“Can you eat my skittles?
It’s the sweetest in the middle
Pink is the flavor
Solve the riddle,”
and the bridge:
“I can’t wait ‘til I get home
so you can tear that cherry out.”
To be clear: Beyoncé is unabashedly talking about having a positive, intimate experience with her partner — more specifically, oral sex — and wishing the same for women everywhere. My initial reaction: Great! But, imagining my mom’s response to these lyrics brings out an entirely different reaction. I felt truly embarrassed at the prospect of my mom recognizing the song and dismissing it as inappropriate and just plain “bad,” let alone seeing how much I personally enjoy the song.
The puzzling nature of my instinctive reaction stayed with me — I immediately resorted to feeling ashamed of the feminine sexuality that the song and the album as a whole champions, in front of the woman who has always taught me to be truly proud of myself.
Unfortunately, I know I’m not in a minority of women who have sensed this double standard. I have been taught to be confident in my identity as a woman and to express myself; simultaneously, I must remain silent about any sexual feelings, step aside so that men can express their sexual desires and shame those women who don’t hide their bodies. Therefore, I gladly accept Beyoncé’s challenge to accept myself, especially my feminine sexuality, and set a positive example of sex celebration.
I see her as a woman acting with full agency of her mind and body, choosing to bare not only her post-pregnancy body but her most intimate fears and experiences as well.
For the countless women who were never taught to seek out satisfying sexual relationships or explore their desires, we have an example, finally, of a cultural icon doing just that.
It would be naïve to assume that women of all kinds will be impressed with Bey’s confident self-expression or view this album as a major victory for feminism.
Still, I cannot wait for the day when women everywhere can join Beyoncé as she sings the end of “Rocket”, calling out with a sense of long-awaited satisfaction, “God dammit, I’m comfortable in my skin.”