Ever since Beyoncé openly and firmly planted her stilettoed heel on feminist ground with the release of her self-titled surprise album, numerous think-pieces, lively online debates and critiques from naysayers who feel the singer’s take on feminism isn’t exactly flawless have accumulated at light speed. Meanwhile, Rihanna’s devil-may-care attitude, less-is-more approach to fashion and inextricable connection to Chris Brown ensure that she’s permanent headline fodder.
Now that Harvard has figured out exactly how Beyoncé kept her visual album a closely-guarded secret, the University of Texas at Austin will take the trend of academic pop star analysis a step further by offering a course titled “Beyoncé Feminism, Rihanna Womanism” for the spring 2015 semester.
But hard-core Bey and Rih stans beware: This course is not for those who operate on the basis of blind bias. It is, however, aimed at those who prefer an argument built on factual substance, as it goes far more in-depth than determining which of the pop divas is more apt to slay a performance or leave one with sufficiently snatched edges.
Per the school’s site, the full course description reads:
“By comparison, this class has a very eye-catching title. Whether or not you are a Beyoncé Bey or part of the Rihanna Navy, it will cause you to do a double take while scrolling through electives. The one downside, students may not realize the type of academic inquiry or material that will be covered in the course.
Students in this class will learn that there is far more than catchy melodies to Beyoncé’s and Rihanna’s music. They will not be simply listening to Beyoncé and Rihanna for fun or even comparing the roles of Beyoncé and Rihanna in popular culture, rather, students will be studying how the lyrics, music videos, and actions of these women express various aspects of black feminism such as violence, economic opportunity, sexuality, standards of beauty, and creative self-expression. The instructor hopes for students to understand the role black feminism plays in popular culture as well as everyday life.
For any student interested in women’s and gender studies or how popular culture reflects social studies, this is a class that will make them fall crazy in love.“