Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” is one of the famous songs/videos in popular culture in the past decade. This Youtube video alone has 215 million views.
But what does it mean for our very own Beyonce to appear in this video as a Cyborg, a grey-tinted woman with a robotic hand?
Many interpretations of the video, along with the song’s conspicuously mechanical beat, construct elements of Afrofuturism.
One author writes that the song is an ironic critique of hetero-capitalist marraige:
Beyoncé argues that traditional hetero marriage treats women as property. Beyonce sings to “all the single ladies,” because even and especially in the 21st-c marriage-industrial complex, women are little more than “Stepford wives,” objects men purchase as status symbols and as care workers.
Another scholar takes that analysis further, dubbing Beyonce a “robo-diva” who pushes back against stereotypes of black women and nature but also correlating white male anxieties with representations of black female sexuality.
The figure of the robo-diva: (1) evinces a tendency in white patriarchy to express its anxieties about technology in terms of black female sexuality, and vice versa; and (2) in critiquing the race–gender politics of mainstream Anglo-American popular music aesthetics, deconstructs many of its values (e.g., personal and cultural authenticity, expressivity, virtuosity).
What do you think Beyonce’s song suggests? Does she really want a “ring on it?” What does putting a ring on a robotic finger mean anyway? What kind of future is the song suggesting?
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