society. Even though Beyonce is in control in the video, dominating and "playing" her submissive man, Beyonce is trying, ironically, to portray how men treat women.
"I'd put myself first/ And make the rules as I go/ 'Cause I know that she'd be faithful/ Waiting for me to come home, to come home" The idea that a woman should be submissive to her man is an ideology that has been present for centuries. Waiting for your man to come home, cooking for him, and believing his lies are all part of the idea that men are dominant. Beyonce uses this ideology in her music video to demonstrate a relationship with a dominant figure and a submissive figure, except in her video, the man is submissive. In the beginning of the video, Beyonce is shown walking downstairs to a very nice homemade breakfast, made by her boyfriend. The man looks excited she has awoken and ushers her to sit and enjoy her meal with him. Yet, Beyonce takes a bite out of her toast and walks away without saying a word. The look on the mans face describes how Beyonces unappreciative and rude nature has hurt him. However, Beyonce does not even notice as she walks outside to begin flirting with her police partner. This scene is showing how men are unappreciative of their women every day in many ways, but the women still put up with it and the men still don't realize their mistake. Beyonce is showing that if she were a boy, or the dominant figure in a relationship, the oppression of her submissive partner would be very sad. Beyonce is trying to show how a submissive figure is hurt frequently and unknowingly, and this submissive figure is most always a woman.
"If I were a boy/ I would turn off my phone/ Tell everyone it's broken/ So they'd think that I was sleeping alone" A submissive figure is easily manipulated, and an oppressive figure uses this quality to an advantage. Beyonce takes a direct approach to expressing her views on the unfaithful nature of men. Beyonce sings about how she would "play" women if she were a boy. Turning off her phone so everyone would think she is faithful, yet it is the complete opposite. It is a complete manipulation. In the video, Beyonce is shown conversing with another man as her boyfriend calls. Beyonce, with the intent to "play" her boyfriend, is representing how men often selfishly avoid their girlfriends and wives so they can be unfaithful. They take this risk because they know that the submissive position of partner will not be able to confront the oppressive figure that has "played" them. The video constructs an idea that men, even though Beyonce is doing the "playing" in the video, are unfaithful, selfish, and manipulative figures that oppress faithful women.
"If I were a boy even just for a day/ I'd roll out of bed in the morning/ And throw on what I wanted/ And go drink beer with the guys" Historically, men have always been the dominant figure in society; This still holds true today. Men are dominant and control the world around them. Beyonce reinforces this idea in her music video. Beyonce, representing men, is shown doing whatever she wants, thinking of herself first. She gets out of bed and does what SHE wants. She gets what she wants, from her submissive man, and then continues on her selfish way. Beyonce is constructing the idea of a male dominated society in her song and music video. It is constructing the idea that men are first above all.
Beyonce's numerous accolades are a small achievment compared to the complex ideas that Beyonce has developed in her songs. In "If I Were A Boy", Beyonce portrays an situation where she is the dominant figure in her relationship with her submissive man. However, Beyonce is more importantly constructing an idea that WOMEN are submissive in society and MEN are dominant "players". Beyonce's song and music video illustrate the unfortunate circumstances that many women are in. She paints a picture for society to show how a women is hurt whenever she is oppressed. Beyonce paints a picture of gender.