Dear Beyonce: Girls Do NOT Run the World

by Britni Danielle

Much has been made about Beyonce’s latest single, “Run the World (Girls).” From Bey stans loving the video and choreography, to others complaining about the busyness of the track, Beyonce’s “Girls” hasn’t quite had the impact she, or her label, might have liked.

An interesting thing that has grown out of the single and Beyonce’s reemergence on the music scene, however, has been a discussion of feminism. Clutch’s Arielle Loren and Jezebel’s Dodai Stewart both wondered if Beyonce’s brand of girl power was just another side of contemporary feminism or a ploy to make money. Although both writers came to different conclusions, their articles sparked an interesting conversation—is Beyonce really a feminist or just a woman who knows that empowerment anthems (usually) sell?

Last week, video blogger and self-described “thinker,” NineteenPercent, posted a response to Beyonce’s “Girls” video. In her video response, NineteenPercent wonders how girls or women can really run the world when we are constantly discriminated against.

Although NineteenPercent says the “video is not about Beyonce” specifically, using the song to spark a discussion about the standing of women—who are the majority of the population—seems like the perfect tie-in.

Check out NineteenPercent’s video, “Beyonce-Run the Worl (Lies)” and let us know what you think!

  • http://twitter.com/megstar212 Megan Walter

    Thank You, Nineteen Percent! A clear argument with substance and statistics that makes a lot of sense. Go ‘head!!

  • Ooh La La

    I agree. Honestly, when I first heard the message of the song, I thought that she was just trying to ride out the “female empowerment” success of “Single Ladies” to a slightly different approach. Only this message is far more harmful because it’s deceptive. Women are not empowered anywhere. We are still the minority, and no one, man or woman, is going to change their opinion because of this little song.

  • oh na na

    beyonce is grown. when will she start referring to herself as a woman and not a girl?

  • http://codeemphasis.blogspot.com Clarity Jane

    Nineteen Percent for president lol

  • what’s my name

    That’s not bey’s problem, it’s an issue with linguistic equivalents. The fact irks me to the last degree. Yes, the opposite of boy is girl, man is woman, lady is gentleman…but when you look at the social use of the word girl, in many instances it is the label of a woman for life. “Girl Power,” “I’m not your mama I’m your girl,” blah blah blah

    uggh.

  • lynette

    wow…powerful words! I have to start by saying that I love Beyonce’s empowerment songs…lawd knows I’ve sang them a time or two:)….however this song feels different to me….makes me uneasy to sing it or something…and I’ve never quite been able to communicate why I’m not feeling it….but this video says it all…it’s because I don’t feel like we do..when you have women that are constantly being raped and abused it’s hard to feel like “we run the world”…I mean really….but then again it’s just a song…so maybe some people will dig it…me not so sure….

  • Isis

    lmaooo She’s right. Glad she had the stats to back it up

  • MIB

    Nineteen Percent…speak it!!! I really do not feel this song either..Even though she’s (Bey) is talking about running the world..why is she using sexuality again in her videos!!! Are we strong by using our brain or body???

  • bob

    I like how she advoided talking about how their are more women employed then men , and that more women are in college and getting degrees more than men no Beyonce is lying to yall. Women also run the sexual market place. Lets be real women are running shit and another thing how women always get custody of their children in divorce and look at the statistics on why men make more money then women it is because they work more hours.

  • bob

    Women are more likely to be given lighter sentences in Court, oh no but men run the world bull shit

  • Guest

    I will disagree with you on one thing is not to police women’s bodies and/or sexuality. I think one of the milestones for women one day will be the ability to wear whatever they see fit and that does not have the negative connotations of an “invitation to be raped” or labeled a “whore” or anything like that. Also men get to throw their sexuality around all willy nilly so why can’t a woman?

  • whilome

    If we don’t, we oughta.

    Every man comes from a woman. Why DON’T we wield our power to create the men we want in this world? I’m talking going full Lysistrata…some down home Amazonian stuff.

    Yet, every chain is only as strong as its weakest link. If women ever united and held out our bodies and essence for better treatment, there will be some basic female to sell us short for some strong arms to surround her. But…la…IMAGINE the possibilities if we held our ground! What could we accomplish if we were willing to re-boot as a gender?

    We run the world. We just don’t realize it.

