Beyoncé and What We Allow Mothers to Be

In February, Beyoncé posted a gorgeous pregnancy announcement on Instagram, which was "controversial" because people are assholes. Last night, she posted an amazing debut photo of her twins, which is referential of her birth announcement and subsequent pregnancy photoshoot, and, as of this writing, it already has nearly 7 million likes.

Sir Carter and Rumi 1 month today. 🙏🏽❤️👨🏽👩🏽👧🏽👶🏾👶🏾

A post shared by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on

Naturally, this image, too, is "controversial" because people are assholes. I had a few thoughts about that! (I bet you're not surprised to hear that at all!)

If you guessed that the responses in my mentions to this thread immediately proved my point, give yourself a gold star!

It's funny how misogyny works the same way every time. Just like the seething hatred and relentless nitpicking criticsm of Hillary Clinton was "never about her sex" (haha yes it was) but just about "who Hillary Clinton is," the hatred and policing of Beyoncé is "never about" sexism or racism or the ugly stew of both, but only about "who Beyoncé is."

It's not that there's a widespread and demonstrable contempt of mothers who have the unmitigated temerity to continue to audaciously assert their own humanity (and GASP! their own sexuality) after becoming mothers; it's just that Beyoncé "takes it too far." It's not that there's an ancient historical animus toward Black motherhood, even as Black women were patronizingly lionized as nannies; it's just that Beyoncé is "using her children as props." It's not that we are entrained to devalue mothers and simultaneously loathe mothers who want to be defined by more than parenting; it's that Beyoncé is gross and exhibitionist and she's taking away everyone's attention from The Resistance.

(As if celebrating Black motherhood isn't central to resistance against a white supremacist death cult.)

Every woman is an exception when it comes to the reasons why we're hating her. It's never misogyny. Of course it isn't. Every woman is just audited and judged and policed and shamed and hated because she is uniquely deserving of our scorn.

Every one of us.

Maybe that's it. Or maybe it's that we still don't allow mothers to be fully human, and react abominably to mothers who challenge us to view them in their full humanity.

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