Beyonce in Weddingland

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.

by Kelsey Wallace
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Kelsey Wallace is an editor in Portland, Oregon. Follow her on Twitter if you like TV and pictures of dogs.

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7 Comments Have Been Posted

Right on! My wife and I had

Right on! My wife and I had an intimate wedding on the beach with a handful of friends and we wouldn't trade our experience for anything!

I do not accept the premise

I do not accept the premise of this article or the ones it critiques. Beyonce and Jay-Z flew in 70,000 orchids from Thailand for their wedding. Their home is undoubtedly about a million times nicer than any wedding venue I will ever be able to afford. Their wedding may have been at home, but it was still an elaborate dream wedding.

that Jezebel headline is

that Jezebel headline is exactly why I cannot stomach reading Jezebel anymore.

What the hell, Jezebel? Also,

What the hell, Jezebel?

Also, videos sell albums and sell what people want to think of 'their' star. The choice to put her in a wedding themed video was money driven as far as I'm concerned!

This video seems a bit

This video seems a bit paradoxical but maybe that's just me. So she broke it off in the late 90s with this guy and 10 years later she she's singing about him right before her wedding. Is she getting married just to spite her high school beau? Or maybe she didn't think that him not owning her was truly official until she was married to someone else. I know, I know, trying to make sense out of a silly music video.

Maybe we all should be allowed our own music video fantasy weddings since all we really care about is fancy stuff and sticking it to the guys who broke our hearts years ago.

Okay, so here is my very

<p>Okay, so here is my very random, off- the-wall interpretation of this music video: Though the pervasive idea in our culture that a woman's wedding day is the most important day in her life is steeped in a history of sexism, imagery of weddings in our media is very woman-centered. We tend to think of weddings as being all about the bride and the groom is just there because you can't have a wedding without him. But SHE is the one that everyone faces as she walks down the aisle, SHE is the one that wears the gorgeous dress, SHE is the one that gets the most pictures taken of her. Of course, almost all of this attention is based on how she looks, which is sexist. But a woman's wedding is still almost entirely HER day. In our culture we tend to think of brides as women who are completely, almost euphorically happy. When the video began and I saw Beyonce dancing around in bridal lingerie I though to myself "Oh great, this is going to be a video about how amazing it is when you find that perfect dude, who you would rather drag yourself over a sea of glass than not pledge your undying devotion to, blah blah blah." When she started singing about some asshole she is really glad she dumped, I was surprised. Then it kept going, and I was bombarded with bridal imagery, the kind of imagery that I (and so do you probably) associate with a blissfully happy woman. We see Beyonce dancing around in several different gorgeous wedding dresses, surrounded by beautiful scenery, singing a song that sounds a little ethereal. AND THERE'S NO DUDE. Seriously, I was surprised when he showed up at the end. I thought the whole video was just going to be her dancing around in wedding dresses singing about how happy she is that she dumped someone. Even when the groom finally does show up, he's peripheral. For me this song and the backdrop of euphoric bridal imagery evokes the feelings of euphoria that happened when I "found myself" and realized that whether or not some jerkface was or wasn't into me didn't define me. Of course, there is the issue of materialistic self-indulgence that bridal imagery is also very good at evoking. Afterall, materialistic self-indulgence tends to be Bey's style. I just still get a little thrill when I find gems of empowerment in Bey's songs and videos. So anyways, these are my Sunday morning ramblings. Hope someone enjoyed it.</p>

Giving her fans what they want

Wouldn't it have been kinda awesome if Beyonce advocated a small wedding instead of perpetuating the big princess wedding fantasy?

But Beyonce doesn't care about making statements unless it fits the image her fans have of her. Of course Beyonce must want to have a big wedding where she spends a shit ton of money on a dress etc. Having a small wedding where both partners take each other's names just doesn't sell records.

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