Why Beyonce Doesn’t Matter by Bruce LaBruce

“Beyonce doesn’t MATTER.” I happened to tweet that simple sentence offhandedly last week and was besieged by a wave of protest from people—mostly the gays, of course—who couldn’t believe I had the audacity (how could she dare!!?) to dis the princess of hip-pop. But you know, she doesn’t. Matter, that is. Not really. Or rather, she does, but she shouldn’t. Despite her bootylicious behind and reputedly wild, out-of-control dancing style (children, do a search for Gwen Verdon or Sheree North or Ann Miller on YouTube if you want to see some really insane sexual dancing. Ask your gran.), Beyonce is probably the most reactionary star who has come down the pike in quite some time. She so easily plays into the tiresome heteronormativity (yes, I said it) of the tired empire of hip-hop with her songs about female victimization, monogamy, and marriage. While her husband, Jay-Z, throws down raps like “99 Problems (But a Bitch Ain’t One), one of the most irritatingly sexist pop anthems to emerge in the last decade (yes, sexism is a real concept), Beyonce sings its obnoxious corollary, “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It),” a paean to marriage that includes the lyric “pull me into your arms/Say I’m the one you own.” Can “love,” “honor,” and “obey” be far behind?

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