13. A song that is a guilty pleasure. Beyonce, “Single Ladies”
So I really hate the term “guilty pleasure.” Half my family is Jewish and half is Catholic, so guilt is supposed to be part of my upbringing, right? Yeah, I’ve been trying to excise that for a while now.
I’ve gotten fairly good at it with sex and sexuality, with food (to my detriment, as health-wise I’ve been warned twice by two different doctors to take it easy on the sugar), and with really, really terrible pop music. I was out and proud about my love for the Spice Girls even as an angry punk 18-year-old, and when my college boyfriend whined about listening to Tori Amos I handcuffed him to a chair and made him listen to them on top volume.
I am out and proud about reading the Twilight books and thoroughly enjoying them, about my prior addiction to CSI: Miami…Basically, I don’t think pleasure should be laden with guilt. I think critical perspective doesn’t require guilt.
This doesn’t mean that I don’t feel guilty about anything. I wrote an ode here to my sparkly $20 H&M pants, discussing the conflict in my head over buying cheap clothing and knowing that the working conditions under which it was produced are probably atrocious. But guilty pleasure isn’t usually applied to situations like that, where a moral judgment is being applied. It’s usually about some sort of aesthetic or intellectual judgment, right? Which I find classist, and absolutely no fun.
(Shut up already, and get to Beyonce!)
SO. Why is this song a guilty pleasure, then? Well, I feel no guilt about my love for Beyonce. NONE. Beyonce is awesome. Look at her. She’s one of the five most beautiful women on the planet. She is shameless about world domination. She might have even made Jay-Z take HER last name.
This song is just the type of song that hits “guilty pleasure” playlists everywhere, though, right? I mean, it’s glorious pop music that no one should feel guilty about, and yet. They will.
But the songs that make me feel guilty at this point are songs that are totally regressive in their lyrics. And especially the ones that have, as this one has, literally 84 million plays on YouTube and thus are EVERYWHERE referring to women as “it” and exhorting men to “put a ring on it.” Ugh, right? I had a ring. Still have it, actually. As a reminder of what I don’t want in a relationship and why I shouldn’t be with men who think that I just doth protest too much and really like EVERY GIRL I just wanna rock and a big froofy wedding.
Um, no. That’s not to say I’ll never get married or that I think it’s a bad scene. It’s just that for me, if I do, it’ll be like this scene in The Thing Called Love. No, really. That’s what I want.
Anyway, Beyonce. Your supposedly-empowering lyrics do nothing for me! But this song, oh yes, this song will make me hit a dance floor faster than the aforementioned movie scene makes me squeal with cuteness. I AM ONTO YOU, BEYONCE. YOU ARE A CONSERVATIVE PLOT.
But a really, really gorgeous badass one.