Game of Thrones is back this Sunday and all the attention is on figuring out who’s going to die, but what about how GOT teaches you to live?If you feel like you’re in a battle for your own Iron throne in the office or at home, the women of GoT can be your guide to ruling all you see.Which Game of Thrones character is your spirit sister?
Nothing says power like commanding a few fire breathing dragons.It might be nice to fry your competition to a crisp as you climb the corporate ladder but that’s not going to play well with HR.Instead, if you want to rule like Daenerys, remember her commitment to making the world a more just place for the marginalized.Her advising team is diverse and her platform is freedom for everyone.Try collaboration and teamwork to make your dream work.
A Dragon is not a slave.
Channel your dragon energy and don’t forget she had to be reborn before she was ready to spread her wings.
Nimble and clever, fearless and lethal, Arya Stark keeps her eyes on the prize and her hand on her sword.If you wrong her, you get cut.If you mess with her people, she’s coming for you. When dealing with toxic friends and partners, channel your inner Arya.Keep it moving when things go bad rather than hanging around waiting to be rescued. Cut people off fearlessly when you see the first red flag. Be loyal to the end to those you love, but don’t tolerate toxic traitors for a second. Master the art of staying on mission and off the radar of the haters.
Leave one wolf alive and the sheep are never safe.
Don’t let the wolves of negativity hunt in your kingdom. Put toxic people on your list and cut them out of your world.
Sure Cersie is a villain, and you definitely don’t want to follow a role model who had kids with her brother, but there is a lesson in the way Cersie never bows her head, no matter how much people try to shame her.Everybody knows her business, but you’ll never catch her caring about what other people think.It can be hard to rule a nation—or a slack channel, even harder still to be In a power position if you’re a woman.Like Cersie, your smarts and determination can help force a way into the boys’ club. Always believe that you’re born to be the best. If only she would use her cunning for good.Skip the greed and incest, but keep your head up as you pull up a seat at the table.
Quote: Tears aren’t women’s only weapon.
The is the age of powerful women. Be one.
Look, maybe she was pretty naive, coasting on a princess fairytale for way too long, but times got hard and Sansa grew up.Sansa is not the same person that she was, and she’s trying to find a way to have an impact, to take her new knowledge and contribute to the fight for justice. Like a lot of us, getting woke can be a challenge, but the growth that follows can be transformative. Accepting that life isn’t a fairytale is the first step to being a part of building a future for yourself and your family. Then, like Sansa, roll up your sleeves and get to work, even if you’re not sure what you’re doing yet.
Quote: If I’m going to die, let it happen while there’s still some left of me.
Don’t forget on the other side of the fairy tales and hard times is growth and transformation. Keep going.
Brienne of Tarth
Not everybody is a princess, but everybody matters.Brianna is the dream team member, loyal and hard working, ready to go the extra thousand miles to do her duty.She may never climb the Iron Throne but there’s honor, and success in her journey.You don’t have to rule the world, just do your part to make the people around you feel loved and valued.Find a purpose that is your own and your own personal path to greatness will open up.
Quote: You need trust to have a truce.
Collaboration crosses interesting lines in GoT and in real life. Love all, serve a few.
Whether your plan is to take over the world or you just want to be the queen of your own castle, ditch the Disney princesses and look to these modern women.You’ll have to tune in to the final season to see who’s approach wins in the end, and then decide how to play your own Game of Thrones
The power of the best artists lay not only in their ability to show you the now but their skill and imagination to show us what’s next. There can be no doubt that Lemonade shows us a more sophisticated and woke Beyonce.
Two weeks ago Beyonce released her visual album Lemonade like a Kraken, instantly flooding the interwebs with thinkpieces dissecting everything from the symbolism of Nigerian facepaint to the marriage of her parents. She was even able to crowd Trump out of the headlines for a few hours, and make MSNBC question if they ousted Melissa Harris-Perry too soon.
By the following Monday Lemonade was spiking downloads at Jay-Z flagging music service Tidal. A day later, traditional release of the album propelled it to the top of the charts. After sipping this instant classic for a few weeks, it seems unimaginable that we ever lived without it.
The visual album is an hour-long piece that is more visual poem than music video. If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth the time–beautiful, lyrical and rich in every way. It is a full meal, not meant to be captured in a few screen shots, that walks us through the stages of a relationship in crisis from intuition through anger, apathy to hope.