  • http://qalil-com.blogspot.com Qalil Little

    I think a few things may be beyond ol’ Bebe’s understanding. Like domicile, virgin whore dichotocomy…

    It’s catchy and I think she was hoping for another “Single Ladies” hit.

    In general women strengthen prejudice and abuse of other women.

  • BeautyIAM

    Yay! I love nineteenperent. Glad you posted her rebuttal. She was so on point with this.

  • http://www.thegleemanifesto.wordpress.com M

    I agree with everything NineteenPercent said. She stated some real facts. But I found it a bit onesided. I’m sure Beyonce is well aware of the reality women face on a daily basis. How could she not? I view her song more as and anthem, an affirmation if you will. We will never be seen as equal if we don’t believe it. It’s in essence calling things as if they were. Creating a reality with words. Powerful words. Although what she sings is not the norm it is neither a impossilbility. Herself being proof of that. She not singing of Unicorns or water nymphs now is she.

  • Tiffany

    I think the song is catchy. I like the song and I am a very big fan of Beyonce. Her songs while being at times pithy say something. Something that we as women have heard from our female family members and friends such as dump the cheating boyfriend, be independent, and/or not settle. When you sit back and think about all the women that come before us we have come very very far. From being labeled Suffragettes during the 19th & 20th centuries women’s movement to being elected to the Presudency of Brazil, running the world should not sound like a farfetched concept. Considering women are some of the most resourceful and multitasking people ever to walk ths earth. Don’t believe me, ask your mother or grandmother how she made a world for you and not miss a beat. Will there be all women in high political ranking or military maybe, maybe not. Who’s to say that in 20 years maybe more, that women will run the world we’ll never know. Maybe this is a foretelling maybe its a catchy song. I tell my 10yr old sister she can do anything who are we as women to say she can’t. More than likely men are not telling their sons they can’t do as they wish.

    Rather than dissect what Beyonce, her record label or NineteenPercent say. Why not band together and run this world. After all, some of our major hospitals, companies (large and small), and homes are run by women. Afterall what is happening currently doesn’t always have to be.

  • sandrine

    I understand the spirit of the song, but I think her certain aspects of her career contradict the message.

  • neo

    That was very well said. Clap, Clap, Clap.

  • http://qalil-com.blogspot.com Qalil Little

    I think what is basically being said is even she doesn’t run the World. How many accolades do men get who have done the same kind of work she has? If she had a contemporary she’d be paid a lot less than he would and that is the main point.

    We don’t run the World. We could, we might, but even that is not the goal.

    Don’t you think so?

  • binks

    Great video, she has an interesting perspective. Like mention, I think Beyonce and her team wanting to catch lightening in the bottle again after the Single Ladies smash single and they know that a woman’s anthem is Beyonce MO. I have no problem with the song but like mention the message, the lyrics and the reality is bit a contradictory. There is nothing wrong with women being hyped up by this song and taking it for what it is but one has to be aware of the message and what is being done behind the scenes.

  • http://hisandhersinks.wordpress.com Ashleigh

    All I have to say is it’s not that serious! Beyonce is an entertainer plain and simple. Just like her song wont cause a shift in social values neither will these glaring stats about womanhood . What are the solutions here? I guess instead of sing fun songs of empowerment we should just mope around and talk about how socially disparate we as women are compared to men in this world. Given all the stats and truths about inequality among women, as far as I’m concerned I run the world! This is what gets us through it all.

  • Orphan_Shadow

    I don’t think anyone said we have to mope around or anything nor does anyone here expect Beyoncé to help change the world… but we still have to be mindful of reality ourselves and work to shift that reality–even if it means taking on women who help perpetuate systems of oppression so that women and girls can truly own the world equally with men and boys.

  • Vanessa

    Love her (NineteenPercent)!

  • Ksenija

    I have to agree with this. Gendered language is an issue, and women calling themselves “girls”, whereas men call themselves men, helps keep it a struggle for equality.

  • liz

    No man ever told me that I as a woman have a lower social status /power than men….but women always find a way to get this idea in my head. Luckily I let things go in one ear and out the other or else I wouldn’t have this much confidence in myself as a women and my ability to run the world. As far as I am concerned I am living a life I want for myself and it is up to me to be the change that I want to see in the world. No time to worry about some pop song and whether or not Beyonce is a liar, I’m too busy living and enjoying my life running things as I see fit, life is just to short.

