Beyonce

LISTEN: Is Beyonce's new single "Bow Down" empowering or annoying?

March 18, 2013 at 1:57 PM ET

Is Beyonce's Song "Bow Down" Empowering or Arrogant?
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Is Beyonce's Song "Bow Down" Empowering or Arrogant?

Beyonce is the queen of pop, and don't you forget it! In a newly released track called "Bow Down/I Been On," the 17-time Grammy winner urges fans to pay their respects. She also does some rapping (though you may not recognize her digitally altered voice). 

Click here to listen to the track!

"Bow Down/I Been On" definitely takes no prisoners, with its refrain of "Bow down, bitches!" and lyrics like "I know when you were little girls, you dreamed of being in my world. Don't forget it, don't forget it, respect that." She even has a dig for people who think she's leaning too hard on hubby Jay-Z: "I took some time to live my life, but don’t think I’m just his little wife. Don’t get it twisted, get it twisted. This my s--t." 

Strong words from Mrs. Carter, but is she giving off a little too much attitude? Some fans are already turned off by the song's cocky attitude. 

You know what, though? If anyone has earned the right to be arrogant, it's Beyonce. The woman has 185 awards in music, business, and film. She's the third most honored woman in Grammy history. Bragging about yourself is a staple of rap, and Lord knows that male artists (including Bey's husband) do it all the time. Why shouldn't Beyonce get in on the action?

As for the word "bitches"—well, we're not sure she's even talking about women here. We're thinking she means "everyone who is inferior to Beyonce." On the other hand, she does mention "little girls" specifically, so it's a little problematic. We'd hate to think that Bey is a mean girl! Fortunately, her track record shows otherwise. Here are three other female-empowerment anthems that put Beyonce squarely on the side of the sisters.

Independent Woman Part I

The original Destiny's Child you-go-girl anthem, this one is dedicated to women who stand on their own two feet, a.k.a. "all the honeys who makin' money."

Run The World (Girls)

"Girls, we run this motha!" goes the chant that kicks off Beyonce's straight-up feminist jam. "We're smart enough to make these millions, strong enough to bear the children, then get back to business," she sings. 

Diva

The closest song to "Bow Down" in terms of attitude, this one has Beyonce reclaiming the term "diva" as "the female version of a hustler." 

And in case you're curious, here's how "Bow Down/I Been On" sounds with Beyonce's voice pitched back to its normal sound. 

A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.




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