What has made the video such a breakout piece is the powerful pro-black woman story. Rarely are black women represented in complex ways that allow their full humanity to show through.
Following the monster release comes a wave of products, tours and gossip magazine covers. Now we’re left with the fallout, the dregs of the hype, the parodies. This is the perfect time to look at Lemonade not for the hype of what it was to be, but to see what it really was. Pop culture is a dish best served cold.
Beyonce has been a star since she was a child,and her discography as a solo artist has helped her achieve megastardom. She is a talented singer and dancer. Her albums celebrated independent women, then she became Sasha fierce, fell drunk in love, sipped watermelon, and turned into Mrs. Carter in that order. Until recently she was not particularly woke, so even though Lemonade is powerful, and recent times have changed many of us, it’s worth a careful critique of Lemonade before we make Beyonce the head of the black feminist movement.
Lemonade is for Black women
Mainstream media is made for mainstream audiences–and in America, that means white audiences. When we see diverse faces in media, that doesn’t mean that the story comes from diverse voices. Even ABC’s multicultural programming is inclusive of white audiences–think the president in Scandal or the whitewashing of Eddie Huang’s Fresh Off the Boat.
Lemonade creates a space for black women that is about, for and starring black women with tons of diversity throughout the extensive credits for the album. The representation in the video celebrates black women in all their diversity, from the mothers of slain boys to the new breed of pop culture superheroes like Amandla Stenberg. Seeing a range of women like this beautifully and powerfully represented definitely gives me life.
That doesn’t mean that it is ONLY for black women. It may be created for black women but anyone can consume it. Like Vogue, or America for white people. If you want to comment on it, just make sure you check our own privilege (this may be time-consuming if you haven’t thought of it before, Piers Morgan), do your research (I’m looking at you, Fox), prepare for clapback and absolutely avoid telling black women what they should or should not do and stick just to your point of view on the video.
2. It takes a village to make lemonade
The visual album to Lemonade is a powerful and beautiful piece of work crafted by a team of young artist and creatives. remember, even Michelangelo didn’t paint that whole ceiling alone. While Queen Bey reigns as the artist, like lots of famous artists, she farms out the massive work here. On the visual album, Kahlil Joseph is listed as co-director with a classroom’s worth of amazing directors and cinematographers taking on parts of the visual album.
In addition to the music of lemonade, poet Warsan Shire is heavily featured in the visual album. I must admit the most moving words of Lemonade for me belonged to the poet. Her language is powerful and spare, leaving no words to hide behind. Here’s hoping we hear much more from this young lion.
From the streets to the spirits to the days of the old south Lemonade proves the power of Bey and associates to slay…..as long as you don’t want to wear pants, not a lot of pants..just a few, but not really about pants.
Lemonade’s look is a world of black girl magic with nary a press and curl in sight. While many of Bey signature looks are from high-end designers like the Roberto Cavalli Dress, the whole is interspersed with street wear and plenty of African wax prints to render the style her own. Be careful of spreads that promise you the look for less–
Not sure any of these will really give you the look of a $4000 gown. While Bey’s original look is beautiful, like all things associated with Lemonade, this look takes long cash.
3. Lemonade isn’t cheap
As amazing as Lemonade is as art, when we I to check the price tag, I notice committing to Lemonade fully is going to cost you. Lemonade premiered on HBO with solid ratings–though notably behind Dragonball Z. Initially, the album could only be downloaded via Tidal. Guess she wasn’t too mad at Jay to throw a bone to the company the couple took a hit on last year. The album sold nearly 654,000 copies the first week and all 12 tracks made the charts, breaking Taylor Swift’s record. Seems like breaking up is good business for Bey.
The Queen is also launching a 40 city tour with tickets priced like used cars that’s selling out and adding shows. Before the tour gets hot she’s already grossed 100 mil. Can’t make the show? She had updated merch on her website that is sure to sell out just like her athleisure line. All in all, this stands to be one of her most lucrative year in years. Maybe she should be thanking Becky with the good hair. Hmm, is there a Lemonade weave line potentially?
Bey assured us in Formation that the best revenge is getting your paper and she sure seems hell bent on massive revenge. Seems like her fans are willing to pay to make it right. Even Jay-Z will get a cut with his credits and a boost to Tidal. Who said cheaters never win?