  • Renee

    Nineteenpercent is a negative nancy. what she said is true, very great points that people should know about but she embodies the type of feminists that scorn women who are open about their sexuality (i.e. beyonce)

    with nineteenpercent’s logic, we can never be proud to be black because we are so disenfranchised. also, she’s going to support a white man when justin bieber decides to make a song “who runs the world? white males.”

    i think beyonce’s song is stupid but she’s an entertainer, that’s all she has ever claimed to be and i accept her for that. she never claimed to be a social activist, and in general i think all women are feminists, if you care about your rights. as a feminist, you should be able to understand that women are multi-faceted and a lot of feminists don’t like beyonce because she is over-sexualized so they feel like she is socialized, adhering to the standard of beauty set by men… what they seem to lack is… maybe beyonce realizes it but she’s okay with it, she finds herself beautiful as such.

    whatever, i just think nineteenpercent is negative. she just wanted to use any means necessary to get her point across. what i don’t understand is… she can critique beyonce for making an uplifting song but she can’t critique rihanna’s weak, confused, masochistic ass?

  • http://www.ohsopithy.blogspot.com I FEEL PITHY

    I agree with 19%, BUT can we also give Beyonce the benefit of the doubt, please?!

    These “sporadic campaigns of girl power” (including Beyonce’s “Run the World”)
    are not sugar-coating reality so much as they are attempting to propose a new/ideal
    reality through verbal fiat.
    What would it mean, what could it look like if girls did indeed run the world?
    This is the ambitious question that I think the song brings to the (feminist) table.
    Beyonce may not have any of the answers, but is there really anything wrong with this kind of wishful thinking?

    And let’s not forget that the beat of Beyonce’s song borrows heavily from Major Lazer’s “Pon de Floor.” Why can’t we imagine, then, that her song alludes to Lazer’s song in an attempt to debunk and destroy the very anti-feminist message of his absolutely degrading video. Has anyone seen that video?! It’s so disturbing!
    Beyonce’s song, which employs his beat, essentially overwrites his misogynistic message.

    I have no problem with including Beyonce in a long line of idealistic feminist thinking:

    - Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s novel HERLAND
    - Aristophanes’s LYSISTRATA
    - Beyonce’s RUN THE WORLD (Girls)

    And as for the word “girls,” I don’t mind it so much in the song because the target audience — the impressionable ones who need to be told that they are beautiful, and worthy, and can do anything they put their minds to — are the young women: GIRLS.

    But I swear the next guy who calls me a “female” will get punched in the face.
    Just saying . . .

    PEACE & LOVE, y’all!

  • ruggie

    I wish we really did run the world. Then maybe we could stop what’s happening to girls and women in the Congo.

  • BeautyIAM

    Wow, your comment represents many comments I’ve seen who are either willingly trying to not understand what she is saying or just too stupid.

    So because she gave facts on things that are actually occuring, shes negative? Her argument encompassed how disenfranchised women are and how women can actually make a difference in the world instead of singing about something we haven’t really accomplished yet.

    Whats more disturbing about this is that I was really expecting more women really support her because after all, what she said cannot be ignored. But instead I saw a bunch of comments from men and women who just proved how much girls don’t run the world with their dismissive attitude. Its even more sad that women seemed to be okay with being disenfranchised.

    And yes, by default, Beyonce is a social activists. I’m not understanding why this generation is so afraid of holding celebrities accountable. Were people not wondering if Beyonce returned the money she got from the Liberian President due to the way he was treating his citizens?

    I’m glad that her rant was able to open the doors for those who just want to keep it closed and bury their heads in the sand.

  • http://twitter.com/saidahwaslike Saidah Knutson

    Wow. That chick need a tranquilizer. Seriously.

    Anyway.

    Maybe she missed the part where Beyonce was an “entertainer” and thus, does not give a crap about girl power or any other social agenda. She probably didn’t even write the song. It’s all about marketing and sales. Good grief.

  • http://www.ebonylolita.tumblr.com Ebonylolita

    Appreciate this video from NineteenPercent. Beyonce can’t think pass the glue on her lacefront to internalize this type of message. She’d get lost in the verbage after the first line. If she did then the lyrics would have been adjusted while she was in the studio. It wasn’t so….. there you go.

