My love of Beyoncé has been well documented on this blog before, so I won’t get into it again here. However, I do want to talk about Bey’s new video for “The Best Thing I Never Had,” or rather, talk about the way other people are talking about it. First, the video, which is mostly just Beyoncé dancing around and looking really pretty in a wedding dress:
Now for the way other people are talking about it. First of all, it features A WEDDING!!! Which, OK, I get it. I myself am going to five weddings this summer and am knee-deep in bouquets and invitations and omgthedress-style conversations, and I know that a lot of people love nuptials and the many trappings that come with them. And hey, the wedding in this video—though weirdly revenge-themed—looks super fun and I wish I could go to there and dance with all of the good-looking people and eat some cake.
The beef that I have is with the way that critics/bloggers/fans have been framing this video as Beyoncé’s way of having the fantasy wedding she didn’t get with her now-husband, Jay-Z. (For those of you not way into their relationship, the two of them were married in a very private, indoor ceremony.) Headlines like “New Beyoncé Video Features Elaborate Dream Wedding She Didn’t Have In Real Life” [Jezebel] and “Beyoncé Gets the Dream Wedding She’s Always Wanted” [Vulture] imply that because Beyoncé’s own real-life wedding wasn’t overblown and formal that she must be disappointed and looking for a way to turn back time and get the wedding she deserved. This in turn reinforces the notion that all women must dream of walking down a huge aisle dressed like an adult princess in an expensive gown while they make their ex-boyfriends jealous, which is simply not true.
For all we know, it was Beyoncé’s idea to have a small wedding ceremony at home and Jay-Z is the one who feels bummed. Or they might both be really happy with how things turned out and now they want to invite me to come and live with them and be their best friend—who knows?
Maybe Beyoncé likes weddings, or maybe her publicist just thought she should do a wedding-themed video because so many other people like weddings. Either way, I doubt that she’s using this video to live out the white wedding fantasy that we expect her to have just because she’s a woman.