Is Beyoncé a Sex Terrorist Rather Than an Artist?
It is not hard to imagine that an artist like Beyoncé would be capable of causing a huge controversial uproar among Americans. Author Noah Berlatsky from the Atlantic magazine wrote an article titled, Beyoncé, Sex Terrorist: A Menace for Conservatives and Liberals Alike, in which he gives an example of what the big pop star is capable of causing. The article focuses on the opinions of two people, Bill O’Reilly from FOX and feminist author Bell Hooks, in addition to the author’s response to their opinions. While they both have very similar opinions on Beyoncé, O’Reilly uses her “Partition” music video as a reference while Hooks uses her front cover of Time magazine. The author expresses dislike towards their opinions on Beyoncé and I will explain why I agree with him.
The author starts off the article by stating how O’Reilly’s biggest concern with the pop star is that in reference to her music video where she is having sex in a limo, she is putting many young girls at risk due to the fact that they look up to her. By this, O’Reilly is referring to unwanted pregnancies. In fact, O’Reilly asks, “Why would Beyoncé do that?” On the other hand, Hooks agrees with O’Reilly by saying, “I see a part of Beyoncé that is, in fact, anti-feminist—that is, a terrorist—especially in terms of the impact on young girls”. With those two responses by O’Reilly and Hooks taken into consideration it is obvious that they both have a negative perspective of the pop star. They both express high concern with the influence that Beyoncé’s “sexualized” body can have on young women.
The author proceeds to state that O’Reilly and his FOX crew attacked the Beyoncé nudity from the music video very critically by using “numerous sultry images” from it. This initiates a response by the author in which he starts to express that perhaps O’Reilly and Hooks only decided to give their opinion on Beyoncé because of the guaranteed attention, which translates to profit for them. Berlatsky states that regardless of what people have to say about Beyoncé, people will always listen. After saying this the author then states that whether it was intentional or not, both O’Reilly and Hooks use the pop star to display the message of “a more conservative or radical world”.
In addition to this, the author also talks about how both O’Reilly and Hooks agree on the idea of not considering Beyoncé an artist. It is stated that O’Reilly has a very skeptic view on considering her music video as art. On the other hand, Hooks states that Beyoncé’s appeal is her money, leaving out consideration for people that actually pay attention to her because of her musical talent. This critical point of view that both O’Reilly and Hooks share upsets the author as he expresses his feelings by saying, “That’s unfortunate, because if she is seen as an artist who’s speaking for herself, what she says is quite pointed”.
I must say that I agree with the dissatisfaction that the author expresses. I believe that it is not fair at all for O’Reilly and Hooks to critique Beyoncé that way without giving her any credit for her amazing music. It is evident that many people worldwide are fans of the pop stars music. The numbers do not lie as she continues to sell out shows and break records with her music. In fact, the music website VH1 ranks Beyoncé at number 3 in “The 100 Greatest Women in Music”. This is clear evidence that Beyoncé does not lack the musical talent and in addition is a huge inspiration to women all over the world. I agree with the author of the article that it is very likely that O’Reilly and Hooks only publicized these comments for their own benefit. Both O’Reilly and Hooks did not analyze Beyoncé’s body the correct way in my opinion. I believe that Beyoncé expresses her body that way to show confidence and demonstrate to women that they too can have power, and not to influence teen pregnancies like O’Reilly stated.
Overall the author accepts at the end of the article that yes not all of Beyoncé’s art is “great or thoughtful”, but that it should be recognized. The author closes out the article with a very strong statement, “So if people are going to rather helplessly use her body to further their own agendas, it seems worth remembering that every body has a person attached—and that that person is not just an object of analysis and scorn, but, potentially, someone who can offer a critique herself”. By saying this the author is expressing strong dissatisfaction towards both O’Reilly and Hooks due to the fact that they only criticized Beyoncé’s body but did not even recognize her musical talent, or “art”.
Berlatsky, Noah. “Beyoncé, Sex Terrorist: A Menace for Conservatives and Liberals Alike.” The Atlantic. N.p., 12 May 2014. Web. 29 June 2016.
VH1. “The 100 Greatest Women In Music.” VH1. N.p., 2012. Web. 29 June 2016.