    As a 31 y.o. WOMAN I can not identify with this song. I had this conversation w/my BFF this past weekend. I’m not a girl…. I’m a WOMAN. I can see teenagers or little girls single this b/c they can’t break down the lyrics. Beyonce was looking for a catchy hit. I think she only got the catchy part down & pushes this song w/her live performances!!!

  • http://www.ebonylolita.tumblr.com Ebonylolita

    *Singing this

  • minna k.

    Good video except she doesn’t mention the race class disparities. Example, female fetuses in china, and india are female fetuses of color. Dr. Dre’s hos and tricks are women of color. Victims of FGM are women of color. Just a thought.

  • minna k.

    Yes i’ve waisted 5 minutes watching Major Lazer. I agree it was disturbing.

  • minna k.

    Yes i’ve wasted 5 minutes watching Major Lazer. I agree it was disturbing.

  • tabula rasa

    I am the only one who thoroughly enjoyed that video?!
    THANKS NineteenPercent for speaking the truth & being entertaining at the same time (see, it is possible). She just expressed what I didn’t have the time, energy, or wit to capture.

    BTW, i dont see this as a personal attack on Beyonce, but a commentary on her, and other famous female singers, decision-making and responsibilities as a role model and/or music star.

  • Ooh La La

    Congratulations. You found the two “benefits” women have over men… Neglecting the fact that men have the upper hand in essentially ever other aspect of life.

  • teri

    There are still several cultures left (and more in the past) around the world where women are the decision makers or are strongly respected for their power and opinions. If you do real research and expand your horizons beyond popular culture and look to real people and leaders (and NOT entertainers) to be role models and ‘teachers’, then you will learn a lot about the power of women. The Mosuo women of China rule in their society (http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/story?id=130332&page=1) and in my native West Africa, Zoes are the (female) spiritual leaders in villages.

    Yes, there is still LOTS to do for women’s empowerment, just as there is for minority, gay, poverty, etc., empowerment. But the bottom line is you’re reading WAY too much into a damn song. When I rock out to that song, what I hear motivates me b/c I run MY world as a strong, independent, professional, intelligent and beautiful woman and mother. And for others, it could simply be an aspirational call to action to run their respective worlds in the same manner. So I’d recommend saving the rhetoric for when you can actually make a difference where it really counts–by focusing on real programs and organizations that help empower women and girls everywhere.

  • chlo

    Women run the sexual market place….oh whoop-di-doo I feel great now, thanks for that, I’ll remind myself of that next time I’m called a bitch/sexually assualted/ my daughter feels disempowered etc etc etc.

    It starts from young. When you insult a boy by saying he” throws like a girl” what are you teaching him about girls?

  • http://www.thegleemanifesto.wordpress.com M

    Oh yes, that is the ultimate goal. I find the opression of others just as unsavory as being oppressed. I wish for a happy medium where we can both co-exsist side by side instead of this futile tug-of-war. If we’d focus on elevating each other we would be so much further along.

    That being said I don’t know of any current day male artist as celebrates as her.

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  • http://[email protected] Tracie

    Its just a song…gesh! That girl just trying put something out that is attention grabbing and catchy…works everytime B…works everytime!

  • obamarocks

    Everybody go to youtube. Theres a remix of this single produced by this guy name Fyuchur. Its Hot!! Even her fans love it

  • http://none Kit

    I totally agree with MIB’s post above. The message Beyonce is spreading with this is that in order to run the world women must get near enough naked donning sexually provocative attire and dance in a sexually suggestive way while squaring up to groups of men in a confrontational and aggresive way.This is not what female empowerment is about.

    The song is a load of rubbish and like much of today’s music the devil is probably grinding and booty-shaking against his pitchfork to this one!

  • Vertis

    Women aren’t competent enough to firmly unite without experiencing feminine issues with themselves and other females. Whatever society is likely formed will not last, as women bicker amongst themselves over petty issues like appearance and clothes, sex appeal and the like – wasting valuable time conversing like children, instead of sharing ideas of productivity (ways to benefit their selves, families, workplaces or humanity). Women strive to be taken care of by men, catered to in one way or another, led and commanded by their male counterparts.

    In short, women are a long ways away, biologically, from maintaining gender equivalency. Women must evolve in the way they think.

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