Introduction to Bootylicious
Beyoncé addicts can listen to her music, buy her clothes, wear her perfume, and watch her movies. Now they can also enroll in a class all about the diva.
Beyoncé and her music and cultural image are the subject of a women and gender studies course at Rutgers University. "Politicizing Beyoncé," taught by Rutgers lecturer and doctoral candidate Kevin Allred, examines Bey's music and lyrics in the context of "race, gender and sexual politics."
Allred told the Rutgers Focus that the idea for the class came as students in his introductory course would frequently bring up Beyoncé and the way she balances her dual roles as sex kitten and empowered role model in discussions.
Class topics will include Beyoncé's control over her image and the more sexually stylized portrait of her stage persona, Sasha Fierce.
“It’s important to shift students away from simply being consumers of media toward thinking more critically about what they’re engaging on a regular basis,” Allen told the Focus. “When students don’t respond to theory or dense readings, it’s often easier to see things play out in the world around them.”
The course will pair Beyoncé's music videos and lyrics with works from other influential black women, including Alice Walker and Sojourner Truth, as well as singers such as Billie Holiday, Nina Simone and Lady Gaga.
But don't worry about Beyoncé eclipsing her husband as a pop cultural icon. Georgetown University teaches a sociology course called "The Sociology of Hip-Hop: The Urban Theodicy of Jay-Z."
The Focus says topics will include Beyoncé's control over her image and the more sexually stylized portrait of her stage persona, Sasha Fierce.
Not listed as points of discussion: "Should one put a ring on it? A contemporary evaluation of marriage and relationships," "Survivor: Power struggles in '90s girl groups" and "Bills Bills Bills vs. Independent Women: Conflicting narratives in modern courtship."