4. Lemonade is problematic (great, but problematic; chill please, Beyhive)
I watched the video, and I listened to the album and surprise : they are not the same. The visual album is rich with the words and work of a whole host of people and seems to tell a big story about being a black woman in this world. The musical album, by contrast, seems a more intimate and personal story. Stripped of Warsan Shire’s poetry, and the powerful visuals that call up our ancestors from West Africa and the south, the album is the personal story of a woman scorned. Fox News criticized Beyonce for being angry and militant in her new work but [with the exception of Formation which stands as its own piece separate from the narrative and I think is not part of the visual album. It seems much newer than other work, just tacked on at the end] the album is apolitical. Nowhere in the album are any words that directly address the storms being weathered by Black America nor the women shepherding us through it.
Instead, Lemonade is full of emotions, the pain of love lost, and the fight to get it back. These emotions are deeply relatable for anyone cheated on, not just black women. That’s important because a large part of the buying Beyhive is not young black women fighting for justice. The album speaks to her wider fan base. If you have a broken heart, this will help you for sure. If you are down for fighting patriachal oppression and systemic racism…umm…the vibe is there but the ablum lacks any substative take on today, unlike to Pimp a Butterfly or Talib Kweli’s collective Indy 500. What has been roundly hailed as an ode to black female empowerment seems to contain very little liberation.
In Lemonade, Beyonce tells a story where she discovers him cheating (Pray You Catch Me), tells him he done her wrong (Hold Up and Don’t Hurt Yourself), and goes out without him (Sorry). But then the storm has passed and the rest of the album is devoted to the work of getting back with Jay. All of the righteous anger turns into acquiescence, and acceptance. If even Beyonce puts up with doggish behavior, then what chance do any of us have to be women free from disrespect? Here is the first time in the piece that we see Jay Z, just a hand to cover her mouth, much it seems to her pleasure.
For sure relationships are complicated, and marriages even more so, but young women intent on overturning harmful structures could use a roadmap that includes some truth with the reconciliation. They are looking for new options, not a romantic return to gender roles. Detrmined to have their cake and eat it too, why not use the fantasy of music to show how liberated women get themselvs–and their men, if they choose –free. Romance? Cool, but could you put some respeck on it?
5. Lemonade is supposed to have a bite
Beyonce opens up a can of whoop-ass fueled with the pain of black women only to sweeten it with love songs and finish with sweet love all night long. How is this supposed to gel with the powerful women fighting for freedom that she shows in the film? Should Zendaya look to forgive people that said she smelled like a dirty hippie? Should Mike Brown’s mother’s “torturer become her remedy”? That certainly wouldn’t look like the freedom Beyonce sings about.
Like most stories about revolution these days, the revolution always seems to have a simple happy ending. Nice as that may be to end an album, it does little to help us envision a world where we’re truly free. If we tear down the culture, we have to build something else in its place. If the new something is the same as the old something, then the revolution failed. As exciting as it is to see black women represented in different and complex ways unless we have new endings, its all bullshit.
Black female empowerment isn’t a music video or a gap ad, but a real shift that is going to take a baseball bat to existing structures without a neat end to the love drought just two songs away.
The power of the best artists lay not only in their ability to show you the now but their skill and imagination to show us what’s next. There can be no doubt that Lemonade shows us a more sophisticated and woke Beyonce. Her careful read of her audience and the culture give us an exciting companion to other protest works like To Pimp a Butterfly or Indie 500. Here’s hoping that she keeps developing as an artist and blazes us a trail to better endings full of Freedom instead of swag.
it’s not just ideas about beauty and gender identity, but also the cold gears of capitalism that are grinding women into new shapes in the contemporary world.
According to the ASPCA there are over 70 million pet dogs int he US. each one, to it’s human, is a little fuzz ball of love. So how could popele possibly judge the best dog in show in a matter of momments, without even a good ball throw? Turns out, the best dog in show isn’t, surprise, the best dog there.
Dogs in dog shows are juded against their breed convention. This means the best dog is defined as the dog that most closely fits the rules for how that breed of dog shoul look. None of the qualtiies that make you love your dog–fun, cuddly, playful, loyal–matter in the ring. Its all about fitting the form as laid out by the Kennel club hosting the show. Critics of dog shows say that the focus on sucha narrow set of qualities leads to unethical breeding practices, including inbreeding, resulting in harm to the dogs, all in the name of the perfect pup.
