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An Open Letter to Michelle Obama: Beyonce is Not a Role Model

I loved this piece so much, I thought it is the type of thing I would have written. Somehow I get the feeling “King Bey” is on the cusp of a media chew-and-spit.

Beyonce by E! Online

Beyonce by E! Online

By Rakhi Kumar

Dear Michelle Obama,

I’m addressing this to you because I admire you. Because you’re smart and a mum to two young girls. And you’re the First Lady of the USA. And because you were recently quoted as saying that Beyonce is a great ‘role model’ to your two daughters, and because you recently tweeted, after the Superbowl, that you were ‘so proud’ of her.

I’m writing because everything you do is admired and emulated by so many; but when you endorse a recording artist like Beyonce, I see the mostmisogynistic aspects of the music industry (that prefers girls to be no more complex than dolls) interpret your comments as a seal of approval for the thoughtless cultural currency that they flood the youth market with. I’m writing because I think it’s time to stop suggesting to very young girls that ultimate feminine success – in the music industry or anywhere else – comes with the need, or the expectation for them to undress.

When Beyonce kicked off her Mrs. Carter Show World Tour two nights ago, wearing her sheer bodysuit with nipples showing, to me she performed the final degradation of her talent; a retrogressive transformation that has taken someone stellar and otherworldly, and made them into something dreadfully familiar and sad.

Variations of Beyonce’s body suit can be found in brothels, strip clubs, and red light districts across the world – where sex is for sale and it happens to be dispensed through a woman’s body. That she is a human being with feelings and dreams, perhaps a sister, a mother, a leader, a teacher, a student – ALWAYS – a daughter – all of this can be forgotten. In those surroundings a suit like Beyonce’s would look far from glamorous. Maybe just downright heartbreaking as a woman somewhere becomes an object, available for the gratification of a desire – at a price dictated by her ‘managers’.

Beyonce by Vibe

Beyonce by Vibe

Next time you’re presented with a shortlist of people in popular culture who you should spend time with or commend, think about how many young girls want to be just like Beyonce: Beyonce who sings ‘Bow Down Bitch’ and wears sheer bodysuits and high heels, singing about making money and being independent.

Finish reading here.

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