I have never once heard a One Direction song. Well actually that’s a lie – I once heard a four piece band (who were not One Direction) sing one of their songs in a kitchen – yes one of my more unusual but brilliant nights. I can remember very little of it, not because it was forgettable, it’s just because I was drunk. I completely missed the John Lewis rabbit Christmas adverts. And I know more words to the Billy’s ‘Achey Breaky Heart’, than I do to Miley’s ‘Wrecking Ball’. Basically my cultural reference ground stopped c. 1995 as an example any genius playlist I make always ends up being 60% Stone Roses.
The only exception is Beyonce – I think she is great. I love how her mum used to make their costumes. I love the way she can wiggle her bum (and that she has a bum) that way in ‘Crazy in Love’. I love how her hair got stuck in a fan and she just carried on singing. I even quite like how she ditched two members of Destiny’s Child early on and replaced them with one new person and no one really noticed because they were all too busy looking at Beyonce. I watched her documentary and even cried a little bit (there may have been wine taken) when she talked about her miscarriage.
Basically I like her – which is why I am a bit sad about her new video Partition. Oh I don’t think she’d mind too much as it currently has just under 30 million views on YouTube. Though that number probably contains quite a few multiple viewings by 13 year old boys. I genuinely don’t have that big a problem with it being racy. I don’t mind a bit of bum cheek between friends. Although it does annoy me that the Telegraph and the Mail will link to it with the ‘news’ that she has done an explicit video, in that very British ‘Carry on Clicking on the Link’ kind of way. A bit like how the Mail once did a four page spread on how lewd Rihanna had been in concert with a myriad of pictures showing just how shocking the whole thing had been.
What I really mind is that she has cast her husband in it. He sits there – once again fully dressed in a Kanye West way (but at least that hideousness was totally worth it because it allowed us to get this piece of comic perfection) while his wife rolls around for him in various states of undress singing ‘I just wanna be the girl you like’ until he starts to show an interest. Now I don’t feel the need to abuse soap actors in the street because of the storylines they play. I do realise this isn’t real life. And if she had cast another actor in the video then it would just be another video (not one of her best mind) but she didn’t. She even talks about herself in the song – as ‘no one needs to see Beyonce on her knees’ apparently – oh no, there is no Sasha Fierce in sight. The thing is Beyonce literally just has to breathe to be sexy – but in her previous videos she made looking sexy fun and that she was having a bloody marvellous time for herself not for anyone else.
What I ended up thinking after this video is that if the slice of human perfection that is Beyonce sings this kind of stuff then what does it mean for the rest of us lesser spotted (literally in my case, PMT sucks) female specimens who have also recently had babies. Personally it makes me feel like I should pack up the fanny right now and put it in the loft as it obviously won’t get used for a while.
Feeling sexy can a mahoosive challenge after you have a baby. Your body has been so used completely by your child to grow in and feed from and sleep on and vomit on, that it’s tough to remember that it can be used for anything else. I’m not 100% sure that we then need any additional pressure to make ourselves look sexy for men. That is of course unless we want to. If we want to look sexy and can find the energy and the time then by all means let’s grab the tassles, whip out the stilettos find some disembodied legs to dance with.
But let’s do it for us, let’s do it because we want to be the ‘girl we like’ not because we feel the need to do it for our other halves. (And let’s face it for most new fathers anyway they get to have sex so little that they revert to becoming a Victorian gentleman where the merest glimmer of an ankle or a popped open glove button can be enough to get them all excited)
At the end of the song there is a piece about how men think feminists don’t actually like sex but in fact it’s ‘stimulating and natural’ In French obviously as apparently feminism can only sound sexy with an accent. But it just doesn’t gel for me Beyonce love – there’s too much of ‘ladies getting naked for men’ around all the bloody time for this to feel empowering. Instead it feels like more of the same old gubbins the music industry pours down our throats every single day and personally I like it more when Beyonce stands out from the crowd.