“Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” was released in the fall of 2008 and was almost immediately snatched up and paraded around by women as the official single woman’s mantra. For the past couple of years, single ladies have rallied around this song and its girl power message.
I HATE this song.
Well, let me clarify: I hate what this song pretends to stand for. I like to run to it, but only because it gets me all angry and fired up at its idiocy.
The rallying cry, and main theme, of this song is that if you like it, then you should have put a ring on it. The ring, in this case, presumably being an engagement and/or wedding ring. I’m glad that Beyonce cares so much about empowering women that she and her songwriting team decided to continue to perpetuate the perception of materialistic women who only have marriage on their mind. Men in committed relationships already find themselves under enormous pressure (on many fronts) to get hitched and are already expected to shell out
hundreds thousands of dollars on a shiny bauble to prove their love and commitment.
The song speaks to all you single ladies out there, encouraging you not to throw too much of a Ben & Jerry’s pity party for yourself. Because after all, it’s never anything you did. It’s not at all possible that you drove him away because you are insecure, jealous, controlling, manipulative, or a plain old psycho. Females never, ever, EVER cheat on men. Men and women in committed relationships never just grow apart.
No, no — if we believe Beyonce and her sugary, infectious, club jingle, then it’s always the man’s fault, and more specifically, the only reason you are single is because your man was clearly a commitment-phobe who refused to tag you (and your fellow single lady brethren) like a piece of property or perhaps some livestock.
Women rightfully resent any implication that they are owned by or belong to men in any way, but the blanket blame-laying on the entire male gender for the state of female singledom is disappointing to say the least. But what’s even more troubling is the double standard that the song advances. With the increasing trend of women embracing romantic and sexual freedom, as they should — Sex and the City has given women everywhere permission to have casual, non-committal hook-ups and not feel guilty about it — this song’s message is a huge step backward.
Dance to this song all you want. Run to it, spin to it, rock out in the shower to it. Listen to it while you play out all sorts of revenge fantasies in your head. But please don’t hold it up like it’s some of kick-ass, female empowerment anthem.
(Besides, who is Beyonce to sing about this, with her $5 million engagement ring and a husband who rarely (if ever) acknowledges her as his wife in public?)