Michelle Ortiz – Response to “Moving Beyond Pain”

In Moving Beyond Pain, the author analyzes the music video of Lemonade by Beyonce. The author mentions that in Lemonade the female black body is poised as royalty, as they are the center of attention in the music video. However, Beyonce who is the star actually appears in casual clothing and hoodie. This is very unusual because it most standard music videos the artist is the main subject and its often praised by others around him/her. This video also shows the black female sisterhood that “resists invisibility, that refuses to be silent.” According to the author, this challenges us to change our views on how we see the black female body. The author implies that Lemonade fails at changing conventional sexist constructions of black female identity because it depicts black females as always being the victims. It shows that the women is always the victim of a man’s betrayal in while she always responds with rage. I agree with the author that this is not always the case. Black females do not always respond with violence or emotional violence and anger and it it very stereotypical for Lemonade to portray black females in this manner. The author of this text criticizes Beyonce for her representation of black females.


A quote that I most definitely agree with is when the author states “Contrary is misguided notions of gender equality, women do not and will not seize power and create self-love and self-esteem through violent acts . . . Violence does not create positive change” (page 5). This quote implies how if women experience betrayal from a man she DOES NOT have to express her feeling s or boost up her self-esteem through violence and anger. I do understand that many times anger does occur is such frustrating moments but it does not have to lead to violence or revenge. A woman does not have to use violence to lover herself and gain confidence.

Comments ( 3 )

  1. Edward Mendoza
    I find your analysis very interesting because I also noticed a lot of those themes in the video as well. I can see why many people see beyonce’ choice to show a woman lashing out in violence as a positive thing controversial. It also makes sense why beyonce chose to portray these women in plain clothing, to make a statement that they alone without any makeup or fancy additions are already royalty.
  2. Tyara De Jesus
    I also enjoyed that quote. Violence will never help a situation, on the contrary it would make things worse, especially in a world that views black women as violent. Hook mentions this especially to address a video in Beyonce's, Lemonade album. There was a scene where she smashes a car and it was represented as "sexy", but in reality black woman are demonetized for it. Hook explains certain parts of her album that did not mean the standards and certain problems black women go through that she did not voice. Problems such as, how men need to work on themselves if violence against black women is going to end. Beyonce's intent was clear and her representation of strong black women was beautiful but the album was not perfect.
  3. Kayla Cason
    I agree with both you and Bell Hooks as you both criticize Lemonade for the deeper meaning behind how black women are conveyed in the songs and the videos. Though I do believe that women should be able to freely express themselves in the same way men do without being ridiculed, the way Beyonce tried to break this stigma was flawed. Her embodiment of an angry black woman struck with vengeance after finding out her "man" was cheating can convey to viewers that black women are unable to control themselves in difficult situations. At first, I did not understand the issue Bell Hooks was discussing regarding this topic but after reading your analysis, I realize the problem Hooks wanting to bring attention to.

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