“Run the World (Girls)” is a song recorded by Beyonce Knowles in 2011, with the accompanying music video directed by Francis Lawrence. The video displays a post-apocalyptic war-zone in which Knowles and an army of scantily-clad women square off against men in riot gear – all through the use of seductive dance moves. The video ends with Knowles ripping off the military general’s badge and putting it on herself. The aggressive lyrics center on the superiority of women, with much of their power being attributed to their intelligence, money-making abilities, and “persuasion”.
Listen closely to the song lyrics as you watch the music video. In what ways does the video support or contradict the message that the lyrics espouse?
Would you consider Beyonce a feminist? In what ways does this music video help shape your opinion of this?
One can certainly make the argument that the video does not reflect the song lyrics’ focus on educated, working women. Instead, it focuses only on the womens’ fashion style, beauty, and sexuality. This calls into question whether it really encourages female empowerment, or whether its focus on women as sexual objects is ultimately regressive.