Like those dogs in the ring, human beauty takes the shape of conforming to a narrow set of norms. This comes as no suprise to you smarty pants that you are. A quick look around our culture shows us just how narrow the ideas of ideal beauty can be.
From magazine covers
To youtube videos that assure us their process is sound in choosing the 100 most beautiful women out of 7.5 billion humans.
To the way models are chosen to represent “every woman of every age”
Since images of women who conform to beauty conventions are everywhere, they become the norm. We don’t have to read into these convention to know that they are conveying the expectations for those in the culture. It is explicitly stated over and over that theis is the expectation:
And that meeting those expectations is tied to your consuption of products and services.
Where do these ideas about the body and beauty come from? Biology, history, culture, art–any number of spheres of human experience influence what you, today think is beautiful.
A biologist might say that many of the thing we think of that make the human body beautiful may be tied to our own desire to mate and procreate. In the clip below British zoologist Desmond Morris looks at our beauty norms and connects them with our animal nature.
Or we can go farther back, before greeks gods–or greeks for that matter. Anicient indigenous cultures around the world have their own ideas of beauty that have nothing to do with the Greek norms. Venus, Oshun, and and Lakshmi are all goddesses of beauty in their respective culutres.
Just like today’s conventional beauties, these goddesses are young, unblemished, shapely and fair of face. Unlike today’s princesses, they did more than look hot: they invented love, created arts and culture or grew wealth.
These ancient codes come to us from across the world and thousands of years of human civilization. Each human group, each era puts its own stamp on the idea of beauty as it marches across history. Whether beauty is desirable for display or designed to remain carefully hidden, the construct remains important, especially in structuring relationships among and between genders.
It’s important to consider who it is that is deciding and defining these cultural norms. Those that make the definitions wield power over the culture, since values and norms are not held in a vacuum, but are closely tied to societal benefits and consequences. In western civilisation, early ideas of beauty are debated by the thinkers, writers and artist of the time. Here from the Ennead Plotinus makes it clear that adherence to form–our dog show rule–is the rule for human beauty as well:
We hold that all the loveliness of this world comes by communion in Ideal-Form. All shapelessness whose kind admits of pattern and form, as long as it remains outside of Reason and Idea, is ugly from that very isolation from the Divine-Thought. And this is the Absolute Ugly: an ugly thing is something that has not been entirely mastered by pattern, that is by Reason, the Matter not yielding at all points and in all respects to Ideal-Form. But where the Ideal-Form has entered, it has grouped and coordinated what from a diversity of parts was to become a unity: it has rallied confusion into co-operation: it has made the sum one harmonious coherence: for the Idea is a unity and what it moulds must come into unity as far as multiplicity may.
Plotinus, 22 [Ennead I, 6]
Artist of the time were pretty obsessed with the idea. Polyclitus, a 5th century sculptor wrote a treatise on the perfect form and in case you were unclear, he created a companion statue that showed what he purported to be the ideal human form–and here he is!
Not your cup of tea? Philosophers like Humes and Kant believed beauty to be entirely subjective–it’s in the eye of the beholder, so to speak. Therefore, there were no hard and fast rules about what made someone–or something for that matter–beautiful. Problem solved—especially for important people who were a little less than hot. Wealth, status, mothering and godliness could give one the gentle glow of beauty in the 19th century.
The domesticity-and-godliness school of beauty was faced with growing challenges created by the industrial revolution. Along with electricity and cars, new fabrics and textiles and new fabrications methods meant new kinds of clothing came into style. The wide availablity of cheap cotton along with the invention and eveoloution of the home sewing mchine meant fashion had come to the masses.
Of course now that you could sew it yourself, why make the same old thing? More form fitting, more comfortable clothes with lighter fabircs took place of heavy mulitlayered clothes. Whale bone shapers of the 18th and 19th century gave way to steel and then lighter plastic based fabric in the 20th century. New fabrics and new fashions were accopanied by new values that encouraged women to participate in efforts to make themselves more beautiful. Later, an increasingly industrial society meant that women had leaisure time freed up by new inventions like the dishwasher, refriderator and washing machine.
So far it seems as though it’s not just ideas about beauty and gender identity, but also the cold gears of capitalism that are grinding women into new shapes in the contemporary world. In our own time we are seeing again shifting images of bodies that are considered attractive or acceptable. Is this born out of a new genration’s desire for equality and freedom? Maybe not.
