Notes on Beyonce for Women and Media class

At least 3 times a class period, I find myself saying something like “oh, there is a GREAT article that discusses your idea! I’ll share the link!”   And then I forget what link, which class, or who said what. This is an attempt to put all the links, articles, gifs, tweets, in one place.

First up, in women and media class we watched and had a lively discussion about the new Beyonce video, Formation. The think pieces were being written as we sat there–and this is something we need to pay attention to all the semester, the work different media ‘things’ do. Often, media images/texts produce things (tweets, think pieces, reactions) beyond the producer/creators intentions. The reactions to the Beyonce’s super bowl performance and video release are perfect examples of the ways media works to define ‘woman’, ‘black’, or ‘radical’. From what I’ve read so far on the Beyonce video, the discussion we had in our class mirrors the debates circulating throughout the Internet. (I’ve linked articles in the following sentence–>)The fault line is whether or not people see Beyonce’s video and song as a radical reclamation of Black American Women’s culture (specifically Southern culture) ~OR~ is the video/song exploitative, using both tragedy (Katrina, police killing) and radical politics (the Black Panthers, Black Lives Matter) to make money and build her brand. I see and appreciate the case being made on both sides–I mainly want us to think about the work the video is doing and the work we’re doing to interpret the video. We’ll return to Beyonce later in the semester, and we can discuss this video next class after reading about the male gaze, visual pleasure, and filming techniques. The video seems to challenge the male gaze directly, and part of the celebration around the video, and Beyonce, is her direct engagement with a black, female gaze and pleasure.


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