George Michael fucks gender, wonders “If I Were a Boy…”
So, in spite of her husband’s regressive gender politics (see below), Beyonce had some serious genderfucking onstage last night in London. I’m still trying to wrap my head around it.
George Michael joined B onstage for “If I Were a Boy”, one of B’s recent singles. The track relies on typical gender stereotypes: the song’s presumably female narrator argues that if she were a boy, she’d know how to love a woman (not take her for granted, not hurt her, etc.), and thus be a “better man” than the aforementioned stereotypical dude.
So, when Mr. “Freedom ’90” sings “If I were a boy, I think I could understand/How it feels to love a woman/I swear I’d be a better man”, this is no mere inversion of stereotypical heterosexual gender roles. It totally fucks the idea of binary/hetero gender. The sung claim asserts that while GM is not already a “boy” (b/c he’s pretty famously not heterosexual), if this gay man were a (hetero)”boy”, he would, b/c he’s not a straight dude, perform straight dudeness (i.e., heterosexual masculinity) better than “real” straight dudes. I’m not even sure where to begin thinking about race here…
Sometimes the clothes do not make the man, indeed!
In fact, this performance interestingly complements the “Freedom ’90” video, where GM’s musical coming out is lip-synched by female supermodels…which is, in a way, it’s own sort of female-to-male conjecturing (i.e., women hypothetically positing male identity). Linda Evangelista even lip-synchs: “Heaven knows I was just a young boy, didn’t know what I wanted to be/I was every hungry schoolgirl’s pride and joy, guess that was enough for me” — sounds a lot like “If I were a (hetero)boy…”.
Video for “Freedom ’90” here (embedding was disabled): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTugeLRZ6GI
oh, and i gotta love that B is going for a Tina Turner “Beyond the Thunderdome” look…