A typical fashiion model is a size 0, 2 or 4, but the average size woman in America is a size 12-14. Plus size models are typically a size 8 while plus size clothing starts at 14. Its not just the line between traiditional and plus sizing as well. The sizes themselves shift with consumer attitudes and the demands of the market. Vanity sizing is a process by which stores rename sizes to make consumers think they fit a smaller size. Check out some of your favorite retailers below.
In a world where language, image and lived reality are so wildly different no wonder women feel such conflict over body size and shape. We have no shared way to describe ourselves or each other and our ideas are constatntly being manipulated in order to increase profits.
There seems to be a lot of push back–any number of campaigns that seek to challenge traditional beauty standards by featuring bodies typically unseen or not described in desirable terms. Dove is most known for their Real Women campaign:
While people were busy looking at these “atypical bodies” many failed to notice the accompanying product and copy was less celebratory and more antagonistic to those bodies. The product that was being advertised in the original ad series was a thigh firming cream. on the one hand, your body is acceptable enough to be a part of the marketplace, and by the way, your thighs are disgusting. Additionally, later reports show that the campaign had used photoshop for retouching of the women who were size 4-12.
Lots of ad campaigns have come out to “celebrate” real beauty. Ads feature women whose size is often invisible on fashion runways.Before you start to celebrate, many of the images of “real women” are as skewed as unrealistic conventional standards. These ads maintain many of the conventions of a desirable body–young, cellulite free, relatively smooth belly, coke bottle shape, smooth skin.
I mean, did this woman need to be retouched? No. We are certainly seeing a variety of body sizes, but what is being defined as increaing diversity is merely a slightly broadening of what is acceptable. Women who are visible constinue to maintain the age-old conventions of beauty and appeal to sexuality.
Instead we are withnessing a calculated move to expand the customer base in some industries while protecting that wide number of industries that rely on continued unrealistic body images and standards. This is a careful line to walk for multinationals like Unilever who owns both dove and Slimfast.
Which leads us to the idea of choice. Third wave feminism is born in the debate within the feminst movement about sex, choice, the construction of the body and equality. Whereas second wave feminist were as a group unwilling to adopt or endorse a sex-positive agenda, the third wave was more willing to engage thesese questions and the varied responses to them. With several decades of debate over these issues there certainly is no one answer that easily applies across the board.
A deeper issue beneth the skin of body issues has less to do with beauty and more to do with the way that power rewards–or doesn’t–women who are willing to fit hegemonic beauty standards. The battle between second and third wave feminist over beauty ideals seems to center here. As women fight for an equal share of finanacial and social captial, does making choices that kowtow to hegemonic beauty ideals set us back or disrup the fight? Second wave feminist worried that continued forward progress would be halted or at least confused by women participation in a beauty regimine set out by the patriarchy. Third wave feminists argue for a braoder tent where women with varying beliefs, including around the body, can fight toghether for equality.
But here is the rub to balls-out screw-em-if-you-got-em-all-choice-all-the-time feminism: can choosing the adoption of beauty rituals really be a choice? Third wave feminists are cut from the same cloth as neoliberal politics which elevate choice and individuality above all else. Whatever you want to do is up to and on you. What seems like the freedom of born-this-way ideology though is problematic in a culture where the body is constructed in the media to sell product and reinforce dominnat cultural values.
Stripping, six inch heels, and the makeup counter at Sephora all seem like choices available to the modern woman. A little nip tuck? Why not–it is up to you. But Jefferys and other feminists show us the deep rabbit hole of patriarchal culture we can choose to jump down when we engage in cutting, carving and coercing our body to fit hegemonic ideals.
Before you go hard claiming the cultural artifacts of western hegemonic beauty standards, ask yourself:
If women really do have choice to look any way they want why is there such a narrow set of choices for them in visible culture?
What if you looked perfect right now? Would you do anything differently?
What would I do with the time and money I spend making myself look presentable? What if every woman had an increase in disposible income and time–what would they engage in?
What postitive social outcomes for women and girls could be achieved if the money spent on achieving beauty was used in other ways to enact policies for women?
These questions get under the skin of the false promise of a neloliberal culture. A year of violence against trans women and women of color and continued inequality in pay show us that many of the fights of all waves of feminism are under attack. If you want to put lipstick on, go ahead–as long as it doesn’t stop you from fighting for real freedom.